Book Review: How To Remember Anything


Mark Channon

Hodder Education, 2011

Keywords: memory, speed reading, mind mapping, career building

How to remember any sequence of numbers, how to remember names, how to structure your learning, how to mind map a text or how to speed read any material. These are some of the teachings that you will find inside the first book of Mark Channon, one of the first people in the world to become a Grand Master of Memory.

But also, you will find how to apply those techniques to study a bunch of different matters like Geography, Literature, Science and even Sports. And finally, encounter the method to deliver near perfect presentations, how to handle information overload or how to apply all those techniques to plan your career.

Want to know more? Keep reading…

What you will find inside

The book is divided into four parts:

  • First part is about letting you know how memory rules your world
  • Second part teaches you techniques to take the most from your memory
  • Third part lets you use the techniques for specific tasks
  • Fourth part, you will learn how to apply everything to improve your life

Part I is a short introduction to the concepts of memory and its types, and how they work together in the whole cycle of learning. Interesting to get you immersed in the subject.

Part II, is about the memorization techniques themselves. Mark describes in this part the main memorization techniques. Interestingly, he adds a touch of his experience as an actor, including Stanislavsky influences in the techniques, for instance in the dialling up technique or in engaging your imagination to better remembering.

The first chapters of this part are dedicated to basic memorization techniques for small pieces of information, including the major system, memory palaces (or Loci method), peg systems, etc.

If all the previous techniques where dedicated to the ability of learning small chunks of data (like lists, concrete facts, etc), the last two chapters of this part explain two additional skills that help in acquiring and remembering the big picture of complex large materials:

  • mind maps, or how to extract the structure and main content of a complex text.
  • speed reading , or how to absorve the content of a book in the shortest amount of time).

Part III is dedicated to teach you how to apply all the previous techniques to specific practical situations. You will learn how to remember names, how to apply the techniques to learn any academic subject (chemistry, history, science…) but also how to make use of memory palaces to remember your schedule for today, the directions Google Maps gave you, or even how to remember a sequence of movements required for a sport (for instance a Karate kata).

However the most interesting chapters are the last three ones:

  1. In chapter 12 the author teaches us how to program oneself to remember, it is, how to condition yourself to remember more in general situations.
  2. Chapter 13 is about how to handle information overload, and how to focus on the important discarding the accessory with direct applications to articles, conferences and books.
  3. Finally, chapter 14 explains how to deliver good speeches without forgetting a comma.

Part IV is about how to integrate all the previous teachings into specific career situations

  • First you will be introduced on how to design a life of continuous learning.
  • Then you will be teached how to improve at work in specific situations like in personal interviews, brainstormings or meetings.
  • The book ends with a chapter dedicated to develop your career plan, taking into account everything you have learned along the book.


What I did like

The book is beautifully writen and depicted. It is also perfectly structured, and builds step by step on what the previous chapters have explained.

I love how it is full of small exercises along all the chapters. Most of memory books only teach you the techniques and show you how they work with one or several examples, but they do not include exercises for the reader to train on the technique (they let you on your own). In this book, however, every small explanation contains its associated exercise that allows you to understand the explanations smoothly.

But what I like the most of this book is that Mark does not simply explain you the techniques and adds some exercises. He has put a lot of effort to tie all this with what you will experience in a real life situation when trying to apply it. He is not interested in making you learn a list of 50 items to impress your friends, but how to use that skill to achieve success in your life. This is definitely achieved with the last two parts of the book.

Additionally, I also like how the first chapters dedicate some time to teach you how to relax in order to be in the perfect mental state to memorize, or remember. This point is very important when trying to memorize/remember under pressure.

Finally, I do like that you do not need extra material or component to do the trainings (apart from a few papers and pencils).

What I did not like

There are two things I did not like so much from Mark’s book:

  • First, I found that the explanations of some techniques are a little short, not deep enough. I would need deeper explanations for some parts, since many details that appear while training are not covered. For example, speed reading is poorly explained and the exercises are too simple to actually capture all the complexity of it. The same happens with the subject about conditioning ourselves to remember, which is too vague. Another example is that of chapter 16, which is too short for such complex subjects like interviews, leadership or brainstorming.
  • Second, even if I said the opposite in the previous section, I think that the book could have taken advantage of technology and use computer or mobile free programs to help the training (and speed up learning). However I understand the position of the author, making training depends on technology can make a book weaker, because programs should be handled by third parties. Also expects from the reader to acquire additional equipment (which may not be convenient for many readers).


How to remeber anything is the perfect book to get introduced into memory techniques and their applications to real life. Some subjects of memorization are slightly explained but the whole material provided by the book is large enough to get a complete understanding and acquisition of the most important memory techniques.

Also, the use of relaxing techniques prior to memorizing is something very fresh in this kind of books that can help improve memory under pressure circumstances even without using any memorization technique.

If you want to know more, you can find a mind map of the book here, or you may take a look at Mark Channon’s latest book The Memory Workbook.

Do you have any memory training book that you would like to recommend?

Leave a comment here with the title and a link to the web page!


One Response to Book Review: How To Remember Anything

  1. qualidade vida optimemory 21/12/2017 at 10:08 #

    Thank you for another wonderful post. Where else could anyone get that type of
    information in such an ideal means of writing?
    I’ve a presentation subsequent week, and I am at the look for such information.

Deja un comentario

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes