Replied to I’m memorizing a 1000-page book word for word and I’m making progress by lucadelocilucadeloci (Art of Memory Forum)

Some time ago I posted here on the forum a topic about memorizing a 988 page book word for word. I was not surprised when I received answers that it was unnecessary to do so and that understanding the idea was enough, however I was always a person who does exactly the opposite of what people say. I went ahead hahaha.

The method:

  1. In order not to get lost, I create one image per page, associated with the page number and associate that image with the main topic and the subtopics. (There is usually only one topic per page and 3 subtopics)
  2. I read the page, mark the keywords with a highlighter.
  3. Then I use the John Place method.
    3.1 I read the first sentence
    3.2 I repeat with my eyes closed out loud
    3.3 I read the first and second sentences
    3.4 I repeat the first and the second with my eyes closed and so on. And so, I do with each paragraph, individually.
  4. I created an organized calendar so that I can review all pages after 1 day, 1 week, 1 month …
    Ex: page 61,62,63,64,65. Review May 4th, May 10th and June 4th.
    Results:
    At the end of each page I can recite it word for word with very few mistakes. The association of the page number allows me to review periodically without getting lost. It also allows that, if someone opens the book and reads a sentence, I will probably be able to complete the sentence and say which page it is on.
    In the beginning I took about 30 minutes per page. Studying 2 hours a day, which is a comfortable time, I memorized 4 pages a day. I calculated that memorizing 4 pages a day, in 244 days I will have memorized the whole book, however the time that I take is decreasing more and more and the ease that I have to memorize too, so soon, I estimate that I will get 10 pages a day and so i will finish in 2 months.
    Conclusions: In the beginning it is overwhelming and tiring, however get used to it. It’s worth it, normal memory is much better for words, there are pages where words enter my mind like magic, it even looks like photographic memory. When someone tells you that something is not necessary, that it is very difficult, etc. and you think you have the ability to do that, just ignore people :slight_smile:

This is great. I’m curious what book it is that you’re memorizing? Often what we choose to memorize can be as interesting as the methods by which we memorize them.

I would caution giving methods new names like the “John Place method” as they’ve often got much older and more common terminology. “John Place” boils down to rote memorization or recitation with repetition. This is something almost everyone could use and is often the least efficient especially for long term retention for large amounts of data. Ancient Greek/Roman authors would have classified this method as recitatio while they thought of memoria verborum and memoria res as more powerful.

From what I can see, it looks like you’ve layered on a bit of spaced repetition and the mnemonic major system (images for numbers) along with some association principles. I suspect that you could add in some additional linking/peg methods along with the method of loci for easier memorization and better long term lifetime retention.

Most of the value of mnemotechniques is in decreasing the amount of upfront work while simultaneously increasing the time of retention.

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Chris Aldrich

I'm a biomedical and electrical engineer with interests in information theory, complexity, evolution, genetics, signal processing, theoretical mathematics, and big history. I'm also a talent manager-producer-publisher in the entertainment industry with expertise in representation, distribution, finance, production, content delivery, and new media.

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