This little gem is packed with all sorts of tricks to make short-term memory a snap. And let's face it, short-term is mostly what we use. After we've bought the groceries, how much longer do we need to remember that shopping list? This is not to say you can't stretch some memorized facts to a much longer term, like to the end of the school year for that final exam, or retaining seldom-seen people's names for as long as you work for that big company.
The book is a fresh take, with new ideas, on the older memory books sold by Harry Lorayne (who built upon a history of two thousand years of memory techniques). At the heart of it, though, you're still using your imagination and wild, absurd, comical images to relate a fact you need to memorize to a place, an event, a number, or something called "memory of loci" (such as rooms in your house, etc.). Kudos to Dominic for bringing the latter back after the Middle Ages suppressed it.
Dominic adds some fresh ideas to the established ways, or reintroduces methods that Harry and those before him didn't mention. An example of the former: How I Wish I Could Enumerate Pi Easily (3.1415926, the number of letters in each word). Or the latter, as an extended acronym: Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (ROYGBIV, colors in the rainbow). For the music majors among us, Father Charles Goes Down And Ends Battle (learn some music theory if you don't understand that).
One place where the book is seriously in error is section 44, Binary Numbers. Dominic does the obvious, turning triplets into base 10 numbers. Unfortunately, he apparently has never written a computer program, nor even just a small script. His numbers are SERIOUSLY WRONG. If you don't know binary, don't worry. For the rest of us, encountering this section is like driving down the highway at high speed then suddenly throwing the tranny into Park. Something akin to a controlled crash, and it is seriously distracting. Dominic writes: 000=0 001=1 011=2 111=3 110=4 100=5 010=6 101=7. I think most of us will recognize that 0 and 1 are correct, but 2 through 7 are something from Behind the Looking Glass that Alice must have lent to Dominic. I used a lot of white-out on these pages and elsewhere that reference them.
Though not "wrong," Dominic flies in the face of centuries, sometimes millenia, in other sections. For days of the week, he uses Sun-Sat values of 1,2,3,4,5,6,0. Mathematicians have for centuries used 0,1,2,3,4,5,6. Dominic's premise remains intact, but his make-your-own-road reinvention requires us to forget what we've learned since childhood, ignore what the world has used for hundreds of years, and learn a new ordinal system for days of the week. Yes, I did some serious editing of this section to bring his written work and ideas inline with the customary ordinal system.
The same can be said for his numeral mnemonics. He has his own phonetic choice, the Dominic System, where 0=O 1=A 2=B 3=C 4=D 5=E 6=S 7=G 8=H 9=N. I have to take serious exception to his choices, not because he's thrown away the centuries-old Mnemonic Major System, but because his system does not permit the full phonetic sounds of the Engish language to be used. Where is L and F/V, for example? We can't contrive the words LoVe, ViaL (PHiaL), ViLe, eViL or LoVeLy using his choice of phonetics. There's no M, N or R. Also we have 3=C and 6=S, so either we have an ambiguous choice for S/Z sounds, or the 3=C should actually be 3=K (K, CH and hard C as in cookie). True, I would have to unlearn what I already know, what millions of people know, and drop the Major System to adopt Dominic's, but with such weakness apparent in his choices, why would I? It was too much effort to edit his text in these chapters, so I just took the high points (which are very good, by the way), and applied them to the the de facto standard used for centuries.
Would I recommend the book? If you haven't been taught any memory techniques or ordinal sets, or studied these on your own, then yes! Certainly! The books is fresh and modern and has great ideas for tricks you can use (assuming you're willing to go at this as a paid-for course and set aside time each week to concentrate on it).
If you now other de facto standards, examples of which I've given above, then my recommendation is "maybe." I enjoyed it and learned a good number of tricks. But I stumbled a great deal in many sections, so much so that I found myself arguing with Dominic in my mind rather than concentrating on what I was reading. It took a great deal of effort to get to the end. Worth my time, but maddening all the same.
- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Watkins Publishing (2 January 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1780287909
- ISBN-13: 978-1780287904
- Product Dimensions:: 12.6 x 1.3 x 19.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 141 g
- Customer reviews: 103 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: 58,519 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)