There were points in the book that it got a little slow, repetitive, and dry, but overall, I like how it combines scientific information about memory with Foer’s story of learning from the best on his journey to compete in competitive memory competitions. I wish it would have covered the actual strategies of memory a little bit more, but as it’s pointed out throughout the book, a lot of them are not very practical with everyday things, so I understand why they’re not covered in greater detail.
Foer does a good job of covering the talents and quirks of several mental athletes that he gets to know as well as going into a few key case studies on memory that have been performed by various psychologists over time. The description of the memory championships (and the people that competed in them) brought back memories of my math competitions when I was in school, which gave me a pretty good visual for all that was going on. The coverage of the competitions was one of my favorite parts of the book, and certainly more exciting towards the end when Foer is giving a first-hand recollection of his shot at the US Memory Championship.
While the book wasn’t exactly what I was expecting, it was a break from the style of book I typically read while being enjoyable and a fairly easy read. It piqued my interest enough that I might do more reading on the memory techniques mentioned throughout, but it didn’t sell them enough to make me immediately want to start learning them, mostly because they don’t seem practical but require a lot of practice and time.