Nelson Dellis TEDx Video on Trained Memory

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The best part of this video is when Nelson Dellis admits that there is nothing special about memorizing a deck of cards.

He’s right. There isn’t. He’s also right that everyone can do it.

Watch the video to learn about the power of your mind and how to use it to enhance every area of your life.

Coming up with German Words to Memorize is Soooooper Easy

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Sometimes people ask me about the best German words to learn and memorize.

The answer, of course, is:

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Memerizing Spellungs

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Yes, I purposefully misspelled the title of this post. Partly to be cute, but partly to harness the power of typos.

In fact, this post is thanks to GermanLover who was kind enough to point out two typos I had made on my Maßstab post. It was funny too, because in making the comment, GermanLover also made a typo before correcting it in a second comment.

Life is like a box of typos. Isn’t that what Forrost Gamp said?

All jokes aside, thanks to that post, I am now exploring ways to remember, not just how the words sound and their meanings, but how to memorize the spellings as well. This practice can be a challenge in any language, but especially in German, where the temptation is to say that we should spell things exactly the way they sound.

And that’s what I did. I spelled Maßstab as Maßtab because I assumed the ß was good enough to get the s sounds in the word rolling.

(By the way, click that ß for some Wiki-nformation about this beautiful letter and its history.)

But we still need some strategies for memorizing spellings.

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Drawing Your Memory Palace for Maximum Effect

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Andrew Watt has an interesting blog post called Wanderings in the Labyrinth. In it he talks about using Google Sketch to create a visual image of your memory palace.

Google Sketch is now Trimble SketchUp, in case you go looking for it.

Andrew’s post is important because it reminds us of the value of having a clear vision of our memory palaces. I know that I tend to think very conceptually and sometimes fall into the trap of just knowing a room exists in a certain apartment I once lived in without actually taking the time to visualize it first. I always use an Excel file for storing the different locations I use, but this only compounds the conceptual nature of the memory exercise. When I work this way, I essentially rob my mind of the rich visual dimension truly lasting memorization thrives on.

Floor plans work wonders. This is a Berlin apartment I used to live in:

Yes, it was that big!

By drawing and numbering the rooms, I now have at least some visual connection with the lay of the land as I create my journey and create a conceptual version of it in an Excel file.

Here’s the most important part about drawing out a floor plan for the purposes of memorization: » Continue your journey »

Nietzsche: Without Music Life Would be a Mistake + The Outside

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Last night I went to the movie theater and saw Here Comes the Boom. At one point, the music teacher of the school quotes Nietzsche:

“Without Music Life Would be a Mistake.”

In German, the exact wording is: “Ohne Musik wäre das Leben ein Irrtum.”

This quote raises strong feelings and reminds me of “The Outside,” a band I used to play in when I lived in Berlin.

Now they’ve been on several tours and appeared on German TV!

Check them out:

I’ll never forget the first day I met Tito, Sergio and Roland. I took the S-Bahn to Schönhauser Alle and waited for Roland to meet me. He was in a small red car, kind of like a cross between a VW Beetle and a tank. » Continue your journey »

My Favorite German Film Begins and Ends with the Letter “M”

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That’s right. I’m talking about Fritz Lang’s 1931 masterpiece M.

There are quite a few versions of the film on YouTube, but I’m posting this one because the English subtitles are slightly obscured. And sometimes the English translations don’t appear at all. That will encourage you to fill in the blanks and understand the German better.


Berlin Bags on a Berlin Street

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Sandra Bullock Speaking German

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Although it’s most likely she learned the language as a youngster, is it possible that she used a memory palace for the really tough words?

Preparing for New Year’s 2013 in Berlin and New York City

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Watch the video here.

Nice Images of Berlin in New David Bowie Video

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Great Punk Song About Berlin

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Blixa Bargeld Reads From Hornbach

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Why You Should “Butcher” the German Language As Often As You Can

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Every now and then someone emails or leaves a review of How to Learn and Memorize German Vocabulary. They find aspects of the technique confusing.

“Anthony, what’s a mnemonic?”

“What does it mean to ‘amplify my memory?’”

And more.

These points are all explained in the book, but I guess it’s time that I explained them a little bit more. It’s true: the terminology of memorization techniques can be strange, and my unique additions to the field don’t necessarily jive with what the other memory experts say. (That’s a good thing).

Ready? Gut.

Auf die Plätze, fertig, los!

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How On Earth Do You Memorize All Those German Words?

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So here’s an interesting question from a reader of How to Learn and Memorize German Vocabulary.

“Dr. Metivier, how do you memorize so many words on top of all the other things you do? How do you find the time?”

It’s absolutely true that I add at least one more word to one of my German language Memory Palaces every day, and usually more. But it’s also true that I have loads of writing projects, music rehearsals and a dozen other things snapping at my heels for attention.

Am I some kind of super-organized schedule freak?

No way. The truth is that I use just as many artificial means to manage my time as the next desk surfer: to-do lists, calendar reminders on my iPhone and a good old fashioned “treasure map” on the wall behind my computer that reminds me to work hard so I can achieve my goals in life.

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German Mnemonics Interview with Dr. Sperber

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