This book promises “practical techniques for a sharper mind”. If you believe, as the author does, that a sharper mind means being able to remember stuff, then it delivers. It walks you through easy, step-by-step exercises to build your ability to remember. The author is a US memory champion, so we can believe him when he says you have to study and practise, as he does.

Why bother? The examples in the introduction aren’t convincing, so skip those, but do read on. The chapter on building better business relationships is a guide to remembering names and faces together, with stand-alone techniques you can go straight to. The approach to memorising the main points of a presentation or speech is useful, though it builds through the chapters and takes a little more time to perfect.

Advanced tricks use memorable frameworks you first need to learn. Numbers, for example, are turned into words and then into images, with the same image for the same number every time. It’s a way of life for Santos, and there’s enough here for the rest of us to get better at remembering in those areas we care about. It’s a very quick read, but to get the most from it, don’t just read it. Do it.

Books | August 2016