The Father of Modern Memory Improvement Harry Lorayne: 60 Years of Mnemonics
Greetings, SuperFriends. Welcome to a very special episode of this week’s show. Today, we’ve managed to book, without exaggeration, the world’s foremost expert on memory and memory training: Harry Lorayne. He’s a living legend. Since the late 1950’s, he has sold over 17 MILLION copies of over 40 books on memory and magic. He’s been on every major television show you can imagine at least once – and generally starts off by memorizing the names of everyone in the up to 1500 person audience. He’s been in Forbes, coached a long list of Fortune 500 companies and their executives… Honestly, there’s no way I can possible do justice by just listing off his many accomplishments.
More important than these accomplishments is the fact that today’s guest is generally credited with bringing Memory training and mnemonics back into the public sphere. Long before the world memory championships, and long before both myself and my co-authors of Become a SuperLearner were even born, he was putting in the hours to rediscover and improve upon ancient memory techniques that have helped tens of millions of people change every aspect of their lives through improved mental faculties.
This interview might just be our biggest and most important yet. There’s so much value here, I don’t even know where to start. At 89 years old, Harry Lorayne pulls no punches and makes no apologies. He shares heartbreaking stories of physical abuse and overcoming dyslexia, but also some incredibly inspiring tales of how he became the world’s most respected authority on memory… which, by the way, he did with nothing more than a middle school education.
You’ll notice right away that Harry is clearly very practiced, having spent literally 60 years in the public spotlight. He’s an incredible storyteller, and has an incredible way of answering questions with vivid stories and examples that will leave you wanting more.
I just know you’re going to love this episode, so please take a moment to drop us a tweet or an email or a comment below with your thoughts.
In this episode on memory improvement, we discuss:
- Harry Lorayne’s path from a broken home to becoming the world’s foremost memory training expert
- How memory improvement techniques became a pivot point in Harry’s life & a way to escape physical abuse
- How Harry combatted dyslexia and prevented failing elementary school using 17th century techniques
- The types of visual memory improvement techniques that Harry innovated (the very same ones I teach!)
- The two things that make up the basis of Harry’s memory techniques
- How some of his systems are adapted for different things like music, history, or mathematics
- The stigma against “memory” in the educational field, and why it is an unfair prejudice
- Harry’s opinions on memory palaces (this is very controversial in the memory community!)
- A very cool demonstration of how Harry Lorayne would remember difficult names
- Harry’s thoughts on the skills the young generation is no longer maintaining
- The surprising process that Harry used to write his 40 books
- What Harry Lorayne’s other true passion is, & how it helped him overcome crippling shyness
- A real-life story of how Harry’s techniques helped a stroke victim restore his memory
- How Colin Powell & Michael Bloomberg used Harry Lorayne’s memory improvement systems
- Harry explaining his system for memorizing both numbers and cards
- Which 1 or 2 books would Harry recommend you start with?
- Why are “bad” things in life sometimes very good, and Harry’s personal experience with this phenomenon
- Harry’s thoughts on speed reading (also a bit controversial!)
Resources Mentioned in This Episode:
- Harry’s many, many, many books, especially “Before I Forget” and “Super Memory, Super Student”
- The Miracle Worker, the movie about Hellen Keller
- Harry’s website, HarryLorayne.com
- Our previous episode with Nelson Dellis, 4X USA Memory Champion
- The Major Method for memorizing numbers
- Ageless Memory, Harry Lorayne’s book for the aging and elderly
- HarryLorayneMagic.com, another site by Harry
- My accelerated learning course, which leans on the same types of techniques Harry developed!
Favorite Quotes from Harry Lorayne:
Welcome to the becoming superhuman podcast where we interview Extraordinary People to bring you the skills and strategies to overcome the impossible. And now here's your host Jonathan Levy.
This episode is brought to you by the best-selling online course become a super learner if you're like most people you. Probably have a long list of books you want to read? Languages you wish you knew and skills you wish you had the time to learn this course teaches you how to learn anything and everything faster and more effectively by teaching you not only speed reading but also an entirely new framework for understanding creating and storing memories.
To get an 80 percent off coupon and join Over 25,000 satisfied students visit JL e dot VI / learn that's HTTP colon slash slash JL e VI forward slash learn. Greetings Super Friends and welcome to a very very special episode of the show today. We've managed to book without exaggeration the world's foremost expert on memory and memory training.
