This page exists for Derren to inform you about skills and areas of knowledge that are of interest to him, or relevant to his work. Here you can find suggestions for further reading and resources. Derren has written in more detail about some of these areas in his book Tricks Of The Mind, and will continue to add to this page as he finds material that he thinks may be of interest to you.
Our capacity to remember large amounts of information with often very little effort is something that interests me hugely. I have used memory systems for many reasons, from remembering shopping lists, through memorising the order of packs of cards or other data to aid with magic performances, to developing large-scale systems that allow me to retain detailed structured information about subjects that interest me. The use of such techniques has a long and fascinating history, intertwined with alchemy and hermetics. It is largely due to the Victorians’ insistence on rote learning and our modern suspicion of ‘memorisation’ in place of ‘understanding’ that has caused these very useful tools to all but die out within our educational system.
Harry Lorayne: How To Develop a Super Power Memory.
This is a classic work which has been re-printed many times since the very quaint 1940s edition which I have at home. Lorayne is a very successful magician and memory expert. This book will cover in more detail the principles I have set out.
Dominic O’Brien: How to Develop a Perfect Memory
O’Brien is probably the top memory expert in the world today and has written many books on the subject. This is probably his most useful book on the subject.
Kenneth Higbee: Your Memory
This work offers a balance between memory techniques and a look at the nature of memory itself. Higbee also is rather more honest and pragmatic about certain areas of memory improvement which are often glossed over in books on the subject. Highly recommended.
Frances Yates: The Art of Memory
A lovely work on the history of memory techniques and mnemonics. Offers little in the way of practical advice but a fascinating look at a satisfyingly obscure and esoteric subject.
Jonathan D. Spence: The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci
If you are as visibly excited as I am by the notion of memory palaces, then this is the best work on the subject. Not that there are many to choose from. Again, this is not a ‘how to’ guide as such, but rather a rich historical and academic work. Certainly it will inspire you to delve into the rich rewards of the system.