Anthony Metivier is available for print, radio, podcast and video interviews via the contact page.
As a bestselling author, Anthony is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, a systematic, 21st Century approach to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, dreams, names, music, poetry and much more in ways that are easy, elegant, effective and fun.
Anthony writes his books and creates video courses for a variety of people who need help with a number of different memory needs.
What separates Anthony from other authors on memory skills and development is that he doesn’t focus on long strings of digits or training for memory championships. He offers simple techniques for memorizing the information that will change your daily life: foreign language vocabulary, names and faces, material for tests and exams. There’s no hype in his training, just techniques that work.
You can read more about Anthony on the about page.
If you’re looking for some photos to use, see links below (note that these are high resolution):
Becoming Superhuman Podcast
Fluent in 3 Months
How to Use a Memory Palace To Boost Your Vocabulary
Your most recent book, The Victorious Mind, combines memory techniques with meditation. Why?
There are a few good reasons to believe that focusing on using memory techniques is related to meditation. Nelson Dellis, a very accomplished USA memory champion, tells me he’s long felt the same way. I’ve reported on plenty of research in the book which shows that many of the same areas of the brain are activated by both activities. So I started combining both as part of my personal practice.
Doing so deepened the mental peace I had already developed from a standard form of meditation that is sometimes called “sitting just to sit,” and may sometimes be referred to as Shikantaza. We know that this form of meditation can help people experience a state of “flow,” but in my experience, any such state would quickly disappear. I wanted to find out if it could last beyond the meditation session.
Likewise, there’s often a feeling of focus and elated that follows completing a memory task. For example, when we’re memorizing a deck of cards with a clock on, something like a flow-state takes place, most likely because the operations activate the Task-Positive Network of the brain.
At the moment, my book pieces together a number of disparate reports and research studies. I believe that as more research emerges, we’ll be able to find ways for more ways that meditation can help people use memory techniques and how focusing on tools like the Memory Palace will help more people benefit from meditation. At the same time, I think that many people have already been receiving great benefits from memory-based forms of meditation, so it may be a case of science catching up with a description of something very old that will allow us to optimize further in our own lives by exploring more approaches.
How did you discover memory techniques?
While in graduate school in Toronto during a hard Canadian winter, I fell into a bad depression. I couldn’t think and I couldn’t concentrate. I had the weight of two PhD exams on my shoulders. These took place in front of committees who grill you about hundreds of books that you are supposed to have covered. But at the time I could hardly get out of bed.
When I did get out of bed, I avoided the problem of studying for these exams by learning card tricks. And that’s when I discovered the “holy grain” of card tricks: The memorized deck.
I didn’t think it would for my muddled brain, but 15 minutes later, I had an entire deck memorized. From that point on, I knew I could learn and memorize anything. And that has proved true time and time again.
Explain what the Magnetic Memory Method is and how it works.
Memory Palaces (sometimes called the Roman Room method) are at the core of the Magnetic Memory Method. In the Magnetic Memory Method Masterclass, I teach a specific, “magnetic” formula to creating them. As soon as you know the method, you can use your home, school, church, favorite restaurant and local cinema to memorize anything.
Can you give us an idea of how you managed to create memories that stick not just in your short-term memory, but for years and years and years?
There’s something called The Forgetting Curve and we can overcome it by using a Memory Palace to store information.
Then, like spaced-repetition software, you revisit the information in particular ways that you repeat for a few days. After that, the information moves from short-term memory to long-term memory.
The advantage this approach has over spaced-repetition and rote learning is that you use the natural powers of your imagination. You become more creative as you learn. And the more you learn in this manner, the more you can learn.
That said, you can optimize spaced repetition in a few key ways that will make it work much better.
Can anyone do this or do some people just generally have a better memory out-of-the-box?
I don’t know if anybody has a better memory out-of-the-box. There only seems to be that phenomenon. But I find that when you ask people who just have a “natural memory” they usually describe a process that is close to what happens in mnemonics. They memorize in very similar ways without having to train.
Do you group information book by book in its own palace or do you kind of take subjects and put them into their own palaces and many sources can feed one palace?
When I was studying for my dissertation defense, I made Memory Palaces per philosopher.
Then I used the philosopher as a “bridging figure.” I followed him around as he experienced adventures in the Memory Palace. This enabled me to recall everything about his philosophy that I needed to succeed in the examination room.
About memorizing cards, explain why someone would want to learn that skill, and why it might appeal.
Memorizing cards serves as a quick creativity drill. It makes you better and better at memorizing abstract and difficult information quickly.
Memorizing cards is also like stretching before going out for a run. Instead of diving in to memorizing foreign language vocabulary, facts or mathematical formulas cold, you can do 5 minutes get your mind warm. It makes a huge difference.