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30 days to a more powerful memory

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Content Preview

30 Days
to a More POWERFUL
Memory
Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D.
American Management Association
New York • Atlanta • Brussels • Chicago • Mexico City • San Francisco
Shanghai • Tokyo • Toronto • Washington, D.C.
PAGE i
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Special discounts on bulk quantities of AMACOM books are
available to corporations, professional associations, and other
organizations. For details, contact Special Sales Department,
AMACOM, a division of American Management Association,
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.
Tel: 212-903-8316. Fax: 212-903-8083.
E-mail: specialsls
@amanet.org
Website: www. amacombooks.org/go/specialsales
To view all AMACOM titles go to: www.amacombooks.org

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Scott, Gini Graham.
30 days to a more powerful memory / Gini Graham Scott.
p.
cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN-13: 978-0-8144-7445-7
ISBN-10: 0-8144-7445-4
1. Mnemonics.

2. Memory.
I. Title.
II. Title: Thirty days to a more powerful
memory.
BF385.S36
2007
153.1 4—dc22
2006032832
2007 Gini Graham Scott, Ph.D.
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.

This publication may not be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system,
or transmitted in whole or in part,
in any form or by any means, electronic,
mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise,
without the prior written permission of AMACOM,
a division of American Management Association,
1601 Broadway, New York, NY 10019.

Printing number
10
9
8
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
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PAGE ii

Dedicated to the many people who gave me suggestions
on how to remember, including Felix Herndon, who
invited me to sit in on his Cognitive Processes class at Cal
State, East Bay—a source of much inspiration for many
of the memory principles described in the book.
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PAGE iii

Contents
Introduction
vii
1. How Your Memory Works
1
2. How Your Long-Term Memory Works
15
3. How Good Is Your Memory?
31
4. Creating a Memory Journal
49
5. Pay Attention!!!
57
6. Improving Your Health and Your Memory
69
7. Decrease Stress and Anxiety to Remember More
85
8. Increase Your Energy to Boost Your Memory Power
96
9. It’s All About Me!
105
10. Remembering More by Remembering Less
110
11. Using Schemas and Scripts to Help You Remember
124
12. Chunk It and Categorize It
134
13. Rehearse . . . Rehearse . . . Rehearse . . . and Review
145
14. Repeat It!
153
15. Talk About It
158
16. Tell Yourself a Story
164
17. Remembering a Story
170
18. Back to Basics
175
19. Take a Letter
181
20. Linked In and Linked Up
187
21. Find a Substitute
194
v
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PAGE v

V I ✧ C O N T E N T S
22. It’s All About Location
198
23. Be a Recorder
208
24. Record and Replay
213
25. Body Language
223
26. Let Your Intuition Do the Walking
227
27. Remembering Names and Faces
236
28. Remembering Important Numbers
245
29. Walk the Talk: Speeches, Presentations,
and Meetings
255
Notes
261
Resources and References
265
Index
267
About the Author
277
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PAGE vi

Introduction
Everyone wants a better memory—and in today’s information-filled,
multitasking age, having a good memory is more important than
ever. Whether you need to keep track of your e-mail messages, im-
press the boss, give a speech, organize a busy social schedule, re-
member whom you met where and when, or anything else, a good
memory is a necessary tool for staying on top of things. It’s especially
critical if you’re part of the Baby Boomer generation or older, because
memory loss can accompany aging. But if you keep your mind and
memory limber, you can rev up your memory power—in fact, it’ll
even get better with age!
30 Days to a More Powerful Memory is designed to help anyone im-
prove his or her memory. Besides drawing on the latest findings from
brain and consciousness researchers, psychologists, and others about
what works and why, I’ve included a variety of hands-on techniques
and exercises, such as memory-building games and mental-imaging
techniques.
While some chapters deal with basic ways of preparing your
mind and body to remember more, such as improving your overall
health and well-being, the main focus is on the techniques you can
use day to day to improve your memory. Plus I’ve included chapters
on creating systems so you have memory triggers or you can reduce
what you have to remember, so you can concentrate on remember-
ing what’s most important to you. For example, you might feel over-
vii
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PAGE vii

V I I I ✧ I N T R O D U C T I O N
whelmed if you have 20 tasks to keep in mind for a meeting; but if
you organize these by priority or groups of different types of tasks
and write down these categories, you might have a more manageable
organization of activities to remember.
It’s also important to personalize developing your memory, so
you work on increasing your abilities in areas that are especially
meaningful for you. By the same token, it helps to assess where you
are now to figure out what you are good at remembering and where
there are gaps, so you can work on those areas. Keeping a memory
journal as you go through the learning process will help you track
your progress, and will help you notice what you forgot, so you can
work on improving your weak spots as well.
Since this is a book on improving your memory in 30 days, you
should focus on committing a 30-day period to working with these
techniques. You don’t necessarily have to read the chapters in a par-
ticular order. In fact, you may want to spend more time on certain
chapters and skip others. That’s fine, but the way you use your mem-
ory is a kind of habit, and it generally takes about three weeks to
form a new habit or get rid of an old one, plus an extra week thrown
in for good measure. So this 30-day period will be a time when you
hone new memory skills and make them a regular part of your life.
With some practice, you will find that these techniques become an
everyday part of your life, so you don’t even have to think about
them. You will just use them automatically to help you remember
more.
I’ve also included a few introductory chapters that describe how
the brain works and the different types of memory that create a
memory system. This is a little like having a memory controller in
charge as you take new information into your working or short-term
memory, decide what bits of memory you want to keep and include
in your long-term memory, and later seek to find and retrieve the
memories you want. But again the focus is on using what you have
learned to better apply the techniques that incorporate those princi-
ples. You’ll also see helpful tips from people I have interviewed on
how they remember information in different situations, and I have
included examples of how I apply these techniques myself. Some of
these techniques are memory games that I have developed to make
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PAGE viii

I N T R O D U C T I O N ✧ I X
increasing your memory fun. While the focus is on using these mem-
ory skills for work and professional development, you can use these
skills in your personal life, too.
Back in high school and college, it was always a struggle for me
to remember details. When I took a class in acting in my junior year,
I found it especially difficult to remember my lines. Later on, I still
had difficulty remembering things. For example, if someone asked
me to repeat something I had just said—such as when I was being
interviewed for a TV show or teaching a class—I could never remem-
ber it exactly, though I could answer the question anew. Yet, looking
back, I can remember quite vividly my struggles to remember, even
imagining where I was, the appearance of the room, and the like.
That’s the way memory works. When you have images, when some-
thing is more important for you, when you use multiple senses to
encode the experience in the first place—when you don’t just try to
recall words on a page or a series of spoken words—you will remem-
ber more.
Over the years, I learned specific ways to enable me to remember
things better. Now, since I have been working on this book, I have
found even more techniques to improve my memory. I think you’ll
find the same thing as you read through the chapters.
So get ready, get set—mark your calendar and get started on
improving your memory over the next 30 days. Of course, you’re also
free to condense the program into fewer days or extend the process
if necessary. Thirty days is optimal—but adapt the program so it’s
best for you.
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PAGE ix

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