We're talking about a living legend who since the late 1950s has sold get this guys. Over 17 million copies of over 40 books. He's been on every major television show. You can possibly think of at least once and he starts those appearances by memorizing the names of everyone. In the up to 1500 person audience.
He's been in Forbes. He's coached a long list of Fortune 500 companies and their Executives. Honestly his list of accomplishments does no justice to just what a god father figure. He is in the memory and mnemonic industry more important than those accomplishments is the fact that he's credited.
With bringing memory training and mnemonics back into the public sphere long before the world memory championships and long before both myself or my co-authors. I've become a super learner or even born he was putting in the hours to ReDiscover and improve upon these ancient memory techniques that have helped tens of millions of people change every aspect of their lives through improved mental faculties.
You guys this interview might just be our biggest and most important yet and that's because there's so so much value here. I almost don't know where to start describing it at 89 years old. My guest pulls no punches and he makes no apologies. And you guys I think he deserves it. He shares heartbreaking stories of physical abuse and overcoming dyslexia, but also some incredibly inspiring Tales of how he became the world's most respected Authority on memory.
Which by the way he did with nothing more than a middle school education. You guys will notice right away that my guest is clearly very practiced and he spent 60 years in the public Spotlight on that comes out in this interview. He's an incredible story teller and he has an amazing way of answering the questions with these Vivid stories that pull you in and keep you wanting more.
And so without further Ado. I know you guys are excited as I am to meet the Yoda of memory. Mr. Harry, lorayne.
Mr. Harry, lorayne, welcome to the show. It is such an honor sir to have you on the show today. It's my pleasure Jonathan. It's honestly the first time I could ever consider myself in company with such greats as Johnny Carson and. I'm just amazed that we managed to get you on the show. So really excited about that.
Thank you. It's funny. Eventually Johnny Carson just yesterday. Somebody other terrible computer person Jonathan, but somebody told me they put one of my appearances on the Johnny Carson show on Facebook. So I'm getting all kinds of emails about it and etc etc. Course. I did remembering the names of everybody in the audience.
I did the Johnny Carson show 24 times over all the years my God. Will you came kind of friendly? But anyway by Pleasure to be here Jonathan, that's incredible 24 times on the show. The Johnny Carson show. Yeah. Well, I may be 22 of them. I memorized everybody in the audience. What time somebody was kidding me your.
Getting they said Gee you remember to Bob 400 people in the audience each time. And you did that about 22 are you must have met about four thousand people that show alone. So I said, yeah right now my problems to forget them all. Yeah exactly. You got to do that spring cleaning and get it all out of there make room for new content.
Well, like I always said it are remembering is that my problem forgetting is. Interesting. So Harry I want to get into the method and of course, you know given my background in accelerated learning. I really want to do dive into how you do that. But first, I think we should give our audience a little bit of background information, which is you've been in the field of mnemonics and memory.
Way before it was fashionable and in a sense, you really Blaze the path by yourself to bring the stuff to the popular Consciousness. Tell us a little bit about that process and what you discovered to cause your life path to head down this course. Somebody once asked me on television. How does a little these Dems and those kids from the Lower East Side Of The Mean Streets of New York City with one?
The year of high school and Cetera. How does somebody like that become the world's foremost memory trading expert. Is that what you're asking Johnson? That is what I'm asking. I bet you remember what you answered. Well, I do because I also you know, I recently put out a memoir. Called before I forget so just a good title Mel.
Brooks told me to call it a re Memoir. Anyway reason I mentioned that is that this is going to sound kind of redundant to the people who have bought before I forget because I told this story there. But if you want to hear it, I'll tell it to you. Anyway, I was on television once when somebody the whole said to me the question I just said how do you become the world for most memory training specialist and I said stomach cramps and he said once he did he turned white up this makeup.
He thought I. Not see a lot and I said no no, let me explain it to you. What happened when I was very young of talking about 11 years old. I had stomach cramps every morning. I thought that was life. I thought that was the norm till I realized that I had those stomach cramps only Monday and Friday.
I didn't get them on weekends in other words. School days and then I started to realize why because we used to get a test attend question test every day in school and the teacher her name was mrs. Goldfish, or I'll never forget a she you say, you know, she would greet them and give us back the papers and we had to take them home for at least one parent to sign up.
And my father who died when I was 12, so you can see how far back I'm going was the signee and I was getting failing grades every day, you know 40s and 50s where who have I will little classmates were all getting passing grades, you know 70s 80s 90s. Anyway, I would bring home. This test for my father to sign and he would see the failing grade and he would punish me he would hit me Jonathan wants on the Johnny Carson show.
