To become a Grand Master of Memory–fewer than 100 in the world can claim that title–you need to satisfy each of the following in competitions approved by the World Memory Sport Council:
• Memorize the order of 10 decks of cards in 60 minutes.
• Memorize 1,000 random digits in 60 minutes.
• Memorize the order of one deck of cards in less than two minutes.
Ed Cooke first hit this trifecta when he was 23. He later came to international attention when he coached journalist Joshua Foer from ground zero to U.S. Memory Champion in one year, a feat chronicled by Foer in the best-seller Moonwalking with Einstein. To win that championship, Foer had to memorize 120 random digits in five minutes, successfully commit to memory the first and last names of 156 strangers within 15 minutes, and (last but not least) memorize a shuffled deck of cards in less than two minutes.
Ed has memorized a shuffled deck of cards in competition in 43 seconds. Of all memory feats, none is a more compressed act of mental athleticism.
I asked him if he’d open the kimono and explain his method, and he very graciously agreed.
It takes around four hours to get comfortable with Ed’s best-of-breed system. With a little practice, you’ll be a third of your way to becoming a Grand Master.
(Im)practically speaking, it’s just freaking amazingly cool. Few people in the world can pull it off, and that’s reason enough to take a weekend or slow evening to try. Instead of watching another bad movie, you can become one of the memory illuminati.
Last but not least, there’s a $10,000 competition at the end if you want to really give this a shot… Read More
This is a short 20-minute interview from this week’s WIRED “Living By Numbers” Health Conference. It was a great event, and one of my favorite writers, Clive Thompson, interviewed me on how I track my life. Included are questions about the future of self-experimentation.
What would you like to know more about? Please let me know in the comments.
Odds and Ends: The 4-Hour Chef – Promote Your Product, Service, or Company?
Would you like to get your product or service in front of 1,000,000+ unique monthly readers… with an average annual income of $75K+? This blog has that audience.
This is a guest post by Dan Ariely, James B Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University.
I’ve always suspected that we start each day with a limited number of decision-making points that, once depleted, leave us cognitively impaired. This is part of the reason that automating minutiae, adopting rituals, and applying creativity only where it’s most valuable (e.g. not deciding what to eat for breakfast) is so important to me.
I just don’t have the bandwidth to get big things done by doing otherwise. Perhaps, just as Phelps was born with bigger lungs than 99.9% of the population, and just as some people only need four hours of sleep per night, some people are born with more decision-making “hit points” than others?
Food for thought. This leads to Dan’s discussion of “ego-depletion” and how to insure against making bad decisions… Read More
The above video will give you an taste of why I love Richard Feynman. It was forwarded to me by Brew Johnson and J.R. Johnson, whom I owe huge thanks, as I’d somehow missed it. About the program, Professor Sir Harry Kroto, recipient of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, said:
“The 1981 Feynman Horizon is the best science program I have ever seen. This is not just my opinion – it is also the opinion of many of the best scientists that I know who have seen the program… It should be mandatory viewing for all students, whether they be science or arts students.”
Feynman’s makes me want to be a better teacher and, ultimately, a world-class parent (you’ll see what I mean). A few notes on the video:
- I first watched this in 10-minute bites before bed. There’s no need to watch it all at once.
- :30-:38 is fascinating physics, but physics nonetheless. He does a masterful job of getting lay people excited (his cadence helps a lot), but skip if needed, rather than missing what follows.
- :40+ explains part of his teaching philosophy, which greatly influenced how I outline my books.
- His concept of “active irresponsibility” is worth remembering.
May you all experience the pleasure of finding things out, starting here with a closer look at a most curious character: Richard Feynman.
If you could have dinner anyone from any time in history, who would you choose and why? Assume you can’t tell anyone about the dinner, so bragging rights don’t apply. What would you want to learn, know, or experience?
The dunes that inspired Dune: Agate beach sand dunes. (Photo: Kevin McNeal)
For a mere 20 years or so, I refused to read fiction. Read something that someone just made up? I can do that myself, thanks.
That was the attitude at least.
My time of reckoning came when I needed to fix insomnia, and non-fiction business books before bed just compounded the problem. I began reading fiction to “turn off” and instead saw breakthroughs in creativity and quality of life as a side-effect.
Now, if people ask me, for instance, “Which books should I read on leadership?”, I might reply: “Dune and Ender’s Game.” I’ve come to look for practical solutions in both fiction and non-fiction.
For those of you who are stuck in the business or how-to sections, as I was for decades, I offer you 10 fiction books that might change how you view the world… and how you perform.
Chip Conley is the founder of Joie de Vivre Hospitality, which he began at age 26 and built to more than 30 properties in California alone. In 2010, Joie de Vivre was awarded the #1 customer service award in the U.S. by Market Metrix (Upper Upscale hotel category).
Conley has also been named the “Most Innovative CEO” in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times, and I’m proud to call him a friend.
We’ve shared many glasses of wine together. He doesn’t know what I’m about to tell you, but it’s true (Hi, Chip!). When we first met, and after reading his first book on Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, I wondered “Is this Chip dude for real? Implementing self-actualization in a company?!?” My curiosity drove me to visit a few of his hotels, including Hotel Vitale, where I eventually concluded: these are the happiest employees I’ve ever met.
He has figured out what makes people tick.
The following post is a guest post by Chip and based on his new book, Emotional Equations. Be sure to read to the end, as there is a chance to win an expense-paid trip to SF to spend an entire day training with him.
Deal-making? Empire building? Self-fulfillment? He’s your guy.
One piece of the puzzle: getting eye contact right. Not evasive, not creepy — just right. (Photo: Mr. Theklan)
This is a guest post from Michael Ellsberg, a good friend who’s spent the last several years studying interpersonal persuasion and language (spoken and unspoken).
He has performed hundreds of tests in the field as the creator of Eye Gazing Parties, which resembles speed-dating with no speaking. Elle magazine called his parties “New York’s hottest dating trend,” and for good reason. Having attended one party, I can attest: three minutes of staring into someone’s eyes tells you more about them than ten minutes of talking.
In this post, he deconstructs Bill Clinton’s so-called “reality distortion field” into elements you can practice for business or pleasure. Don’t miss the play-by-play video demonstration… Read More
That’s what I was thinking as fine dust hit every inch of my face, flooding my sunglasses and burning my eyes. I pulled a white bandana up over my face, and then — as suddenly as it started — it ended.
The three people seated around me came back into view, I took a sip of water, and we continued where we left off. Just another late morning at Burning Man.
I’ve since returned to San Francisco from the middle of the Nevada desert, but I brought a few things back with me. My camp, called Maslowtopia and organized by famed hotelier Chip Conley (author of Peak), gathered a motley crew of around 100 all-stars from around the world, including incredible artists, organic chefs, and wise Fortune-100 co-founders… Read More
Brute force seldom works with haters. Redirection does. (Photo: Deadstar 2.0)
I recently spent a week in Amsterdam enjoying bicycles, canals, Queensday, and… ahem… coffee shops. For real. Honest. The best coffee I’ve had in Europe has to be De Koffie Salon.
I also gave a short keynote at The NextWeb about how to deal with haters, protect yourself from (some) media, respond to FlipCams, and other personal branding self-defense 101.
Think you have crazy people contacting you or commenting on your blog? Me too. I share some of my favorite hater e-mails, Amazon reviews, and voicemails. It’ll make you feel better to hear the stories.
It is possible to learn to love haters. But it does take some know-how and tactical planning… Read More