Main How to Learn Almost Anything in 48 Hours: Shortcuts and brain hacks for learning new skills fast
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I have gained immensely from the books and still gaining.
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31 July 2021 (14:39)
CHAPTER 4 ADVANCED MEMORY TECHNIQUES Remembering numbers can be really tricky unless you use a particular technique. Here are several that are incredibly useful. The Major system This encodes numbers into phonetic sounds based on the letters of the alphabet—but not vowels (including the letter y). The following numbers represent the letters next to it. 0 = s, z, c (ceiling) 1 = t or d 2 = n, gn 3 = m 4 = r 5 = l 6 = sh, j, dg (hedge), ch (chair), g (George) 7 = c, k, ck, ch (chord), g (goat) 8 = f, v, ph, gh 9 = p or b How it works Take a pair of digits and make a few small words using the above code. The number 32 can be man, for example, 77 cake, 86 fish and 09 soap. How to use There are many uses for the Major system, but it’s mostly used for remembering a long series of numbers. (NB: You do not need to know the Major system codes off by heart. Just have them close by for reference.) Memorising numbers To remember this twenty-digit number we would pair up the numbers and then make a story using linking and association. 92573391144768217282 92 (pen) + 57 (leg) + 33 (mummy) + 91 (bat) + 14 (door) + 47 (rock) + 68 (chef) + 21 (net) + 72 (gun) + 82 (fan) The pen writes a large squiggle on my leg. When I stand up I see a mummy three metres tall holding a bat. I run as fast as I can, open a door and go inside. There he is – The Rock holding eggs, about to bake a fairy cake. He is dressed as a chef, wearing a net on his head. Then he swaps his net for a large machine gun, and his fans watching applaud the action hero. How long? Around two minutes to remember all the digits after reading the above story. Using Method of Loci We can also use the Method of Loci to store numbers in pairs for each location. [image: image] All that is left to do is to recall the story from each location, which will in turn give you the word associated with the numbers above. 1. front door . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .; . . . 2. bed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3. shower . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4. sink . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5. cupboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6. television . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 7. couch . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8. dishwasher . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9. fridge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10. table . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . How long? It will take between ten to twenty seconds to make the story (connection) with a location and item to be memorised. So for ten items it’s around three minutes. Memorising playing cards Create an image for each card using the Major system or use the references below. [image: image] Using Method of Loci Using the Method of Loci here’s how to memorise ten random playing cards. Each card is connected to a location for an imaginative story to be made. [image: image] After you’ve memorised ten playing cards, try doubling that effort to twenty. Ultimately your goal is to memorise fifty-two playing cards in fifty-two locations. How long? It should take around twenty seconds to create a story with the location and card, so for the ten items it’s around three minutes. Dominic system Created by Dominic O’Brien, World Memory Champion for a record eight times, this technique is similar to the Major system and encodes digits into people and actions. The numbers coded are: 0 = O 1 = A 2 = B 3 = C 4 = D 5 = E 6 = S 7 = G 8 = H 9 = N How it works Group the digits of numbers to be memorised into pairs. The letters of the first pair of digits creates a person using the initials of their first name and surname. The next pair relates to an action or activity of the person. How to use Let’s memorise this number using the Dominic system. 92593300154268217282 [image: image] Using the above table, we see that number 92 makes NB with 9 = N and B = 2. From this we can use the initials to create a name. In this case, Napoleon Bonaparte. Since we have a person for the number 92, we can now attribute an action. In this case we have chosen Napoleon Bonaparte fighting in battle. The action element comes in when we are combining numbers together. • The first two digits are always a person. • The next two digits are always an action. Using the Method of Loci to help, you can now use the person/action strategy of the Dominic system: [image: image] [image: image] • You do not need to know the Major system codes as you start memorising, just have them close by as a reference. Before long you’ll know them off by heart. • When linking numbers make sure you don’t mix up the order of the numbers you are trying to remember. If you make an incorrect story you will recall incorrect numbers. • When using the Method of Loci to remember numbers, always attach the story deeply into the location. Remember, physical connection makes for stronger memorisation. • The Method of Loci is the fastest way to memorise playing cards. create as many loci as you can so you don’t get your stories mixed up by repeatedly using the same location. • creating a spreadsheet listing people and their actions is super helpful when using the Dominic system. • Impress others with these new skills and spread the love. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS I never thought I’d write a book, let alone two! My hope is that this one also helps people and makes their lives that bit easier. Thank you to my amazing parents and family who have supported me and given me strength ever since I was a child. They have been my greatest inspiration. I thank my dear friends and colleagues that have supported me along my journey. Thank you to Nolan Bushnell for helping me send my message of learning to thousands of people around the world. To my awesome contributors, you guys are amazing individuals doing extraordinary things. Keep at it! To my readers, I appreciate you taking your valuable time to acquire knowledge and better yourself. You’re also an inspiration for me to keep doing what I do. And finally thanks to my wife and our three beautiful kids. Love you all. Peace. 7-STEP GUIDE TO LEARNING ANYTHING IN 48 HOURS Below is a 7-step guide to learning almost anything in 48 hours. Applied with the techniques and tips from this book, it will create a structured process for you to follow and make sure you’re on track to achieving learning success. 1. Gather materials and resources to learn (Up to 3 hours) You’ve made the choice to learn something. The first step then is to gather all the resources and materials you need to get started. If you were to learn a language, for example, the list of resources might include books, audio, websites and apps. It might also be helpful to find a native speaker with whom you can practise speaking the language. 2. Develop memorisation strategy (Up to 2 hours) Once you have gathered all you need, make a decision on the memory techniques you plan to use from this book. For example, if you’re wanting to memorise a lengthy list, such as past presidents of the Unites States of America, you would look at using the Method of Loci. If you’re wanting to acquire knowledge fast, you would look at developing a mind map of the content and using visualisation methods such as SMASHIN SCOPE to create engaging associations in your mind with the knowledge. Reading this book will help with identifying the most relevant strategy. The more practise you get at identifying which memory techniques to use, the better you become at developing a memorisation strategy. 3. Organise/prioritise materials (Up to 1 hour) With your strategy developed, the next step is to organise the materials and resources you have to fit inside your strategy. If your strategy was to memorise all 1500 French phrases, then you will need to make sure you have your 1500 French phrases set out in a way that will make it easy for you to go through them one by one. One method of doing that is to enter or copy and paste each phrase into a spreadsheet so that it becomes easy to access. 4. Create accountability (Up to 1 hour) It is important to share your learning task with a family member, friend, or anyone else that will hold you accountable. Accountability to others creates motivation to get you going so that you don’t let others down. We do tend to slack off if we are accountable to only ourselves. 5. Memorise (Up to 30 hours) Once you have all of your materials and have developed your process for learning, it is time for action. It is best to start with short periods of memorisation rather than long. The reason for this is that it is less strain on the brain, you will complete a set memorisation period quickly, and as you get better you will increase your time. If you start with longer memorisation periods then it will overwhelm you very quickly. Keep it short and simple. 6. Review (spaced repetition) (Up to 1 hour) Once you have memorised you will need to go back and review your work. This helps to store your memorisation in long-term memory. Depending on what you’re learning, of course, the rule for spaced repetition is to review an hour later, then a day later, then a week later, a month later, three months later, six months later and finally a year later. 7. Practise and apply (Up to 10 hours) Once you have memorised and used techniques to achieve what you want, you will need to practise to give yourself feedback on your memorisation. This is the test of how much you have learned. If you have indeed memorised 1500 French phrases, go into an environment where French is spoken and have conversations. Are you able to speak it? What works? What doesn’t? Note all these down and figure out why these were the case. Learn from them and then go back and re-memorise. Having the chance to practise what you have memorised is crucial to the learning process. Memorisation only helps you to store the information, whereas learning helps you understand. Practise is the intersection where these two meet. So try to practise as much as you can and, before you know, you will learn anything you want to learn in record time. HOW IT WORKS ‘The secret of getting ahead is getting stated.’ —Mark Twain DID YOU KNOW? New brain connections are created every time you form a memory. Now that you have learned the principles, the techniques and their many applications, it’s time to practise these new skills. This section will provide hours of fun and ensure that you make the most of your amazing mind. Just remember to build the memory foundation first by using SMASHIN SCOPE before applying memory techniques. SMASHIN SCOPE Create stories using the following: pencil + door + lemons …………………………………………………………………………………. excited + television + leaves …………………………………………………………………………………. exasperated + conundrum + toys …………………………………………………………………………………. fork + windows + shower + web …………………………………………………………………………………. cabinet + excellent + noodles + deluxe …………………………………………………………………………………. disturbance + sensitivity + immaculate + technique …………………………………………………………………………………. forest + computer + brochure + painting + kite …………………………………………………………………………………. diligence + football + absence + playground + cloth …………………………………………………………………………………. fascination + golf + humorous + exhibition + freak …………………………………………………………………………………. intelligence + strictness + beauty + adoration + idiosyncrasy …………………………………………………………………………………. Speed reading test Have a stopwatch ready and hit start when you begin reading the following article. When you come to the end hit stop and record your time. Follow the instructions to get your reading speed in words per minute (WPM). The deepest dispute in education is based on a mistake Daniel Kilov In what must be now the most watched talk on the Internet (and likely all of human history: what other speech could have reached twenty-six million viewers?) Sir Ken Robinson calls for a revolution in the way we are educating children. He calls for a move away from fact-filled curricula and instead champions the teaching of creativity. He does not offer much in the way of a positive vision of what this revolutionary classroom would look like, but others using his talk as a rallying point often speak in terms of ‘twenty-first century learning skills’ which include information literacy, critical thinking, analysis and creative thinking. The putative dispute between defenders of fact-based learning and advocates of twenty-first century thinking skills is, however, based on a false dichotomy, and this dissolves once we understand the relevant science of memory. A synthesis of these views, as we will see below, suggests that the best way to promote twenty-first century skills is to embrace Art of Memory techniques from 500 Bc. Supporters of twenty-first century learning skills conceive of thinking skills as being, in some important way, beyond the mere accumulation of memorised facts. Scientific research, however, has determined that memory is central to complex cognitive processes such as thinking and problem solving. The ability to sift through and critically appraise the value of information in any subject cannot be acquired without a significant body of knowledge in that area. The scientist George Miller demonstrated the importance of background knowledge to the use of reference materials, for instance, by asking a group of students to use a dictionary to learn new words. The results are humorous but clearly demonstrate the pitfalls of the anti-fact philosophy: • ‘Mrs Morrow stimulated the soup.’ (Meaning: she stirred it up.) • ‘Our family erodes a lot.’ (Meaning: they eat out.) • ‘Me and my parents correlate, because without them I wouldn’t be here.’ • ‘I was meticulous about falling off the cliff.’ • ‘I relegated my pen pal’s letter to her house.’ If we really want to be able to understand and appraise information that comes our way we cannot be content just to look it up on Google. Even something like ability in chess, often considered a game of pure reasoning and abstract strategy, depends crucially on memory. Herbert Simon, whose research in this area won him a Nobel Prize, demonstrated in a series of experiments that chess ability relied not on Iq or raw mental processing power but on that player’s memory bank of typical chess positions and sequences. In these experiments, players of various levels were shown different configurations of boards from high-level chess games. The participants were then asked to reconstruct the boards from memory. The results were astonishing. Chess experts were able to recall the configurations of the chess pieces almost perfectly. Novice players could only recall about a third of the pieces. The reason for this is that the expert chess players saw the board in a completely different way. Their vast memories of previous chess games meant that the configurations of all pieces had meaning. The superior memory ability of the chess experts was not just a by-product of expertise, it was the essence of their expertise. For expert players, the source of their skill is what they can remember about a game and the way that those memories influence how they perceive the board in front of them. Similar results have been found across a range of different disciplines. This should come as no surprise. No creative idea that has changed the way we view the world has been invented in a vacuum of knowledge: Nobel Prize winners developed their insights only after years spent accumulating knowledge. If their memories of their disciplines were lost to them, say through amnesia, so too would be their creative capacities and information literacy skills. If expert skill, and the creativity it entails, lies in the accumulation of vast stores of knowledge then anything that is going to increase our capacity to form memories and the speed with which we do it should be treasured. This is true even for those of us without aspirations to become world-class experts. All of our mundane, everyday projects depend crucially on memory. Imagine, for instance, being able to absorb foreign language vocabulary like a sponge, internalising the words needed to speak a new language in weeks rather than years. Real-life examples of high-speed learning exist. Every year, athletes gather from all over the world to compete in the World Memory championships and, every year, they demonstrate startling learning abilities. One competitor at the first World Memory championships, Bruce Balmer, taught himself 2000 foreign words in a single day. Another competitor from the 1999 World Memory championships famously taught himself Icelandic in only one week and then went on a talk show in that language. The most remarkable thing about these individuals, however, is that there is nothing special about them at all. Rather, they all employ a small set of simple techniques, known collectively as the Art of Memory. The techniques of the Art of Memory originated in Ancient Greece. They were almost universally practised by the thinkers of the ancient world who believed that mnemonic training was essential to the cultivation of one’s memory, focus and creativity. creativity was an act of synthesis that could only occur within the mental playground of a trained mnemonist. Appropriately, in Greek mythology, Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory, was the mother of the muses, the goddesses of creativity. These techniques formed the cornerstone of western education and were employed and advocated by thinkers like Thomas Aquinas, Petrarch, Giordano Bruno, Francis Bacon, Gottfried Leibniz and René Descartes. For most of the history of education, the view of memorisation was one entirely alien to those of us concerned with so-called twenty-first century learning skills. The deepest dispute in modern educational debate is based on a mistake: If we really want to promote the abilities of critical reasoning and creativity then we would do well to recognise that the right place for the art of memory is not in memory competitions or in history books but in our classrooms and workplaces. Stop timer! 1038 words Divide 1038 by the time it took you to read: e.g. 1038 ÷ 5 minutes = 207 WPM. Languages Memorise how to say ‘hello’ to others in other languages. Amharic (Ethiopia) tadiyass (informal) tena yste’lle’gn (formal). Arabic marhaban. Armenian barev (hello). Australian Aboriginal languages Adnyamathanha (South Australia) nhangka, nhangka warntu? (how are you?) Kalaw Lagaw Ya (Torres Strait) yawa, ngi midh? (how are you?) Pitjantjatjara (Central Australia) wai, wai palya? (how are you?) Wiradhuri (New South Wales) yiradhu marang, yamandhu marang? (how are you?) Bengali (India) namaskar (hello). Bulgarian zdra veite (pron. zdrah veytej) Chinese Cantonese: nei ho or lei ho (pron. ne ho or lay ho); Mandarin: nǐ hǎo (pron. nee how). Tone is very important. Croatian bok (informal), dobro jutro (morning), dobar dan (day), dobra večer (evening), laku noć (night). Czech dobrý den (formal), ahoj (informal; pron. ahoy). Danish hej (informal; pron. hi), goddag (formal). Dhivehi (Maldives) kihineth. Dutch hoi (very informal), goedendag (formal). Dzongkha (Bhutan) kuzu-zangpo. Estonian tere päevast (good day). Fijian bula uro (informal), bula vinaka (formal). Finnish moi, tervé or hei (informal); mitä kuuluu? (how are you?) French allo, bonjour (formal); bonsoir (good evening). Gaelic dia duit (informal, literally God be with you). Georgian gamardjoba (pron. gah-mahr-joh-bah). German: traditional hallo (informal), guten tag (formal, pron. gootan taag), tag (very informal). German: Austrian and Bavarian grüß Gott (pron. gruess got), servus (informal, pron. zair-voos). Greek yassou (informal, pron. yah-soo), yassas (plural, formal, yah-sas), kalimera (good morning), kalispera (good afternoon, pron. kalee-spe-rah). Gujarati (India) namaste, namaskar, kemcho. Hawaiian aloha. Hebrew shalom (hello, goodbye, peace), ma korae? (informal, what’s happening?) Hindi namaste. Indonesian halo (hello), selamat pagi (morning), selamat siang (afternoon), selamat malam (evening). Italian buon giorno (morning, pron. bwohn geeornoh), buon pomeriggio (afternoon, pron. bwohn poh-mehreejee-oh), buona sera (evening, pron. bwohna sehrah). Japanese ohio (informal), ohio gozaimasu (morning, pron. o-hi-yo go-zai-mass), konichi ha (afternoon, pron. kon-neechee-wa), konbanha (evening, pron. kon-ban-wa). Konkani (Goa, India) namaskar, namaskaru (formal); dev baro dis div (informal). Korean eotteoke jinaesimnikka? (How are you?) Latin salve (sing., pron. sal-way), salvete (pl., pron. sal-waytay), ave (sing., formal, pron. ar-way), avete (plural, formal, pron. ar-way-tay). Maltese merħba (welcome), bonġu (good morning), bonswa or il-lejl it-tajjeb (good evening). Maori kia ora (hi), tena koe, morena (good morning). Marwari (India) khammaghani, ram ram sa. Persian (Farsi) salaam, do-rood. Pig Latin eyhay (informal), ellohay (formal). Polish cześć (hi, pron. cheshch), dzień dobry (good morning, pron. jeyn dob-ry). Portugese oi, boas, olá, bom dia, bons dias (good morning, good day); boa noite, boas noites (good evening, good night). Punjabi (India, Pakistan) sat sri akal. Romanian salut, buna dimineata (formal, morning), buna ziua (formal, daytime), buna seara (formal, evening); buna (pron. boo-nah). Russian Privet! (informal, pron. pree-vyet), zdravstvuyte (formal, pron. zdra-stvooy-tyeh). Samoan malo (informal), talofa (formal). Spanish hola (pron. o-la), buenos días (good morning), buenas tardes (good afternoon), buenas noches (good night). Swahili (Tanzania, Kenya) habari. Urdu adaab, salam (informal), salam alei kum (formal). Memorise more Chinese phrases. Pinyin English Bāng wǒ yíxià. Give me a hand. Yìzhí wǎng qián zǒu. Go right ahead. Lǚtú yúkuài. Have a good trip. Zhù nǐ yì tiān guò de yúkuài. Have a nice day. Zài lái yígè. Have another one. Nǐ zuò wán le ma? Have you finished? Tā méi kòng. He doesn’t have time. Tā xiànzài yǐjīng zài lù shàng le. He is on his way. Nǐ hǎo ma? How are you doing? Nǐ yào dāi duōjiǔ? How long are you staying? Duōshǎo qián? How much? Wǒ duì tā zháomí le. I am crazy about her. Wǒ zài làngfèi shíjiān. I am wasting my time. Wǒ néng zuò. I can do it. Wǒ jiǎnzhí bùnéng xiāngxìn. I can’t believe it. Wǒ bù néng zài děng le. I can’t wait. Wǒ méi shíjiān le. I don’t have time. Wǒ yī gè rén dōu bú rènshi. I don’t know anybody. Wǒ bù xǐhuan. I don’t like it. Wǒ rènwéi búshì. I don’t think so. Wǒ gǎnjué hǎo duō le. I feel much better. Wǒ zhǎo dào le. I found it. Wǒ tǎoyàn nǐ! I hate you! Wǒ xīwàng rúcǐ. I hope so. Wǒ zǎo zhīdào le. I knew it. Wǒ ài nǐ. I love you. Wǒ zhùyì dào le. I noticed that. Wǒ míngbái le. I see. Wǒ rènwéi shì zhèyàng de. I think so. Wǒ xiǎng gēn tā shuō huà. I want to speak with him. Wǒ yíng le. I won. Qǐng gěi wǒ yì bēi kāfēi. I would like a cup of coffee, please. Wǒ è sǐ le. I’m hungry. Wǒ yào zǒu le. I’m leaving. Duì bu qǐ. I’m sorry. Wǒ xíguàn le. I’m used to it. Wǒ huì xiǎngniàn nǐ de. I’ll miss you. Wǒ shìshì kàn. I’ll try. Wǒ hěn wúliáo. I’m bored. Wǒ hěn máng. I’m busy. Wǒ wán de hěn kāixīn. I’m having fun. Wǒ zhǔnbèi hǎo le. I’m ready. Wǒ míngbái le. I’ve got it. Zhēnshì nányǐ zhìxìn! It’s incredible! Hěn yuǎn ma? Is it far? Méiguānxi. It doesn’t matter. Wén qǐlái hěn xiāng. It smells good. Shì shíhou le. It’s about time. Méi shìr. It’s all right. Hěn jiǎndān. It’s easy. Hěn hǎo. It’s good. Lí zhè hěn jìn. It’s near here. Méi shénme. It’s nothing. Gāi zǒu le. It’s time to go. Nà shì bùtóng de. It’s different. Hěn yǒuqù. (very