DOMINIC O BRIEN [ 8 times world champion ] The 3 pillars of an exceptional memory are ASSOCIATION ,LOCATION & IMAGINATION [ALI] -.JOSH FOER the science journalist in his book moonwalking with einstein restates the principles as embellished encoding .


Have you have ever seen someone count into a deck of cards inside 2 minutes and remember each and every card in order . What O Brien does is simply not possible , it defies Miller’s law .

O Brien is an outliers in statistical terms . To put it another way the odds of stopping someone in the street and finding they can remember all 52 cards is less than 1 minute is 1 in 10 million . Mega savantsare rare only a handful are known to exist .

By any objective standard O Brien is a savant and yet O’Brien is no savant , no child prodigy , no academic superstar. The suspicion is that growing up he suffered from both ADHD and DYSLEXIA .

A few years back O Brian set a world record . He remembered not 1 but 50 decks of cards . That is remembered not the mathematical trick of counting .


Asked by his employer Slate magazine to write an article about the Mind Sports Olympiad. Foer decides the best approach would be to write an inside out article . Foer interviews several contestants who agree to mentor him . The methods he is taught can be used to internalise anything .

At first the techniques seem facile but results are results. Quite early on he begins to enjoy the process. It is far more challenging than simple rote and repetition .

He commits one year of his life to training . Practicing for hours each day . A year after covering the event as a journalist Foer returns to compete in a decathlon of events, he competes and wins the US championship .

Just one year after starting from scratch he sets the US record for memorising a deck of cards , using a technique taught to him by his European mentor Ed Cooke . The technique is called P:A:O [Person Activity Object] .A chunking technique where each card in the deck is assigned to a well known or famous person .

Each card has three properties person , activity and object .This type of mnemonic is called a sensory mnemonic . After winning the championship Foer retires , gives a TED talk and writes a book about his experiences Moonwalking with Einstein .