The Art of Memory

The art of memory is one of the coolest, most amazing, most fun and most useful skill that you can choose to acquire. It truly is something anyone can do as long as you’re willing to invest some efforts for a little while. It’s a baffling scandal that so few people are currently aware of this. Unlike other complex skills like playing a musical instrument, under the right conditions, impressive results can be achieved almost overnight. It doesn’t mean it’s easy though, it just means that you can do it if you put your cell phone away for a little while, focus and use your imagination. And although it most likely won’t be long before you see some great results, you’ll still need to keep practicing for a while before using the art of memory autonomously can become easy.

Want to discover what your brain can do? Follow any of the links below:

How long does it take to learn?

Becoming comfortable with all the basic skills can be done surprisingly quickly, but it will of course take much longer if you’re aiming for some crazy high level. If you want to become a world-class memory champion and memorize a full deck of cards in about 20 seconds, you’ll need to spend at least 1 or 2 years (probably more) practicing intensely for about an hour a day. Here I’m speaking about a skill level that is way above mine. I’m not sure everyone can get there, even if they do everything right. And I’m not sure how many people should even bother trying. Depends on what your priorities are.

Fortunately, only a tiny fraction of that time is necessary to be able to enjoy using the wonderful art of memory. If you just want to experience building a memory palace and get a glimpse of its potential, you can do so in only maybe an hour. If you want to become what I would call “good enough”, meaning that you’re competent, confident, comfortable and autonomous when you need to memorize most types of difficult information, then I would recommend that you spend maybe 3 to 6 weeks practicing for about 20 minutes a day. That “good enough” level is what I think most people should aim for. I think it occupies a sweet spot right in between minimum time investment and maximum rewards. You’ll probably need slightly longer, though really not that much, if you want to be able to brag that you can memorize 100 digits of a full deck of cards in 5-minute or less.

And just to be extremely clear: if 2 hours over 2 days is all you’re willing or able to invest, it’s still totally worth it.

Why you should (probably) learn to use the art of memory

I see tons of obvious and not-so-obvious possible reasons. Since you’re here already, you probably don’t need to be convinced and you should probably just head directly to some of the more important pages linked above. It’s only because I’ve been asked so many times some variation of the “what’s the point of memorizing” question that I feel the need to write a long rant about the subject. I’m absolutely flabbergasted at how often and how quickly those questions are being asked. Anyway, just click here if you’re curious to read my answer.