informal) It’s funny. Nà shì bù kěnéng de. It’s impossible. Hái xíng. It’s not bad. Bù nán. It’s not difficult. Bù zhí dé. It’s not worth it. Hěn míngxiǎn. It’s obvious. Háishì yíyàng de. It’s the same thing. Lún dào nǐ le. It’s your turn. Wǒ yě yíyàng. Me too. Hái méiyǒu. Not yet. Fàngsōng! Relax! Míngtiān jiàn. See you tomorrow. Tā shì wǒ zuì hǎo de péngyǒu. She is my best friend. Tā zhēn cōngmíng. She is so smart. Màn diǎnr! Slow down! Gàosu wǒ. Tell me. Duō xiè. Thank you very much. Zhè yàng de shìqíng jīngcháng fāshēng. That happens. Gòu le. That’s enough. Hěn yǒuqù. That’s interesting. Duì le. That’s right. Zhè shì zhēn de. That’s true. Zhèlǐ rén hěnduō. There are too many people here. Tāmen hùxiāng qīngmù. They like each other. Kǎolǜ yí xià. Think about it. Tài zāogāo la! Too bad! Děng děng wǒ. Wait for me. Nǐ shuō shénme? What did you say? Nǐ rènwéi zěnyàng? What do you think? Tā zài shuō xiē shénme? What is he talking about? Duō huài de tiānqì! What terrible weather! Zěnme la? What’s going on/ happening / the problem? Jīntiān jǐ hào? What’s the date today? Nǐ qù nǎ lǐ? Where are you going? Tā zài nǎ lǐ? Where is he? Nǐ tài xìngjí le. You are impatient. Nǐ kàn shàngqù hěn lèi. You look tired. Nǐ ràng wǒ dà chī yì jīng. You surprise me. Nǐ fēngle. You’re crazy. Bié kèqi. You’re welcome. Nǐ zǒng shì duì de. You’re always right. Nǐ de xīnqíng bù hǎo. You’re in a bad mood. Nǐ zài sāhuǎng. You’re lying. Nǐ cuòle. You’re wrong. Wasài! Wow! Memorise more French phrases. French English Comment allez-vous? How are you? Tout à coup. All of a sudden. Tu m’étonnes. Tell me something I don’t know. Quand on parle du loup. Speak of the devil. Je n’ai pas les moyens. I can’t afford it. Tu te rends compte? Can you imagine? Je n’en veux pas. I don’t want it. Vous essayez de m’avoir. You’re cheating me. Je ne suis pas intéressé. I’m not interested. D’accord, je la prends. OK, I’ll take it. Revenons à nos moutons Let’s get back to the subject at hand. Pourrais-je avoir un sac? Can I have a bag? Je n’ai fait rien de mal. I haven’t done anything wrong. C’est une erreur. It is a misunderstanding. Où m’emmenez-vous? Where are you taking me? Tu m’as tellement manqué! I missed you so much. À plus tard. See you later. Vous êtes très gentil. You’re very kind. Il faut que je parte. I have to go. Je reviens tout de suite. I will be right back. Je n’en sais rien. I have no idea. J’arrive! I’m on my way! Qu’est-ce que c’est? What is this? Que faites-vous dans la vie What do you do for a living? Allez! Oh, c’mon! J’ai faim. I’m hungry. J’ai le cafard. I’m feeling down. Tu t’en sors? You managing OK? Je n’en crois pas mes yeux. I can’t believe my eyes. J’en mettrais ma main au feu! I’d bet my life on it. Allez savoir pourquoi. Your guess is as good as mine. Ça vous dit? Are you up for it? Ça te changera les idées. It’ll take your mind off things. N’importe quoi! That’s nonsense! Ca vous plaît? Do you like it? J’espère que c’est vrai. I hope that is true. Quelle heure est-il? What time is it? Donne-moi ça. Give me this. Que’est ce qui ne va pas? What is wrong? Ce n’est pas ma faute. It’s not my fault. Ça ne fait rien. Never mind, it doesn’t matter. Ce n’est past terrible. It’s not that great. Je suis perdu. I’m lost. Sans blague. Seriously, all kidding aside. Aidez-moi, s’il vous plaît. Please help me. Tiens! Here you go! (when giving something) Vraiment! Really! Regarde! Look! Dépêche-toi! Hurry up! Je vais vous aider. I am going to help. Vous pouvez marcher? Can you walk? Vous pouvez manger tout seul? Can you feed yourself? J’ai mal! It hurts! C’est dangereux. It’s dangerous. Faites attention! Take care! C’est froid. It’s cold. C’est chaud. It’s hot. N’allez pas par là! Don’t go this way! Arrêtez! Stop that! Laissez-moi tranquille! Give me a break! / Leave me alone! Je ne l’ai pas fait intentionnellement. I didn’t do it on purpose. Ce n’est pas ma faute. This is not my fault. Faites-le vous-même. Do it yourself. Tu es completement débile. You’re a complete moron. Quelle nourriture aimes-tu? What food do you like? Où suis-je? Where am I? Avez-vous de la monnaie, s’il vous plaît? Do you have change, please? Quelle est la date aujourd’hui? / Quel jour c’est? What’s the date today? De quel pays tu viens? What country are you from? Nous ne parlons pas chinois. We can’t speak Chinese. Je suis étudiant. I am a student. C’est dans quelle rue? In which street is it? Je parle anglais. I speak English. C’est la vie! That’s life! Bon voyage! Have a good trip! Vous avez un plan? Do you have a map? Tu fais quoi? What are you doing? Tu pars quand? When are you leaving? Comment tu t’appelles? What is your name? Quel âge as-tu? (formal) Tu as quel âge? (informal) How old are you? Je voudrais l’addition, s’il vous plait. I would like the bill, please. Je préfère du fromage blanc. I prefer fresh cheese. Je suis perdu. Pouvez-vous m’aider, s’il vous plaît? I am lost. Can you help me, please? Où sont les taxis, s’il vous plaît? Where are the taxis, please? Combien je vous dois? How much do I owe you? Combien ça coûte? How much does that cost? Fais de beaux reves. Sweet dreams. Quoi de neuf? What’s new? Ça n’est pas grave! No problem! Pas grand chose. Nothing much. Un moment s’il vous plaît. One moment, please. Viens avec moi!/ Venez avec moi! (polite) Come with me! Countries and their capital cities A Afghanistan: Kabul Albania: Tirana Algeria: Algiers Andorra: Andorra la Vella Angola: Luanda Antigua and Barbuda: Saint John’s Argentina: Buenos Aires Armenia: Yerevan Australia: Canberra Austria: Vienna Azerbaijan: Baku B Bahamas: Nassau Bahrain: Manama Bangladesh: Dhaka Barbados: Bridgetown Belarus: Minsk Belgium: Brussels Belize: Belmopan Benin: Porto-Novo Bhutan: Thimphu Bolivia: Sucre Bosnia and Herzegovina: Sarajevo Botswana: Gaborone Brazil: Brasilia Brunei: Bandar Seri Begawan Bulgaria: Sofia Burkina Faso: Ouagadougou Burundi: Bujumbura C Cambodia: Phnom Penh Cameroon: Yaoundé Canada: Ottawa Cape Verde: Praia Central African Republic: Bangui Chad: N’Djamena Chile: Santiago China: Beijing Colombia: Bogotá Côsta Rica: San José Côte d’Ivoire: Yamoussoukro Croatia: Zagreb Cuba: Havana Cyprus: Nicosia Czech Republic: Prague D Democratic Republic of the Congo: Kinshasa Denmark: Copenhagen Djibouti: Djibouti Dominica: Roseau Dominican Republic: Santo Domingo E Ecuador: Quito Egypt: Cairo El Salvador: San Salvador Equatorial Guinea: Malabo Eritrea: Asmara Estonia: Tallinn Ethiopia: Addis Ababa F Federated States of Micronesia: Palikir Fiji: Suva Finland: Helsinki France: Paris G Gabon: Libreville Gambia: Banjul Georgia: Tbilisi Germany: Berlin Ghana: Accra Greece: Athens Grenada: Saint George’s Guatemala: Guatemala City Guinea: Conakry Guinea-Bissau: Bissau Guyana: Georgetown H Haiti: Port-au-Prince Honduras: Tegucigalpa Hungary: Budapest I Iceland: Reykjavik India: New Delhi Indonesia: Jakarta Iran: Tehran Iraq: Baghdad Ireland: Dublin Israel: Jerusalem Italy: Rome J Jamaica: Kingston Japan: Tokyo Jordan: Amman K Kazakhstan: Astana Kenya: Nairobi Kiribati: South Tarawa Kuwait: Kuwait City Kyrgyzstan: Bishkek L Laos: Vientiane Latvia: Riga Lebanon: Beirut Lesotho: Maseru Liberia: Monrovia Libya: Tripoli Liechtenstein: Vaduz Lithuania: Vilnius Luxembourg: Luxembourg City M Macedonia: Skopje Madagascar: Antananarivo Malawi: Lilongwe Malaysia: Kuala Lumpur Maldives: Malé Mali: Bamako Malta: Valletta Marshall Islands: Majuro Mauritania: Nouakchott Mauritius: Port Louis Mexico: Mexico City Moldova: Chisinau Monaco: Monaco Mongolia: Ulaanbaatar Montenegro: Podgorica Morocco: Rabat Mozambique: Maputo Myanmar: Naypyidaw N Namibia: Windhoek Nauru: Yaren District Nepal: Kathmandu Netherlands: Amsterdam New Zealand: Wellington Nicaragua: Managua Niger: Niamey Nigeria: Abuja North Korea: Pyongyang Norway: Oslo O Oman: Muscat P Pakistan: Islamabad Palau: Ngerulmud Panama: Panama City Papua New Guinea: Port Moresby Paraguay: Asunción Peru: Lima Philippines: Manila Poland: Warsaw Portugal: Lisbon Q Qatar: Doha R Republic of the Congo: Brazzaville Romania: Bucharest Russia: Moscow Rwanda: Kigali S Saint Kitts and Nevis: Basseterre Saint Lucia: Castries Saint Vincent and the Grenadines: Kingstown Samoa: Apia San Marino: San Marino São Tomé and Principe: São Tomé Saudi Arabia: Riyadh Senegal: Dakar Serbia: Belgrade Seychelles: Victoria Sierra Leone: Freetown Singapore: Singapore Slovakia: Bratislava Slovenia: Ljubljana Solomon Islands: Honiara Somalia: Mogadishu South Africa: Bloemfontain, Cape Town and Pretoria South Korea: Seoul Spain: Madrid Sri Lanka: Colombo and Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte Sudan: Khartoum Suriname: Paramaribo Swaziland: Mbabane Sweden: Stockholm Switzerland: Bern Syria: Damascus T Taiwan: Taipei Tajikistan: Dushanbe Tanzania: Dar es Salaam and Dodoma Thailand: Bangkok Timor-Leste: Dili Togo: Lomé Tonga: Nuku’alofa Trinidad and Tobago: Port-of-Spain Tunisia: Tunis Turkey: Ankara Turkmenistan: Ashgabat Tuvalu: Funafuti U Uganda: Kampala Ukraine: Kiev United Arab Emirates: Abu Dhabi United Kingdom: London United States of America: Washington DC Uruguay: Montevideo Uzbekistan: Tashkent V Vanuatu: Port Vila Vatican City: Vatican City Venezuela: Caracas Vietnam: Hanoi Y Yemen: Sana’a Z Zambia: Lusaka Zimbabwe: Harare General knowledge questions (see answers) 1. Who was the legendary Benedictine monk who invented champagne? 2. Name the largest freshwater lake in the world? 3. Where would you find the Sea of Tranquility? 4. What is someone who shoes horses called? 5. What item of outer clothing was named after its Scottish inventor? 6. What type of weapon is a falchion? 7. Which word goes before vest, beans and quartet? 8. What is another word for lexicon? 9. Name the seventh planet from the sun. 10. Who invented the rabies vaccination? 11. Ringo Starr narrates which children’s TV series? 12. The hardest substance on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness is diamond. What’s the softest? 13. What martial arts name means ‘gentle way’? 14. What digit does not exist in Roman numerals? 15. Camellia sinensis is an evergreen shrub better known as what? 16. Where did George II die? 17. Humans are 10,000 times more sexually active than what other animal? 18. Which animal has the collective noun of smack? 19. Citius Altius Fortius is the motto for what? 20. What animal produces its own suntan lotion? Questions about countries (see answers) 1. Which is the only American state to begin with the letter ‘p’? 2. Name the world’s biggest island that’s not Australia. 3. What is the world’s longest river? 4. Name the world’s largest ocean. 5. What is the diameter of Earth? 6. Where would you find the world’s most ancient remnant forest? 7. Which four British cities have underground rail systems? 8. Name the famous Spanish capital of Catalonia? 9. Which city was once the imperial capital of Russia? 10. In which country is the port of Fray Bentos? 11. TAP is the national airline of which country? 12. In which country did the turnip originate? 13. Calico cloth was invented in which country? 14. Where was the first penal colony in Australia? 15. Speed skating started in which country? Questions about films (see answers) 1. Name the actor who starred in 142 films including The Quiet Man, The Searchers and Stage Coach. 2. What is the oldest film in existence, and when was it made? 3. Which actress has won the most Oscars? 4. Which actress said, ‘Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night’ in All about Eve? 5. Name the director of the Lord of the Rings trilogy. 6. Who played Neo in The Matrix? 7. Name the actress whose career began at the age of three, and who went on to star in films such as Taxi Driver, Contact and The Silence of the Lambs? 8. Bray Studios, near Windsor in Berkshire, was once a home to which famous brand of horror films? 9. In which film did Humphrey Bogart say, ‘We’ll always have Paris?’ 