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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Shuffled not Stirred » » Book: Mnemonica for Everybody by Geoff Williams (7 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Profile of Kjellstrom
Interesting, I found this book, any opinions?

From ad:
"Using the PMS system in this book, it took me only AN HOUR to commit a memorized deck stack to memory! In the pages of Mnemonica For Everybody, you will find a streamlined, GRAPHICAL method for EASILY and QUICKLY learning the Tamariz stack."
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Profile of Ahlichs
I don't own this book, but from poking around on Amazon, it looks like a $25 booklet on using the authors version of a peg memory system.

Using a mnemonic peg system for memorizing a stack isn't anything new. There's a description of it towards the end of Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, Derren Brown talks about it in Tricks of the Mind, Harry Lorayne has written a lot about memory systems, I think Aronson wrote about it, etc.

It looks like the author has made a tweak to using the peg system in terms of construction of the mnemonic, which is cool. He also seems to have very descriptive mnemonics laid out already, rather than you coming up with your own.

If you already own Mnemonica and Tamariz's method of learning the stack doesn't work for you, then you should really look at using mnemonics. This book looks like a good description, but there are other descriptions of using a peg system elsewhere that may be cheaper and/or have more material (in the case of Encyclopedia of Card Tricks, both!)

If you don't already have Mnemonica, you should save the $25 and go buy Mnemonica first. Theres a chapter on learning the stack, and then a couple hundred pages on cool things to do with it, and it's like $60.
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Profile of mrehula
What happened to good old fashioned rote? Oh, because it's old fashioned, I guess . . . Repetition works well. Repetition works well.
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Profile of JBSmith1978
The great thing about the memory palace and peg system is that they are applicable to other situations.
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Profile of divomas
Looks cool. Same method I used to memorise the stack myself. After practice it becomes instinct but good to have a peg system / memory palace as a backup.
Tim Cavendish
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Profile of Tim Cavendish
Memory works differently for different people.

My wife has flawless memory of any artistic or crafting procedure, and excellent memory of musical tunes -- but not lyrics. And dates/times simply fall out of her head. They will not stick.

There's nothing wrong with having different approaches to memorization.
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Profile of toneill
I can't speak to the book above, but you might want to look at the 'Learn Mnemonica' app. I've found it helpful in addition to the techniques in Mnemonica itself. Having the app allowed me to practice for a couple of minutes at a time throughout the day and to work on automatic recall at speed.

If you are interested in a mnemonic peg system, or memory systems in general then you might want to take a look at Harry Lorayne's published work.
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Profile of SIX
Geoff is a very smart and funny man..While I have not read this, I plan to pick it up simply because his work is fantastic..I imagine if anyone that can come up with crazy images that will make Mnemonica stick, it would be him..

Also, would be interested to hear from anyone who owns this..
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Profile of Nicolino
I only had a read of its predecessor ('Aronson Stack for Everybody') and can confirm that its Geoff's personal peg system, beautifully laid out with colorful illustrations and bold fonts; it's hard to tell whether his pictures and associations will suit your way of thinking - but for sure they are weird and crazy and original and that's what counts. Some may say it's always better to make your own pictures in the first place but as a springboard you can't go wrong having a look at what Geoff delivers, too!
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Profile of coreyw
I second the "Learn Mnemonica" app. Helped smooth over the rough spots in the work for me. A quick google search will yield some web-based helps as well. Without these kinds of helps I wouldn't have been able to get Juan's stack ingrained like it needs to be.

Basically I'm saying anything that helps/works is worthy adding to the arsenal. Looking forward to hear from someone with experience with this help...
Joshua Barrett
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Profile of Joshua Barrett
I'm guessing the app is IOS only? just curious. I recently got something that looks similar called "The memory arts : Mnemonica edition". I was able to memorize the stack in I'd say about 4 hours spread out between 2 days
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Profile of pierredan
How does this book compare to Memory Arts?
Steven Leung
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Profile of Steven Leung
I have to admit to say... I still cannot recall the whole stack after the release of Mnemonica book since 2004, my problem is I am not a professional magician and I seldom have chance to perform. I hope this can help me to accomplish one of my goal this year: able to fully remember the Menmonica Stack.
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Profile of Magic1
Is Geoff's peg system similar to/the same as Harry Lorraine's peg system?
Bill Mullins
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Profile of Bill Mullins
Our IBM Ring hosted Geoff for a lecture and workshop yesterday. I attended the workshop, and it consisted of Geoff walking us (there were four attendees) through his "Aronson Stack for Everybody".

