Moonwalking with Einstein (Foer) - Discussion Questions

Discussion Questions
Use our LitLovers Book Club Resources; they can help with discussions for any book:

How to Discuss a Book (helpful discussion tips)
Generic Discussion Questions—Fiction and Nonfiction
Read-Think-Talk (a guided reading chart)

Also consider these LitLovers talking points to help get a discussion started for Moonwalking with Einstein:

1. How's the state of your memory?

2. Talk about techniques to improve the memory—the PAO system and the Memory Palace. How do they work? Have you attempted to use either technique to improve your own memory? What are some of the lurid objects...or houses you would use to recall objects you want to remember?

3. How important is memory to us today when our culture provides so many other ways of recalling information: our ability to write, printed texts, photos, computers, and smart phones?

4. In the ancient world, learning was memorizing. How would you characterize today's learning? What role does memory play in acquiring knowledge? Were the students Foer visited in the South Bronx learning history or memorizing it...or both?

5. Talk about the way memory shapes our identities and perceptions of the world. How does it do so?

6. What is Foer's reaction when he wins the U.S. Memory Championship? Did it fulfill his hopes and ideals of what an improved memory would bring him?

7. What do you think of Foer's coach, Ed Cooke? What about his philosophy that "a heroic person should be able to withstand about 10 years of solitary confinement without getting terribly annoyed"?

8. Talk about Ribot's Law—the process of integtrating memories into the brain's network. Does that law seem to hold true for your brain?

9. What is the role of memory in our culture and why does Foer say it is eroding at an ever faster pace? How serious a problem is this national amnesia...if, in fact, that's what it is?

10. Foer says that in the process of learning to memorize, he also learned "to pay attention to the world around" him. Are you keenly aware of your surroundings? How much attention do you pay to the world around you? 

11. What sections in this book did you find funny? What was most interesting to you?

12. How much of this book do you remember?

(Questions by LitLovers. Please feel free to use them, online of off, with attribution. Thanks.)

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