10. Who directed the film Picnic at Hanging Rock? 11. Which author wrote the screenplay to James Bond’s You Only Live Twice? 12. In which film adaptation of the novel does Jean Valjean appear? 13. James H. Pierce was the fourth and last silent film actor to play which famous character? 14. Which famous actor inspired the creation of Bugs Bunny? 15. What’s the name of the 2015 reboot of the Max Max films? Questions about the garden (see answers) 1. By what name is English landscape architect Lancelot Brown more usually known? 2. Name the world-famous gardens sited sixteen kilometres outside of London, close to the River Thames. 3. Which garden is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World? 4. What colour is a Welsh poppy? 5. What colour is a Himalayan poppy? 6. What flower is the symbol of culture? 7. What tree can be English, American or Eurasian? 8. Which common flower’s buds could also be used as capers? 9. Which kind of bulbs were once exchanged as a form of currency? 10. By which Latin name was Rosa gallica previously known? 11. ‘Moons of the faithful’ is the Chinese translation for which fruit? 12. What is the common name of Eucalyptus microtheca? 13. What plant has flowers but no leaves? 14. What vegetable gets its name from the word for milk? 15. Elizabeth I had anthophobia. What was she afraid of? Questions about sport (see answers) 1. What colour jersey is worn by the winners of each stage of the Tour de France? 2. Name the only heavyweight boxing champion to finish his career of forty-nine fights without ever having been defeated? 3. Which sport does Constantino Rocca play? 4. Name the country where you would find the Cresta Run. 5. How many times was the Men’s Tennis Singles at Wimbledon won by Bjorn Borg? 6. In 2011, which country hosted a Formula 1 race for the first time? 7. Name the game played on a lawn called a crown green. 8. Which chess piece can only move diagonally? 9. Name the only footballer to have played for Liverpool, Everton, Manchester City and Manchester United. 10. In soccer, whose nickname was ‘The Divine Ponytail’? 11. What tennis player’s name meant ‘tall trees by still water’? 12. What was Sir Don Bradman’s batting average? 13. Which golfer has the most PGA golf tour wins? 14. What is the record for the highest attendance at an AFL/ VFL match? 15. Which famous Hawaiian is commonly regarded as the father of modern surfing? 16. In which sport are left-handed people banned from playing? 17. What is Usain Bolt’s fastest time for the 100 metres? 18. Which team has the highest goal-scoring AFL/VFL game? 19. Who are Australia’s most successful female and male Olympic athletes? 20. How long is a marathon? Questions about the arts (see answers) 1. Name the three primary colours. 2. In needlework, what does UFO refer to? 3. Name the famous ballet Russian dancer who changed the face of modern ballet. 4. What is the painting La Gioconda more commonly known as? 5. What does the term ‘piano’ mean? 6. Name the Spanish artist and sculptor famous for co-founding the Cubist movement. 7. How many valves does a trumpet have? 8. Who painted How Sir Galahad, Sir Bors, and Sir Percival were fed with the Sang Grael; But Sir Percival’s Sister Died Along the Way? 9. If you were painting with tempera, what would you be using to bind together colour pigments? 10. What is John Leach famous for making? 11. Who said, ‘I like Beethoven, especially the poems’? 12. What arts movement was founded by Tristan Tzara? 13. Who was the first Australian to win a Grammy Award for Best Classical Vocal Solo? 14. John Cocteau was best known for writing which novel? 15. How big is Guernica? Questions about history (see answers) 1. When was William Shakespeare born? 2. Who was Henry VIII’s first wife? 3. On what date did Germany invade Poland? 4. Which famous battle between the British Royal Navy and the combined fleets of the French and Spanish took place on 21 October 1805? 5. What year was the United Nations founded? 6. What year did Margaret Thatcher become prime minister of the United Kingdom? 7. When did the Berlin Wall come down? 8. Who is regarded as the founder of Medicare and what year was it introduced? 9. When did the Eurostar train service between Britain and France start running? 10. When was the euro introduced as legal currency on the world market? 11. How many prime ministers has Australia had? 12. In what year was the Magna Carta signed? 13. On what date did the Commonwealth of Australian become established? 14. What was the spacecraft’s name for the first manned Moon landing? 15. Australian bushranger Ned Kelly was of which national descent? 16. Who invented the first polio vaccine? 17. In which year was Nelson Mandela released from prison? 18. What date is France’s Bastille Day? 19. Which planet was discovered by William Herschel in 1781? 20. How many US presidents have been assassinated and when? Questions about books (see answers) 1. What is the oldest surviving printed book? 2. In publishing, what does POD mean? 3. Who were Agatha Christie’s two most famous sleuths? 4. Which Shakespeare play features Shylock? 5. Who wrote the novel Death in Venice? 6. Who wrote Where the Wild Things Are? 7. What is an e-book? 8. How tall would a double elephant folio book be? 9. Whose autobiography is My Place? 10. How old is the world’s oldest dictionary? 11. Who chronicled the adventures of a famous fivesome? 12. Which travel writer comes from Des Moines, Iowa? 13. Which author had the middle names Ronald Reuel? 14. Which famous writer said, ‘There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed’? 15. Who is the Head of Hogwarts? 16. Which Nobel Prize–winning author wrote the book Dr Zhivago? 17. What is the second book of the Old Testament? 18. What was Dick Francis’s profession before he took up writing? 19. Who created the Mary Poppins books? 20. What is the name of Charles Dickens’s last book, left unfinished? Questions about TV (see answers) 1. In Thunderbirds, what was Lady Penelope’s chauffeur called? 2. What was Skippy? 3. Name the BBC series about a shipping line set in Liverpool during the late 1800s. 4. In the TV series Dad’s Army, what was Captain Mainwaring’s first name? 5. Who was the original inventor of TV? 6. Phyllis Nan Sortain Pechey was as famous for her flamboyant character as for her cookery books and TV show from the late 1960s to the mid 1970s. By what name was she more usually known? 7. Which popular BBC series about old collectibles began in 1977, presented by Bruce Parker and Arthur Negus, and is still running to this day? 8. Which BBC music program was broadcast weekly between 1964 and 2006? 9. What was Barney and Betty’s son’s name in The Flintstones? 10. Which Australian actor was memorably killed off in season 4 of Game of Thrones? 11. In what year were the first Logie Awards presented? 12. Which British actor was the star of the HBO series Deadwood? 13. The car in the Knight Rider series was called KITT. What does this acronym stand for? 14. In what year did Neighbours start screening in Australia? 15. What’s the name of the cult Australian TV series featuring a dog that went on to be remade in the US? Questions about food and drink (see answers) 1. If you had Lafite-Rothschild on your dinner table, what would it be? 2. What is sushi traditionally wrapped in? 3. May Queen, Wisley Crab, Foxwhelps and Lane’s Prince Albert are all species of what? 4. What is another name for allspice? 5. What colour is absinthe? 6. What flavour is Cointreau? 7. If you were to cut a hare into pieces, marinate it in wine and juniper berries then stew this slowly in a sealed dish, what would this recipe be called? 8. True or false? Fried tarantulas, eggs boiled just before they’re due to hatch and puffin hearts eaten raw when still warm are all traditional foods. 9. How many crocus flowers does it take to make 500 grams of saffron? 10. What food is found by sniffing pigs or dogs? 11. There are more than 1500 varieties of what food? 12. In ancient Egypt what food was reserved for the Pharaohs? 13. What type of fish is used in making Worcestershire sauce? 14. Which dessert is also known as ‘Tuscan trifle’? 15. Cavendish, orinoco and lady finger are all varieties of which fruit? 16. What is ceviche? 17. What is a coulis? 18. What is the national dish of Scotland? 19. In Bavaria what is defined as a staple food? 20. Lycopersicum esculentum is what common food? General knowledge answers 1. Dom Perignon; 2. Lake Superior; 3. the Moon; 4. farrier, also blacksmith; 5. mackintosh; 6. sword; 7. string; 8. dictionary; 9. Uranus; 10. Louis Pasteur; 11. Thomas the Tank Engine; 12. talc; 13. judo; 14. zero; 15. tea; 16. on the toilet; 17. rabbit; 18. jellyfish; 19. the Olympics; 20. hippopotamus. Country answers 1. Pennsylvania; 2. Greenland; 3. the Amazon; 4. the Pacific; 5. 12,750 kilometres (7922 miles); 6. the Daintree in Far North Queensland; 7. Liverpool, Glasgow, Newcastle and London; 8. Barcelona; 9. St Petersburg; 10. Uruguay; 11. Portugal; 12. Greece; 13. India; 14. Sydney Cove; 15. Netherlands. Film answers 1. John Wayne; 2. Roundhay Garden Scene, made in 1888; 3. Katharine Hepburn: four Oscars and twelve nominations; 4. Bette Davis (as Margo Channing); 5. Peter Jackson; 6. Keanu Reeves; 7. Jodie Foster; 8. Hammer Horror; 9. Casablanca; 10. Peter Weir; 11. Roald Dahl; 12. Les Misérables; 13. Tarzan; 14. Clark Gable; 15. Fury Road. Garden answers 1. Capability Brown; 2. Kew Gardens; 3. the Hanging Gardens of Babylon; 4. yellow; 5. blue; 6. lotus; 7. elm; 8. nasturtium; 9. tulips; 10. Rosa mundi; 11. apricot; 12. coolibah tree; 13. cactus; 14. lettuce, old French/Latin; 15. flowers, specifically roses. Sport answers 1. yellow; 2. Rocky Marciano; 3. golf; 4. Switzerland; 5. five; 6. India; 7. lawn bowls; 8. bishop; 9. Peter Beardsley; 10. Robert Baggio; 11. Evonne Goolagong; 12. 99.94; 13. Sam Snead, eighty-two wins; 14. 121,696, Carlton v Collingwood VFL grand final 1970; 15. Duke Kahanamoku; 16. polo; 17. 9.58 seconds; 18. 37 goals, Geelong def. Melbourne, round 19,2011; 10. Dawn Fraser and Ian Thorpe; 20. 42.2 kilometres (26.2 miles). Arts answers 1. red, yellow and blue; 2. an unfinished object; 3. Rudolf Nureyev; 4. Mona Lisa; 5. to be played softly; 6. Pablo Picasso; 7. three; 8. Dante Gabriel Rossetti; 9. egg yolk; 10. pottery; 11. Ringo Starr; 12. Dadaism; 13. Dame Joan Sutherland in 1962; 14. Les Enfants Terribles; 15. 3.5 × 7.8 metres. History answers 1. 23 April 1564; 2. Catherine of Aragon; 3.1 September 1939; 4. The Battle of Trafalgar; 5. 1945; 6. 1979; 7. 9 November 1989; 8. Gough Whitlam, 1984; 9. 14 November 1994; 10. 1 January 1999; 11. Twenty-eight; 12. 1215; 13. 1 January 1901; 14. Apollo 11; 15. Irish; 16. Jonas Salk, 1952; 17. 1990; 18. 14 July; 19. Uranus; 20. Four: Abraham Lincoln, 1865; James A. Garfield, 1881; William McKinley, 1901; John F. Kennedy, 1963. 167 Book answers 1. Diamond Sutra, dated to AD 868; 2. print on demand; 3. Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple; 4. The Merchant of Venice; 5. Thomas Mann; 6. Maurice Sendak; 7. A book available in a digital (electronic) format; 8. 50 inches (127 centimetres); 9. Sally Morgan; 10. cuneiform tablets dated to 2300 BC; 11. Enid Blyton; 12. Bill Bryson; 13. J. R. R. Tolkien; 14. Ernest Hemingway; 15. Dumbledore; 16. Boris Pasternak; 17. Exodus; 18. jockey; 19. P. L. Travers; 20. The Mystery of Edwin Drood. TV answers 1. Parker; 2. 1960s TV series starring Skippy the kangaroo; 3. The Onedin Line; 4. George; 5. Bostonian George Carey in 1876; Scotsman John Logie Baird is often cited but his ideas weren’t until the 1920s; 6. Fanny Cradock; 7. Antiques Roadshow; 8. Top of the Pops; 9. Bam Bam; 10. Noah Taylor; 11. 1959; 12. Ian McShane; 13. Knight Industries Two Thousand; 14. 