I was telling the same story and I said my father punched me which is really what he did and about 10 or 12 days later. I got a call from Freddy de Cordova Who was the. Producer of The Tonight Show and he said oh Harry, we got thousands of pieces of mail about your visit here and they're all negative.
I said why what did I do? He said what are you said your father punched it? You can't say that. So now when I tell this story I saved. Squabble punished me. That's okay. So my father punished me. Anyway, I'm telling you this whole story to tell you that I was getting stomach cramps because I was afraid that my father was going to punish me, so I didn't know what to do till one day.
Oh boy talk about a pivot point or a plot point in your life one day light bulb in my head went off to my said, you know, there's only one way to stop my father from punching me or punishing me and that is to get passing grades. But how do I get passing grades? And that's when the lightbulb got brighter Jonathan I said, you know, all I gotta do is remember the answers to the questions that this is goldfish asks.
One because in those days ago the kind of questions you got under test when you're 11 years old and those early grades. They're not the kind of things. You can intellectualize it which is not a word. I knew at that time, but I could understand it in my mind. Well I had to do is remember them. How do you intellectualize a question?
Like I'm trying to think of one that she gave our questions you want. Oh, what's the capital of Maryland? Well, how do you remember that? That's Annapolis. There's no way to hate to lecture wise it that's like Point either you know it or you don't and as I once wrote in a couple of my books the word no remember and learn are all synonyms, if you know something you've learned that if you've learned that she remembered if you remember it, you know it and so on they are all synonyms.
That's what started it Jonathan I went to the library. I asked the lady at there were any books that teaches you how to read number she took me to a room where we had a white the cobwebs or sad or nobody didn't live a hundred years reticulum, and she took me to a column down robots dating back to the 17th century and some of them summon all my private library and memory training and you've got to understand it again that I was 11 years old and I'm also dyslexic and as I get older it gets worse what I was dyslexic when I was a boy
My luck ends up. I was getting lousy grades. They didn't know the word dyslexic that well, maybe they do it because they never used it. At least my teachers didn't know it and I never heard it certainly but I learned about it later and basically what happened when I was a little boy in school. They give you the name, you've played a game.
They stamped me moron because of these lousy grades. I was getting so I went along with it. I thought that's the way I was but anyway to get back to the story. I was only 11 so I couldn't remember I couldn't understand. Most of the things that I read these books on memory, but the small percentage of the point 1 0 or point zero one percent of the things I read that I did understand changed my life and then all of a sudden I started to apply it to my school.
I didn't realize that what I was doing was changing things manipulating the few things. I did understand to do apply. So what remembering the answers to these questions, that's all I cared about it that time. That's the point that I didn't want to get hit by my father. So I started to twist them and manipulate him.
I didn't know I was doing something brand-new with some of these things changing in to fit my particular problems and I started to get hundreds on these tests. I remember mrs. Goldfish. Stopping me one day when I was coming into the room and she said Harry what happened now you getting grades that I always expected from you what happened and I started to explain like she said, well, what do you mean give you an example?
I said well, let me use of the Maryland in a capital of Maryland, which is Annapolis example, there was a girl named Mary in the class of I pointed to her. I said well I. Pixel wide Mary and I saw an apple Landing Mary land and an apple is landing on her head Annapolis. So that's and I said I do July's an apple and they got married.
That's how we rub it Annapolis. And as I explained it from this is gold Fisher. I saw the curtain come over her eyes, and she said alright hurry take your seat. He thought she thought I was nuts so at that. Point in my life, like stop telling people what I was doing and how all of a sudden I was getting better grades, except this time when I had my little classmates thought at asked me they said Harry I'm what are you doing?
I explain it and they started to use it, but we didn't tell the adults about it that didn't happen there until a decade or more later. So I think I told you more than you wanted to hear Jonathan, but that's basically what started the whole thing. It's an incredible story and it's certainly not more than I wanted to hear because it's really I appreciate you sharing it with us.
What'd you say? I've written that story. It's true. That was a major part of my life. Obviously as I say was a pivot point that changed my life. So yeah, it's important to me and I wanted to tell that story Harry. What were those techniques? I'm sure obviously you've built upon the techniques you've innovated in this field as well, but walk us through much of the audience comes from my super learning course where I teach.
