Jose Carillo's Forum


This new section features links to interesting, instructive, or thought-provoking readings about the English language. The selections could be anywhere from light and humorous to serious and scholarly, and they range widely from the reading, writing, listening, and speaking disciplines to the teaching and learning of English.

Young writer and memory buff shows how we can remember most everything

In our Google and cellphone culture, the ability to memorize and remember things has become a neglected and practically vanishing skill. With volumes upon volumes modules of information now instantly available to us with just a few clicks of a keyboard, we no longer need to vigorously exercise our brains to store and retrieve them. The result, of course, is a growing epidemic of forgetfulness not only among older people but among young people as well—with all its possible dire implications on how we build our personal identities and perceive the world around us.    

Moonwalking with Einstein

In Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything (The Penguin Press, 307 pages), Joshua Foer, a young journalist and finalist of the U.S.A. Memory Championships, writes an enthusiastic and penetrating narrative about the nature and history of memory. Drawing insights from his own intensive memory-improvement training before competing with the best American mental athletes, Foer then shows with refreshing candidness how we might be able to improve ours.

“Now more than ever, as the role of memory in our culture erodes at a faster pace than ever before, we need to cultivate our ability to remember,” Foer says in Moonwalking with Einstein, which recently became a “Books of the Times” selection of The New York Times. “Our memories make us who we are. They are the seat of our values and source of our character. Competing to see who can memorize more pages of poetry might seem beside the point, but it’s about taking a stand against forgetfulness, and embracing primal capacities from which too many of us have become estranged.”

In “Remember How Important It Is Not to Forget,” a review of Moonwalking with Einstein in the March 8, 2011 issue of the Times, Michiko Kakutani says: “Mr. Foer writes in these pages with fresh enthusiasm. His narrative is smart and funny and… informed by a humanism that enables its author to place the mysteries of the brain within a larger philosophical and cultural context.”

Read Joshua Foer’s “Secrets of a Mind-Gamer,” an article he adapted from his Moonwalking with Einstein, in the New York Times Magazine now!

Read Michiko Kakutani’s “Remember How Important It Is Not to Forget” in The New York Times now!

Read an Author Q&A with Joshua Foer in the Review website now!

Joshua Foer is a freelance journalist with a primary focus on science. In 2006, he won the U.S.A. Memory Championship “speed cards” event by memorizing a deck of 52 cards in 1 minute and 40 seconds. Moonwalking with Einstein, his first book, was bought by Penguin Press with a $1.2 million advance plus a movie option. Foer’s work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Slate, and The Nation.

In the book Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age (Allen Lane, 256 pages), Clay Shirky shares his vision of what the current generation of young people are likely to do with the abundance of opportunities offered by the web to create and share cultural content, information, and ideas. Says Charles Leadbeater in his review of Cognitive Surplus in the New Statesman: “Shirky is the best chronicler we have of the unfolding cultural revolution brought on by the web. But, with his passion for fighting the old enemy, television, he may not have given enough attention to the new battles under way in which emerging media powers such as Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Google compete to fence off a digital landscape that is only just coming into view for most of us.”

Cognitive Surplus

Dark Side of Freedom

Read Charles Leadbeater’s “The sharing generation” in The New Statesman now!

Read Chris Lehmann’s “An Accelerated Grimace: On Cyber-Utopianism,” a review of Clay Shirky’s Cognitive Surplus and Evgeny Morozov’s The Net Delusion: The Dark Side of Internet Freedom, in The Nation now!

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