1985; 15. Wilfred. Food and drink answers 1. wine; 2. nori—seaweed; 3. apple; 4. pimento; 5. green; 6. orange; 7. jugged hare; 8. true; 9. up to 75,000; 10. truffles; 11. rice; 12. mushrooms; 13. anchovies; 14. tiramisu; 15. banana; 16. South American dish of marinated raw fish or seafood; 17. fruit or vegetable purée, used as a sauce; 18. haggis; 19. beer; 20. tomato. Quotes 1. ‘The roots of education are bitter, but the fruit is sweet.’ Aristotle 2. ‘Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.’ Napoleon Hill 3. ‘Strive not to be a success, but rather to be of value.’ Albert Einstein 4. ‘Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less travelled by, And that has made all the difference.’ Robert Frost 5. ‘I attribute my success to this: I never gave or took any excuse.’ Florence Nightingale 6. ‘What you seek is seeking you.’ Rumi 7. ‘I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’ Michael Jordan 8. ‘The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.’ Amelia Earhart 9. ‘Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.’ W. Clement Stone 10. ‘Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live’. Jim Rohn 11. ‘Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.’ John Lennon 12. ‘The mind is everything. What you think you become.’ Buddha 13. ‘Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbour, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.’ Mark Twain 14. ‘The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.’ Alice Walker 15. ‘The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second best time is now.’ Chinese proverb 16. ‘An unexamined life is not worth living.’ Socrates 17. ‘Eighty per cent of success is showing up.’ Woody Allen 18. ‘Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.’ Pablo Picasso 19. ‘Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.’ Steve Jobs 20. ‘I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.’ Maya Angelou 21. ‘You can never cross the ocean until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ Christopher Columbus 22. ‘Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.’ Henry Ford 23. ‘Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.’ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 24. ‘The best revenge is massive success.’ Frank Sinatra 25. ‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.’ Anaïs Nin Sports statistics The Ashes [image: image] [image: image] [image: image] Source: http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/records/team/series_results.html?id=1;type=trophy. AFL Round 23, 2014 [image: image] [image: image] Narrative illustration Rather than always using mind maps, try and draw some pictures freehand to visually narrate the following article. Skilled incompetence Chris Argyris ‘Managers who are skilled communicators may also be good at covering up real problems.’ The ability to get along with others is always an asset, right? Wrong. By adeptly avoiding conflict with co-workers, some executives eventually wreak organisational havoc. And it’s their very adeptness that’s the problem. The explanation for this lies in what I call skilled incompetence, whereby managers use practised routine behaviour (skill) to produce what they do not intend (incompetence). We can see this happen when managers talk to each other in ways that are seemingly candid and straightforward. What we don’t see so clearly is how managers’ skills can become institutionalised and generate disastrous results for their organisations. Consider this familiar situation: The entrepreneur-cEO of a fast-growing medium-sized company brought together his bright, dedicated, hardworking top managers to devise a new strategic plan. The company had grown at about 45 per cent per year, but fearing that it was heading into deep administrative trouble, the cEO had started to rethink his strategy. He wanted to restructure his organisation along more rational, less ad hoc, lines. As he saw it, the company was split between the sales-oriented people who sell off-the-shelf products and the people producing custom services, who are focused towards professionals. And each group was suspicious of the other. He wanted both groups to decide what kind of company it was going to run. His immediate subordinates agreed that they must develop a vision and make some strategic decisions. They held several long meetings to do this. Although the meetings were pleasant enough and no one seemed to be making life difficult for anyone else, they concluded with no agreements or decisions. ‘We end up compiling lists of issues but not deciding,’ said one vice president. Another added, ‘And it gets pretty discouraging when this happens every time we meet.’ A third worried aloud, ‘If you think we are discouraged, how do you think the people below us feel who watch us repeatedly fail?’ This is a group of executives who are at the top, who respect each other, who are highly committed, and who agree that developing a vision and strategy is critical. Yet whenever they meet they fail to create the vision and the strategy they desire. What is going on here? Are the managers really so incompetent? If so, why? 392 words Guitar scales tablature Practise some scales on the guitar. [image: image] [image: image] Learn to play a song on guitar using tablature This is the introduction to Metallica’s song ‘Nothing Else Matters’. [image: image] [image: image] Memorise guitar chords Although we didn’t learn chords earlier, try and memorise the placement of fingers on the strings here to ramp things up a bit. [image: image] Passwords and numbers Memorise these passwords: 9KSYz6sT ZB9FJrec HNNfRrx9 n8c4MSSP agqDxace dMLxyPvq JtbKBjkY WVGuU76A cGVFfMru eGWEGxDu daLqTrvx fHNpZqg8 uwjapjuK WtKP8umq vdXEsTNG q9c5ygWm cDqw84j8 TLeqUhcw eKxpfWDS fPp2dZVr 2PdTVMtB ectRn8YY DdLPeuh2 VHHqUWfz Memorise these PINs 7 5 0 4 3 0 9 9 4 0 4 3 8 6 0 9 7 3 9 3 0 7 4 7 5 1 6 2 0 5 7 8 2 2 7 2 3 4 1 9 5 5 5 8 2 8 0 2 Memorise these credit card details: 06871698916988 Expiry date: 7/20 code: 117 PIN: 0442 4913732066730948 Expiry date: 12/19 code: 481 PIN: 9814 6319340759660136 Expiry date: 1/17 code: 973 PIN: 6412 6519494067666435 Expiry date: 4/16 code: 860 PIN: 8876 9916793426815443 Expiry date: 1/11 code: 211 PIN: 4287 1705946746384619 Expiry date: 9/16 code: 307 PIN: 5455 0988320270915367 Expiry date: 4/23 code: 105 PIN: 6297 4555885617170456 Expiry date: 11/14 code: 200 PIN: 3987 Memorise these telephone numbers: Shane charles Ph: 0421 766 760 Plumbing corporation Ph: (02) 9878 1123 AcE Window cleaners Ph: (03) 7781 1936 Vijay Varma Ph: 0488 910 238 Sandy Beach Ph: (07) 8662 5627 Bobby Becker Ph: 0444 980 016 Hairdresser Ph: (03) 9891 1652 Liu Xiu Lang Ph: 0467 877 563 Challenges Now that your memory toolbox of techniques is in good shape, here are a list of challenges for you to consider: • Mind map a recent issue of a magazine such as Australian Women’s Weekly, Zoo, Men’s Health or Frankie. • Memorise twenty decks of playing cards. • Meet twenty people and remember their names. • Read a 300-page book in three hours. • Memorise fifty telephone numbers from your contact list. • Memorise and present a twenty-minute speech without any notes. • Planning a trip? Learn 1500 phrases from a language of your choice. • Memorise the winners of the Melbourne Cup. • Teach yourself to learn another instrument—ukulele or a wind instrument?—in less than forty-eight hours using memory and learning principles from this book. • Join me as a mental athlete in the World Memory Championships. [image: image] • Make sure you understand the key memory concepts and techniques before attempting the exercises. • complete these exercises with a friend to make it more fun. • Try thinking of other applications for memory now that you’re familiar with the techniques. • Have a go and don’t give up too easily. What may seem difficult may in fact not be once you get started. USING THESE TECHNIQUES ‘Time moves in one direction, memory in another.’—William Gibson DID YOU KNOW In 2015, the fourth most powerful supercomputer in the world took forty minutes to simulate just one second of human brain activity. CHAPTER 8 SPEAKING TO AN AUDIENCE ‘Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language.‘—Walt Disney Making information memorable for others is what communication is all about, and it’s the fourth and final step of the Yellow Elephant Memory Model. What is memorable for ourselves, however, may not work for others. Everyone learns differently and information can be perceived in many ways so it’s important to think not only about the information you’re providing but also how you’ll communicate that to an audience. Making speeches memorable Many people in the world fear public speaking, and for many different reasons. Memory techniques allow you to be confident that your information is safely stored in your head and accessible, which helps you present with conviction and hopefully settles nerves. Here are some quick tips to help you present that material with confidence. Know your audience This allows you to really tailor your message. Always ask ahead for as many details as you can, such as the number of people expected, their age demographic, the types of jobs they have and, if possible, what they hope to get from the presentation. Know your key message In one sentence determine what it is that you’re trying to say to your audience. If you struggle to do this, then you need to simplify your message. Plan Write down all the things you will talk about and create a mind map to quickly identify the main subject areas so you can then develop your content. Time Once you have mapped out your talk, work out how long the sections will take. With practice these estimates become fairly accurate. Prepare If you have time, practise your presentation in front of a mirror, video recorder or family and friends. This will help you evaluate your vocal projection and diction, and show if your body language needs some work and if you’re rushing things or are too slow. Deliver If you’ve done all your preparation this should be easy. Of course nerves, technical problems, hecklers, roadworks outside and other disruptions could still occur so your best defence is to know your message really well. Memorise your key words, themes and approach. This is better than memorising your entire talk word for word because you can present it naturally in different ways. People don’t want to see a robot talking, they want to see a human speaking. It is far more engaging and builds trust. Get feedback Comments—whether they are great, constructive or negative—provide opportunities for you to improve in areas that you might not even have been aware of such as mumbling or needing to ask more questions from the audience. No feedback means you only take away what you have experienced. Reflect and improve Not many presenters reflect on their speech once it’s over. But taking the time to review your speech provides you with ways to improve it so next time it’s even better. Death by PowerPoint Think of presentations where the screen is filled with text and the presenter drones on, reading out every single word, neglecting to add any images to break up the words and create some variety. How dull! These types of talks are trapped in the first step of the Yellow Elephant Memory Model: without images the presentation cannot move to the second step. The excerpt below is from The Elements of Style by Strunk and White. IV. A FEW MATTERS OF FORM Headings. Leave a blank line, or its equivalent in space, after the title or heading of a manuscript. On succeeding pages, if using ruled paper, begin on the first line. Numerals. Do not spell out dates or other serial numbers. Write them in figures or in Roman notation, as may be appropriate. August 9, 1918 (9 August 1918) Rule 3 chapter XII 352nd Infantry Parentheses. A sentence containing an expression in parenthesis is punctuated, outside of the marks of parenthesis, exactly as if the expression in parenthesis were absent. The expression within is punctuated as if it stood