Saturday, November 21, 2009

Oddbjørn By - Memory Champion and Author

I learnt about Oddbjørn By from Florian Dellé's Memory Sports web site.  Oddbjørn is from Norway and has been a World Memory champion. He published a book titled Memo which describes his various techniques and how these memory methods can be used in everyday life.

To give you an idea of the scope of the book, here is a condensed table of contents:

  • How your memory works
  • Numerical systems - single, double and triple digits
  • Tips for memorising effectively
  • Memo for general knowledge and in school - speed reading, history, dates, languages, geography, first aid, maths
  • Memo everyday - appointments, weekly agendas, birthdays, anniversaries, speeches, jokes, job interviews and parking the car
  • Names and Face
  • Memory tricks and competitions
  • Other memory methods - story method, link method, acronyms, mnemonic devices
  • Myths about memory
  • Profiles and World Records

The Memo method of remembering weekly schedules is to use a journey of seven steps, maybe rooms in the house. Convert the time into a key image using the number system of your choice and associate this with the room and the subject of your appointment. 

This book has some practical techniques which can be applied to many aspects of your life. I have already learnt a few number systems so I won't be learning more. However I am going to memorise more journeys for memorising birthdays, my schedule and a general 'to do' journey.

1. Read an interview at Memory Sports
2. Visit the website of Oddbjørn By where you can watch videos, order books and learn more.

Monday, November 16, 2009

I before e (except after c) - old school mnemonics

When you were at school, did you remember how to spell using mnemonics? My most-used rhyme was "I before E, except after C" used to spell words such as brief, receive and believe.

In this aptly named book "I before e (except after c)", Judy Parkinson has assembled a vast range of mnemonics under the title of "old-school ways to remember stuff".  The book was a delight to read, reminding me of some mnemonics from my school days.  The book is organised by subject and covers spelling, dates, history, science, music and much more. Here are some of my favorites:

Spelling - How do you spell committee ?  Remember Many Meetings Take Time - Everyon'e Exhausted. Diarrhoea is another tricky word to spell - Dash In A Real Rush, Hurry or Else Accident!

Numbers. Can you remember the metric prefixes? Here is an example of using the unit of length - metre (spelt meter in the USA). Kilometre (1000m), Hectometre (100m), Decametre (10m), Metre (base), Decimetre (0.1m), Centimetre (0.01m) and Millimetre (0.001m): King Henry Died Mightily Drinking Chocolate Milk.  Other mnemonics are offered: King Hector Died Miserable Death - Caught Measles.

Science - Taxonomy is the system or arranging animals into groups based on similarities of structure and origin. The classification starts with Kingdom, then continues with Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species and Variety. This can be remembered with Krakatoa Positively Casts Off Fumes Generating Sulphurous Vapours.

English History. From William the Conqueror to the current British moniarch, there have been eight major royal houses since 1066: Norman, Plantaganet, Lancaster, York, Tudor, Stuart, Hanover and Windsor. There are two mnemonics in popular use: No Plan Like Yours To Study History Wisely and No Point Letting Your Trousers Slip Half Way.

Music.  Piano students are sure to know the Every Good Boy Deserves Favour and All Cows Eat Grass mnemonics for remembering the notes on the treble clef and Good Boys Don't Fool Around on the bass clef. I'm not sure if a 7 year old music student would understand the expression of "fooling around". I

The Work Place.  This chapter offers a variety of acronyms for the workplace: KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid!).  SMART Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainbale, Relevant and Time bound). Advertisers should think of the opera AIDA (Attract attention, arouse Interest, create Desire, urge Action).

Miscellany. Do you play Snooker? Can you remember the sequence of colours in which to pot the six coloured balls after the red?  Remember the mnemonic You Go Brown Before Potting Black to remember Yello, green, brown, blue, pink and black.

More details on the book can be found on Amazon: i before e (except after c)