At the end of it, starting from almost zero, I was able (from memory) to name the Aronson stack number of any card, and name the card at any number from 1 - 52. Note this is not the same as being so conversant with the stack as to be able to perform magic with it -- that will take much more practice, until the numbers and cards are directly associated with each other, without the intermediate step of the peg images.

The process is as follows:
1. Learn Geoff's associations from digits 1-0 to letters (1-t, 2-n, 3-m, 4-r, 5-l, 6-g, 7-k, 8-f, 9-p or b, 0-z or s). For each of these, he gives a way to associate them so you don't have to brute-force memorize this list (for example, an "M" has 3 downstrokes; "Zero" starts with Z; etc.) Note that this is not quite the "standard" mnemonic association set, but is a simplified version with a few changes. (I was familiar with, but not fluent with, the standard set -- this is why I said I was starting from almost zero.)

2. Drill for a while, where Geoff presents words, and you answer back with the number they represent, and he presents numbers, and you answer back with appropriate words.

3. Learn the associations between court cards and letters, and suits and letters:
Jack - J; Queen - H (from Her Highness); King - appropriate suit noun (KS is always a Spade, KC is always a Club, etc.)
Spade = T (a Spade has one tip on top; t=1 in the mnemonic system); Heart = N (Heart has 2 humps on top; N = 2); Clubs = M; Diamonds = R

3. Drill with cards and words, as above. Geoff would guide us to use particular words that show up in his images.

4. Now go to the meat of the system. His book shows, in stack order, pictures that associate stack numbers with playing cards. For example, the first image is a picture of a foot with a jet airliner flying out of a toe. Toe-Jet -> T (stack number = 1) and J-T -> Jack of Spades. The JS is card #1 in the Aronson stack. The pictures are in color and are clear and vivid and memorable. Some are PG-13 or gross (but this is standard practice in such things, to make them easier to recall). There are only 38 pictures, because in a few cases, he's come up with an image that incorporates more than one Stack Number- Card pair. One such image is Ray-Nun-Ton-Lion-Pear. In this image, "Nun" represents the playing card 2 of Hearts in the pair "Ray-Nun" and it represents the stack number 22 in the pair "Nun-Lion". In all cases where an image can be ambiguous like this (where a single word can be interpreted as either a number or card), the image covers it and uses it both ways. In all cases where their is a single pair associated with an image (like the Toe-Jet mentioned above), each word in the pair can only represent a card or a number as appropriate.

5. Drill for a bit. Geoff would prompt with one word of an image pair, and we'd recall the image and give the other word. Or he'd do one word of one of the sets that included a sequence, and we'd give all the remaining members of the sequence.

6. At this point, you know the stack. We took a written test where, for each of the 52 pairs, we'd get one word of a stack #/playing card association, and would have to give the other. The images were vivid enough that it was easy to recall them all, and with the images, you can work out the stack number and card associated. For example, one prompt was Fay. Fay is a waitress, with a bad attitude. She doesn't care if your order is correct. She's chewing gum while she serves you. Fay-Gum. Fay is #8, gum is 6 of Clubs. Another prompt was Club. The club was smashing someone's knee, probably someone who borrowed money and wasn't paying it back. Knee-Club. #2 is King of Clubs.

7. Then Geoff did some work with stacked deck. Some tricks, and he showed some marking techniques that help you manage the stack. And talked some about breather crimps, which he uses to reset the stack to "zero".

The workshop was $50, and lasted 3 hours. In addition to the tutoring, you got a printed copy of the book (70 pages, full color, 8-1/2 x 11 -- it is Print on Demand, but very professional looking), a disc with a PDF of the book (useful so you can print out the worksheets and practice without writing in the book; and so you can put the images on your phone or tablet and practice that way), and a Workshop CD disc that includes: software that drills you on the stack; information on marking a deck to help manage the stack in performance; and assorted tricks using the stack (for example, a clean ACAAN where the [usually] necessary cut/displacement is completely covered and flies by).

If you don't know the Aronson stack and want to learn it, this is a very good deal should you get the opportunity to take advantage of it. If you want to learn the Tamariz stack, go ahead and sit in the workshop, and then buy the equivalent book/disc that Geoff has for the Tamariz stack. It will take some independent work afterwards to learn that stack, but much of the information and all of the techniques from this Aronson workshop will transfer over.

The only downside I can see to Geoff's system is that knowing the standard mnemonic associations between the digits and letters is very useful, and this will screw that up somewhat.

BTW, his lecture is really good as well.
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