by itself, except that the final stop is omitted unless it is a question mark or an exclamation point. I went to his house yesterday (my third attempt to see him), but he had left town. He declares (and why should we doubt his good faith?) that he is now certain of success. (When a wholly detached expression or sentence is parenthesized, the final stop comes before the last mark of parenthesis.) Quotations. Formal quotations, cited as documentary evidence, are introduced by a colon and enclosed in quotation marks. The provision of the constitution is: “No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any state.” Quotations grammatically in apposition or the direct objects of verbs are preceded by a comma and enclosed in quotation marks. I recall the maxim of La Rochefoucauld, “Gratitude is a lively sense of benefits to come.” Aristotle says, “Art is an imitation of nature.” Quotations of an entire line, or more, of verse, are begun on a fresh line and centered, but need not be enclosed in quotation marks. Wordsworth’s enthusiasm for the Revolution was at first unbounded: Bliss was it in that dawn to be alive, But to be young was very heaven! Quotations introduced by that are regarded as in indirect discourse and not enclosed in quotation marks. Keats declares that beauty is truth, truth beauty. Proverbial expressions and familiar phrases of literary origin require no quotation marks. These are the times that try men’s souls. He lives far from the madding crowd. The same is true of colloquialisms and slang. References. In scholarly work requiring exact references, abbreviate titles that occur frequently, giving the full forms in an alphabetical list at the end. As a general practice, give the references in parenthesis or in footnotes, not in the body of the sentence. Omit the words act, scene, line, book, volume, page, except when referring by only one of them. Punctuate as indicated below. In the second scene of the third act In III.ii (still better, simply insert III.ii in parenthesis at the proper place in the sentence) After the killing of Polonius, Hamlet is placed under guard (IV.ii. 14). 2 Samuel i:17–27 Othello II.iii. 264–267, III.iii. 155–161. Syllabication. If there is room at the end of a line for one or more syllables of a word, but not for the whole word, divide the word, unless this involves cutting off only a single letter, or cutting off only two letters of a long word. No hard and fast rule for all words can be laid down. The principles most frequently applicable are: (a) Divide the word according to its formation: know-ledge (not knowl-edge); Shake-speare (not Shakespeare); de-scribe (not des-cribe); atmo-sphere (not atmos-phere); (b) Divide “on the vowel:” edi-ble (not ed-ible); propo-sition; ordi-nary; espe-cial; religious; oppo-nents; regu-lar; classi-fi-ca-tion (three divisions allowable); deco-rative; presi-dent; (c) Divide between double letters, unless they come at the end of the simple form of the word: Apen-nines; cincin-nati; refer-ring; but tell-ing. (d) Do not divide before final –ed if the e is silent: treat-ed (but not roam-ed or nam-ed). The treatment of consonants in combination is best shown from examples: for-tune; pic-ture; sin-gle; presump-tuous; illus-tration; substan-tial (either division); indus-try; instruc-tion; sug-ges-tion; incen-diary. The student will do well to examine the syllable-division in a number of pages of any carefully printed book. Titles. For the titles of literary works, scholarly usage prefers italics with capitalised initials. The usage of editors and publishers varies, some using italics with capitalised initials, others using Roman with capitalised initials and with or without quotation marks. Use italics (indicated in manuscript by underscoring), except in writing for a periodical that follows a different practice. Omit initial A or The from titles when you place the possessive before them. The Iliad; The Odyssey; As You Like It; To a Skylark; The Newcomes; ATale ofTwo Cities; Dickens’s Tale ofTwo Cities. Now compare the text against a mind map version of the same content. [image: image] [image: image] The use of narrative illustration Just as mind maps can be used to summarise large volumes of information in an organised way, so too can illustrations. These techniques mirror the Yellow Elephant Memory Model because the abstract spoken word is transformed into images, which then tell a story. This is what you often find in comics and graphic novels but they’re increasingly being used to help presentations. Check out a few of the sites listed in the Sources page (p. 184) at the back of this book. [image: image] • Know your key message when presenting. • Rehearse your presentation. • Use imagery, stories and key words as triggers for your talk. • Double-check content before you speak or press send. Will the audience or reader easily understand it? • Use mind maps or illustrations to help encode big blocks of data. [image: image] CHAPTER 6 EVERYDAY MEMORY ‘You never realise what a good memory you have until you try to forget something.’—Franklin P. Jones According to a March 2015 Australian Bureau of Statistics media release, dementia (including Alzheimer’s) is now the nation’s second-biggest cause of death after heart disease. It is predicted that by 2050 nearly one million Australians will suffer from some sort of dementia, an alarming statistic particularly as there is no known cure for the disease at this time. It’s little wonder then that people are becoming more and more conscious of brain health and are increasingly keen to exercise it every day. We may not need to be memory champions, memorise books, learn languages in a month or perform amazing memory feats, yet there are so many everyday things we do that are made so much easier by having a better memory. Where did I leave my keys? A common problem around the world is remembering where we left our keys. It’s astonishing that this is such a common thing to forget and we’ve all done it at least once, but if you keep doing it maybe it’s time to fix the problem. Try the following steps to help you always remember where you put your keys. 1. Visualise Create a vivid image of where you put the keys to help with recall. Since this happens in our heads, we can exaggerate to make that visualisation really stand out. As you put your keys on the table imagine that the keys grow in size and get bigger and bigger! • Picture your keys getting bigger and bigger. • Listen to the sound they make as they grow. 2. Associate Linking our item to be remembered with another item allows us to recall better. Once again, since it is happening in our minds, we can be creative and make that association stand out. As the keys grow to an extraordinary size the table breaks in half, unable to carry the weight of the keys. • Picture the table breaking in half. • Imagine the keys becoming heavy enough to break the table. • Listen to the sound of the table breaking. 3. Recall Recall can be either conscious or accidental. Conscious: You remember the association with ‘keys breaking the table’. Ah, table! Accidental: You walk around your house looking for the keys and pass the table. You stop and ask yourself, ‘Why did the table break? Oh, the keys broke it.’ Voila!—You find the keys. How to remember you’ve got everything before leaving the house As you’re about to head out the front door, visualise and associate all that you need to take with you. If you need to take your keys, phone, phone charger, bag and important contract documents for signing, individually link each item to the door. You need to visualise each story as you are about to head out the door. 1. As you are about to exit the front door a huge metallic key whacks you in the face. 2. Your phone is now the size of the door and as it rings it causes the front door to vibrate. 3. The phone charger is blocking your exit as you try to leave. 4. You trip backwards over your bag as you try and head out of the door. 5. The front door is made of very thin paper and it needs to be signed, reminding you of the contract. The front door is only a trigger point to help you remember before you leave the house. Other trigger points might include when you get into your car, or as you put on your shoes. Remembering where you parked your car We’ve all forgotten at least once where we’ve parked, but walking around and around busy multi-storey carparks can be frustrating and embarrassing. If you know how to memorise numbers you can memorise the level number if there is one. If there isn’t then find something in your surroundings as a visual connection. Perhaps you parked outside and there are trees about 100 metres away roughly at a one o’clock direction. You can make a story of how trees crashed onto your car at 1 pm. The trick is to find something unique and associate it with your car—but do not involve any other car as it may not be there when you get back! Remembering shopping lists The simplest way to remember shopping lists is to use the memory techniques of linking and association. To remember the list below we need to create an imaginative story connecting one item to the other. 1. soft drink 2. flour 3. beetroot 4. Vegemite 5. toilet paper 6. pineapple 7. cat food 8. dishwashing liquid 9. fly spray 10. chocolate You walk into the supermarket and you are sprayed with soft drink by the staff. Just as you wipe yourself off, someone from the checkout accidently spills flour over you. Everyone is watching and you’re embarrassed and turn red like a beetroot. Of course you know the best cure for embarrassment—a spoonful of Vegemite right down the hatch. But the Vegemite must have been way out of date. Your tummy starts grumbling and you run as fast as you can and dive into boxes of toilet paper. As you come up for air you feel a large pineapple ring around your neck. You take a bite and realise it’s actually cat food you’re eating. Now you feel sick again and need to wash your mouth out. You grab the dishwashing liquid and give your mouth a good clean. Your mouth is frothing and bubbles are going everywhere so you grab fly spray off the shelf to spray the bubbles away. It works and you celebrate by treating yourself to your favourite chocolate. If you need to memorise more than twenty items it’s best to use the Method of Loci as your story will get very long and one weak link in the story chain means you could forget everything after the last item you remembered. If, however, you memorise a lot of items and prefer to use linking and association methods, make sure your story is highly visual, imaginative and links physically to the next item. Remembering names A good way to remember names is to visualise the person first. What’s memorable about their appearance? Do they have a big nose? Long hair? Piercings? Exaggerate some feature even if they look remarkably normal otherwise. By doing this we create a strong holding spot for our information to be memorised—in this case the person’s name. [image: image] This is Bruce. To make him memorable I picture him with a bald head, wearing colourful running shoes, pants and a footy t-shirt. Now that we have a memorable visual of the man, we need to create a separate visual for the name ‘Bruce’. The first thing that comes to my mind is Bruce Lee, the martial arts movie star. I could also use another Bruce, I know, but Bruce Lee makes a more interesting story involving punches, spinning roundhouse kicks and cries of ‘Hayaaaa!’ Now for the fun part—creating the story. Visualise the person with colourful running shoes, footy t-shirt and bald head being attacked by Bruce Lee himself yelling ‘Hayaaaa!’ All that is left to do is to recall the name. Go back to the person you initially created an image for and think about what happened to them. In this example it was being attacked by Bruce Lee. As soon as you recall Bruce Lee it will trigger the name Bruce. These techniques are also helpful in remembering appointments, your kids’ schedules and running errands such as picking up the dry cleaning or dropping off shoes to be repaired. Everyday technology Technology is great when it helps us live more productive, better lives, but it can also cause headaches. What we presume is making us more advanced could in fact be dragging us behind. Here are some ways to help deal with annoying everyday technology problems that help exercise our minds at the same time. Passwords We have so many logins these days it’s difficult to remember them all, but we do know that using the same password repeatedly is neither secure nor smart. Even so, many websites demand a minimum of eight alphanumeric characters, including capital letters, and some workplaces insist you change your login each month! Memory techniques take the guesswork out of remembering multiple passwords. What needs to be memorised: • the password itself • username • the website or service you are logging into. These three items need images that are interconnected. It’s no use trying just to remember a password because you may not remember what to use the password for. Let’s say I want to remember an email account login and have these details: Username: firstname.lastname@example.org Password: sMfxFgjq Website: Yahoo mail Damo and Craig are my cats’ names so I visualise them and connect them both to Yahoo via association. I visualise my cats in the morning after they’ve been fed with their victory cry, ‘Yahooooo! We have eaten.’ (Believe me, if they could speak that’s exactly what they’d say.) Next is the password, a jumble of letters in upper and lower case, currently abstract with no meaning to anyone. Using the Yellow Elephant Memory Model we can turn the abstract into images through storytelling: A small snail (s) goes up a large mountain (M) and as he goes up hears some very strange faint sound effects (fx) coming from a huge fireplace (F) where someone has thrown tiny goji (gj) berries. As soon as the snail picks up the berries the queen (q), who happens to be three metres tall, walks in. Notice how I visualised small and faint images for lowercase letters and large, bold things for upper-case? Remember this trick. Also, be sure you use SMASHIN SCOPE to make your visualisation stand out. All that is left to do is to connect Damo and Craig with the snail story and we have memorised our Yahoo email password. When recalling this information, the first thing we see is the site or service to enter our details so we begin our story from that point: Damo and craig cry ‘Yahoooo!’ after breakfast when suddenly they realise they have eaten snails. One of the smaller snails escapes the food bowl and climbs up a large mountain (M) and hears some very strange faint sound effects (fx) coming from a huge fireplace (F) where someone has thrown tiny goji (gj) berries. As soon as the snail picks up the berries the queen (q), who happens to be three metres tall, walks in. It may seem like a lot of mental work just to remember one password. But you should only need to do it once. Once you’ve reviewed your story a few times you should be set and locked in the password. Here are some passwords to memorise. K4nmqq5q wBsUtpsr j242PEPX qybZJTnB UcbXvfqD Once you’ve got the hang of making up stories, converting from abstract to image, see if you can use something similar for your own passwords. You can generate random passwords by visiting http://www.random.org/passwords. You can create passwords this way, or you could play with a mixture of letters, words and numbers that make sense to you. You can even join two different passwords together in upper and lower case. Just make sure you don’t use any of these, which are the twenty-five worst passwords: 123456; password; 12345; 12345678; qwerty; 1234567890; 1234; baseball; dragon; football; 1234567; monkey; letmein; abc123; 111111; mustang; access; shadow; master; michael; superman; 696969; 123123; batman; trustno1. PINs Since 2014 Australian credit cards no longer accept signatures for purchases and now require a PIN, which can be four or six digits long. The key elements to memorise here are: • the service you are using for your PIN • the PIN itself. Say, for example, I want to remember my PIN for general ATM use. Bank card: ANZ Bank PIN: 677501 Create a visual for the ANZ Bank and the number 677501 using the Major system or Dominic system to encode the numbers into images. The Australian and New Zealand cricket teams both greet you as you walk towards the ANZ ATM. You’re about to put your card into the machine and the Australian team gives you a piece of chocolate (67) while the New Zealand team takes your chocolate and glues (75) it to the ATM. As soon as it’s glued, both the teams tell you to sit (01). Credit card numbers Credit cards require more than just memorising numbers and the key elements to memorise are: • the type of card • the card number • expiry date • security code • PIN The type of card: VISA The card number: 7833 2690 6563 1980 4323 Expiry date: 03/2019 Security code: 671 PIN: 1134 Create a visual for VISA, the card number, expiry date, security code and pin. You arrive in a foreign country and unfortunately you do not have a VISA. You start coughing (78) to the mummy (33) next to you and receive a nudge (26) from the boss (90). You turn around to find that they have packed your luggage into a large shell (65) but they forgot the jam (63). You get annoyed so you gently tap (19) the face (80) of the ram (43) that was sitting quietly next to the garden gnome (23). The officer comes along and asks you when your card expires and you tell them your sumo (03) wrestler’s nose (20) is dripping like a tap (19). The officer gets confused then asks for your code. You tell him it’s in your jacket (671). He reaches into your jacket and finds a piece of paper with a PIN, and the following words written on it: ‘Teddy (11) is being held hostage by Mary (34)’. Telephone numbers Key elements to memorise: • the person/business/place to remember • the phone number Let’s say you want to remember your friend Bob’s number. Bob Norman Ph: 0491779841 Create a visual for Bob Norman and the number 0491779841 using the Major system or Dominic system to encode the numbers into images. A person is constantly bobbing up and down (Bob) in a Harvey Norman (Norman) shopping store among the electrical goods. Bob suddenly gets a baseball bat (91) and takes a swing at you, but he misses and whacks a cake (77) instead. You go to take a bite of it but it’s made of beef (98) and there are rats (41) running out of it. You can, of course, use the Method of Loci for storing longer numbers if you like. It’s up to you how you memorise them, but as long as you create the story by encoding it will work. Stress management Stress can take away our ability to progress in life and keep us stuck in a hole that we feel we cannot escape from. Using visualisation, and especially through using SMASHIN SCOPE, we can create relaxing stories that make us breathe a whole lot better. Imagine yourself on a beautiful island, the sun is up and the temperature is perfect. You get up from lying down on the soft sandy beach and make your way into the crystal clear water. You dip your right foot into the water and it gives you a tiny chill sensation, which rushes from your feet all the way to your brain. You slowly walk through the water, feeling how soft the sand is on the soles of your feet as the water moves between your toes. You can either read the above paragraph, or feel it in your mind as an experience. Go back and reread it and this time visualise and feel what’s happening. Hear the sounds around you, feel the warmth and the chill, let your mind wander. Was it different the second time? Did you feel you were there? Being in the moment is a powerful strategy when dealing with stress. Using visualisation techniques like this help you take a break from the real world and go to a place that soothes the mind. Continue the story and make it longer, or think of another relaxing story. Will it involve nature, your family, success? Whatever it is use SMASHIN SCOPE to bring your story to life. Close your eyes for even greater effect. [image: image] • The three-step process of remembering keys will also help you recall other daily things like taking the bins out, or whether you’ve fed the animals. • Use the number systems for all number-based items or dates including phone numbers, PINs, credit cards—wedding anniversaries work well here too! • Use your SMASHIN ScOPE skills to create amazing visual stories for stress relief. CHAPTER 11 KNOWING MORE ABOUT…EVERYTHING ‘Without knowledge action is useless, and knowledge without action is futile.‘—Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra) Today we are bombarded by information, meaning we have more to read, more to analyse, more to think about and more to discuss. To stop us feeling overwhelmed by this aspect of modern living we need to organise our information better so we can access it faster and more precisely. With traditional methods of rote learning, acquiring knowledge takes time. In using a systemised approach we can reduce that time and increase our retention of facts and data. Questions to ask include: • What knowledge are we trying to acquire? • How many pieces of information are we trying to remember? • Which technique is the best for the job? How to memorise countries and their capital cities The quickest and most effective way to do this is to use a straight linking and association method. Country Capital Association Morocco Rabat You eat a lovely rabbit stew in Morocco. Gabon Libreville There is a city that’s a library where you are told to shut your gab and keep quiet. Comoros Moroni You comb a rose and it transforms into a maroon colour. Latvia Riga You work out your lat muscles rigorously in Latvia. Ecuador Quito You will never quit until you reach the equator. Dominica Roseau Dominic O’Brien smells a rose in Australia. Oman Muscat Kevin Muscat says ‘Oh man!’ after losing a game to Sydney. Switzerland Bern Roger Federer burns up the tennis court. Malaysia Kuala Lumpur Koalas come from Malaysia. Vietnam Hanoi You are annoyed when your bike gets stolen in Vietnam. Some countries are easy to remember while others are more difficult because of the abstract wording of country or city. Use SMASHIN SCOPE to help make memorable stories. I may decide, for example, it’s stronger for recall if I memorise Libreville, Gabon, by imagining my friend Gabriel standing on a library shelf. How to learn quiz questions and answers To remember quiz questions and their answers: • break up key words into images • link each image • review the associative story Example: Q. What term describes an adult male swan? A. Cob. The words to associate and connect are: male swan and cob. The male swan always eats corn on the cob. Let’s try another. Q. What is the largest bone in the human body? A. Femur. The words to associate and connect are: largest bone, human body, femur. Picture holding a bone as large as a human. It’s so large and heavy that you lose control and drop it on a female. Try memorising the following quiz questions and answers: 1. In computing what is RAM short for? 2. Which organ secretes insulin? 3. Who was the first actor to refuse an Oscar? 4. What is the famous business list that Fortune produces each year called? 5. In which year did Adolf Hitler become chancellor of Germany? 6. Who composed Peer Gynt? 7. Who was the youngest ever American president? 8. How many episodes of Fawlty Towers were made? 9. What name is given to the hybrid fruit of tangerines and grapefruits? 10. What do the dots on a pair of dice total? 11. How high is a basketball hoop? 12. In photography what does SLR mean? 13. What is the motto of the SAS? 14. Which two countries signed up to the common market in 1973 alongside the UK? 15. How many years did Nelson Mandela spend in prison? 16. Which star is the nearest to Earth? 17. What is the nearest galaxy to the solar system? 18. Which nerve forms the link between the eye and the brain? 19. How many species of reptiles live in Antarctica? 20. In which year was the first FA Cup final held at Wembley? 21. What is agoraphobia the fear of? 22. How many kilograms make up a metric tonne? 23. On what date is American Independence day? 24. Who said, ‘I think, therefore I am’? 25. In which country was cricketer Ted Dexter born? 26. What was the name of the policeman in Enid Blyton’s Noddy books? 27. The clavicle is more commonly known as which bone? 28. What is the collective noun for a group of rhinoceroses? 29. Facing the bow of a boat, which side is port? 30. Who painted The Starry Night? Answers: 1. Random Access Memory; 2. pancreas; 3. George C. Scott; 4. Fortune 500; 5. 1933; 6. Edvard Grieg; 7. Theodore Roosevelt, aged forty-two; 8. twelve; 9. tangelo; 10. forty-two; 11. ten feet (3.048 m); 12. Single Lens Reflex; 13. Who Dares Wins; 14. Ireland and Denmark; 15. Twenty-seven; 16. the Sun; 17. Andromeda; 18. optic nerve; 19. none; 20. 1923; 21. open spaces; 22. one thousand; 23. 4 July; 24. René Descartes; 25. Italy; 26. P. C. Plod; 27. collarbone; 28. a crash; 29. left; 30. Vincent van Gogh. How to memorise quotes Good quotes help us reflect on things and can pack a great deal of wisdom into a phrase or brief sentence. They are also one of the most popular forms of shared content on the Internet. As with quiz questions, memorising quotes uses association, but with the added difficulty of creating images for the person’s name. The approach is to: • break up key words into images • link each image • connect images to the person. Example: ‘You have to dream before your dreams can come true.’ A. P. J. Abdul Kalam Picture someone holding a gun next to your head telling you, ‘You have to dream’ or else. So you do that but before your dream can come true, you wake up. A man is standing next to you in A. P. J. singing Paula Abdul. You say: ‘Kill me now.’ Try memorising these quotes: 1. ‘Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.’ Saint Francis of Assisi 2. ‘The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched: they must be felt with the heart.’ Helen Keller 3. ‘It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop.’ Confucius 4. ‘Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.’ Vince Lombardi 5. ‘You must be the change you wish to see in the world.’ Mahatma Gandhi 6. ‘I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.’ James Dean 7. ‘Quality is not an act, it is a habit.’ Aristotle 8. ‘To the mind that is still, the whole universe surrenders.’ Lao Tzu 9. ‘Give light, and the darkness will disappear of itself.’ Desiderius Erasmus 10. ‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.’ Milton Berle Scores and statistics Sports fans love a good stat. When considering statistics identify what you want to remember—there are many things and combinations of things such as score, goal scorers, teams, date, time and venue. Soccer Sat 14.03.2015 Crystal Palace 3:1 Queens Park Rangers Wilfried Zaha (CP) 21’ James McArthur (CP) 40’ Joel Ward (CP) 42’ Matt Phillips (QPR) 83’ From the above scores there are eleven different types of information to remember: day, date, month, year, team 1, team 2, team 1 score, team 2 score, goal scorer(s), goal scorer team, and goal in minute of match. Images will need to be created for each: Saturday (saturn) 14 (door) 03 (sumo) 2015 (nose, doll) Crystal Palace (a large palace made of crystal) Queens Park Rangers (the queen deploying park rangers) 3:1 (mat) Wilfried Zaha (Prince William freed a zebra) 21 (net) James McArthur (captain James cook having McDonald’s with your friend Arthur) 40 (rose) Joel Ward (hole in the wall) 42 (Arnie) Matt Phillips (welcome mat with built-in Phillips head screwdriver) 83 (foam) Now for the fun in connecting the associative story: The planet Saturn crashes down at your door. It falls on top of a sumo wrestler who ends up breaking his nose. As he turns around he is greeted by a lovely doll inside a large palace made of crystal. The Queen comes out of the palace with her park rangers on a long red mat. Leading the group is Prince William proudly riding his freed zebra. From his pocket he casts a net at Captain James Cook, who is eating Macca’s with his mate Arthur. Both are trapped. A rose starts to appear from a hole in the wall—it’s Arnie. He busts through the wall, jumps on the welcome mat, snatching up the Phillips head screwdriver, and rescues the two, landing safely on foam. It may seem like a lot of work, but it only takes one story to be developed and visualised for all the details to be remembered and stored in our long-term memory. To make it easier, perhaps focus on memorising the teams, score and scorers. See how you go creating stories for these statistics: Sun 15.03.2015 Everton 3:0 Newcastle United Manchester United 3:0 Tottenham Chelsea 1:1 Southampton Sat 14.03.2015 Burnley 1:0 Manchester City Arsenal 3:0 West Ham Leicester 0:0 Hull City Sunderland 0:4 Aston Villa West Brom 1:0 Stoke City Australian Rules football To memorise AFL scores you can include: team 1, team 2, team 1 score, team 2 score, round, venue. [image: image] The associative story would go something like this: The tigers (Richmond) were eating blue m&m’s (carlton) when they realised it was beef (98), so they spat it out and started eating fish (86) instead. They dropped the rest of the uneaten fish in a cup of tea (round 1), and paraded it all around the McG. If you’re extra keen you can add further statistics such as attendance, date, goal scorers, best on ground and so on. Individual player statistics Memorise the player’s name. Kicks, handballs, marks and tackles can be linked together using any number technique such as the Dominic system or Major system. Using the Major system our story is: Reece conca (picture him conquering Greece). As he conquers Greece he kicks a donut (12), then handballs a hockey (7) puck, eventually marking a hair (4) that came off a carlton supporter who had one tooth (1). Use your memory skills to create stories for the following individual player statistics. [image: image] [image: image] [image: image] • Identify what information you want to remember. • Break down the information into bits to be memorised and create the images for them. • consider which technique works best for the task. Linking and association may work just as well as the Method of Loci. • practise with large sets of data so you create elaborate stories and connections, and remember more. • Show off your skills to friends. This is a good way of testing your competence. CHAPTER 3 MEMORY TECHNIQUES Many people believe having a great memory is a gift. When I was nineteen, I actually believed I had a ‘shocking’ memory. I would forget names, directions, what I had just read, and even what people had said to me a minute ago. It was embarrassing; however, I accepted that I had not been born with a great memory – that is, until I stumbled upon memory techniques. These ‘mental activities’ made me use my imagination and little did I know how easy it was to improve my memory. Not only that, but I would go on to learn much faster, achieve more, and gain significant confidence in myself to do anything as I got older. Now it is your turn to experience the power of memory techniques. Linking and association Linking and association is a technique that helps us remember effectively by creating stories using the items we want to remember in a sequential order. It’s possible to link and associate any piece of information with another. Many people are unsuccessful in their early attempts to do this, though, because their links and connections are broken along the way to memorisation. How it works Let’s say we had five items to remember. The linking process would look like this: [image: image] The first item is connected to the initial subject, and to the second item. Each subsequent item is connected to the one following it in a sequence. How to use Remembering a list of words: 1. shoes 2. milk 3. postman 4. donkey 5. blue Imagine your shoes smelling profusely. You decide to take them off, and as you do milk starts to pour out! The milk splatters everywhere and somehow splashes into the eye of the postman. The postman is angry, jumps on his donkey and starts to chase you. You run for your life and feel yourself getting sick and suddenly you turn blue! To-do list: 1. Take the rubbish bin out. 2. Buy the newspaper. 3. Pick up dry cleaning. 4. Work out at the gym. 5. Water the plants. You head out of the house and suddenly the rubbish bin flips over and tips itself on top of you. The rubbish is full of newspapers that stink like something has died in them. Before you retch you head over to the dry cleaners to change into clean clothes. You feel refreshed and pumped, so much so that you’re inspired to workout at the gym. You drink too much water during your workout and the toilets are out of order so you end up watering the plants. With linking and association the word you are memorising does not have to be exactly the same as how you memorise it. So if I try to remember the word ‘kaleidoscope’, I might visualise and come up with something that sounds like the first part of the word, such as ‘calendar’, where ‘cal’ acts as a trigger to ‘kaleidoscope’. My associative story could then be that I looked at my calendar and it was spiralling visually like broken mirrors. How long? As long as it takes to read the paragraph and connect with the listed words, around one minute. This book uses many triggers to form associations with words. Since we are using our own imagination everyone’s stories and triggers will be different, so feel free to create your own triggers to the exercises in this book. Number rhyme This is where the numbers rhyme with the words. How it works one = gun two = shoe three = tree four = door five = hive six = sticks seven = heaven eight = gate nine = wine ten = pen How to use Let’s say we want to remember the words on the right of the rhyming words. We link the rhyming list with the words to be remembered list. 1. gun: elephant 2. shoe: breakfast 3. tree: CD 4. door: computer 5. hive: TV remote 6. sticks: water 7. heaven: towel 8. gate: chocolate 9. wine: tomato 10. pen: phone The elephant is shot with a gun. (Luckily it does not die.) You eat breakfast with your shoe as a spoon. The tree outside is growing cDs. The door opens onto a supercomputer. There is a beehive inside the TV remote. You throw sticks into the water because you are bored. As soon as you enter heaven you are given a refresher towel. The gate is made out of chocolate and you have to bite your way through to enter. You shove a whole tomato inside a wine bottle. You draw smiley faces with your coloured pen on a stranger’s mobile phone. Recall All that’s left now is to remember what happened with each of the rhyming numbers to give you the item you had memorised. 1. gun ……………………. 2. shoe ……………………. 3. tree ……………………. 4. door ……………………. 5. hive ……………………. 6. sticks ……………………. 7. heaven ……………………. 8. gate ……………………. 9. wine ……………………. 10. pen ……………………. How long? Around ten seconds for each story from the above examples, so a little under two minutes. Number shape This is just like the number rhyme system but it uses images that look like the number instead of rhyming with it. How it works one = [image: image] two = [image: image] three = [image: image] four = [image: image] five = [image: image] six = [image: image] seven = [image: image] eight = [image: image] nine = [image: image] ten = [image: image] How to use Let’s say we want to remember the words on the right of the number shape words. We link both the shape list with the words to be remembered list. 1. candlestick