A little bit about memory palaces, I teach about visual memory and creating the symbol of Mary and an apple on her head and the marker around that but walk us through what are the techniques that have made you world famous for memory? Well, basically, you know, listen all my stuff is based. All original awareness and the reminder principal David to the two things really the basis of what I teach and I made up those phrases because I realized how important they were original awareness.
Well, let me give an example of the universal memory complaint is I'm introduced to somebody. And a minute later, I forget his or her name and I've written this so many times I'd say that's a lie. You didn't forget his or her name. What you did is you didn't remember the first place and that's what I'm talking about original awareness.
I mean, I've seen that I've written about this again. I will talking to somebody at an affair I go to before I was known, you know, and I would see them looking over my shoulder. And around the room not even paying attention to me looking for who could be more important in this room for them and people do that.
Sometimes not realizing that the maybe the person who showed that they're looking over and like making contact. That's the most important person in the room. So what I'm trying to say again, you didn't forget the person's name didn't remember it in the first place and that's what I teach that and that's the way I remember.
I'm towards thousand people which I don't do anymore because I learned as I could be a ball if I remember 400 people in the audience. I don't want people to think well, what else do you do? You know, I meet you. So remembering 400 people are strong enough. I think it makes the point, you know.
Yeah, it's like I said of the Johnny Carson show, you know, people ask me. Why are you teaching me how to remember a hundreds of names that I don't need a hundred people at a time and my answer is have no, of course you don't I do it because I have to work in an appearance. But what I'm teaching you it's like swinging three bats to make it easier to swing one.
If you could do that what I'm teaching you the obviously you'll remember the names of the few people you meet in your business and your social life. Sure and everything else. I mean if you read a book, you can remember all the details. Well, it's an entirely different concept of entirely different system names and faces is one thing I teach people how to first of all visualization as you mentioned before it's very important in memory.
And I teach people how to remember how to visualize anything how to visualize any name how the world. Do you visualize a name like been to Vania which is a person I met years ago. Pennsylvania, it's an Italian even maybe it has meaning in Italian, but I don't know that so I had to make it meaningful.
Well, I say visualization. You cannot visualize something that has no meaning. I mean, how do you remember the digit 5 all it is is a concept. It's one Roland 6 and was like it and for so what I teach is how to do visualize anything out of visualize any name how to visualize. Foreign words, which the same as a name that has the meaning.
So those are the important things for your Z. First you have to visualize something before you get Associated to the thing you wanted to connect it to all memory boils down to two items two things. I mean to face a face or name and telephone number to the person that owns that number of foreign word towards English meaning always boils down to two things.
And everything becomes connected and everything becomes visual in some way. Well your day goes to the reminder principle that I mentioned before you have to know how to make one thing remind you of another. Well, I remember 400 people in the audience. I look at the face and that tells me today.
Space reminds me of the name and if I thought of the name without Wookie the person who would remind me of the person face, that's the reminder principle. I want to connect the Fallen word upon trehalose 2 grateful because that's what it means in French. And I know I remember where I went to France a hundred years ago when I couldn't speak French at all, even though I took it in school and they didn't register at all.
What as I went to France every year many times now I speak a little French, but at that time I didn't that I wanted to remember how to order in a restaurant. So that's why pamplemousse just came to mind. So when I think a great fruit when I'm in France, I want to be reminded of the word problems.
So that's the point. That's the remaining two principle. Incredible so you mentioned that different fields of learning have different adaptations. How would you memorize say highly technical medical or mathematical information maybe mathematical formulas? Hello, you know what? I bet the Dutch outside subject.
That is a good point. Yeah, listen in 1972. I wrote a book called good memory good student that took students up to and into High School level and then the publisher said could you bring your higher to let's say to college level. I said sure So first there was good memory good student to the high school level then there was.
Great, super memory successful student that was up to college level and then years went by at little brown potion, which is a pretty big publisher here in the states said can you condense don't stew that one was hurt in 1972 the other one in 1973. So kidney condense them into one book. I said sure So that became super memory super student and that's available now on in that there are two chapters in that book where I teach.
Formulas, you know mathematical equations formulas Etc among other things among languages Etc. Not affect. Somebody asked me about it just recently and I have a copy here on my desk and I was going to read some of the chapter headings to you, but you know goes on and on I want to take that time, but obviously the numbers.
We mother done now on and forever vocabulary. You can remember words and definitions easily foreign language vocabulary taste that seal which means very easy, if you know that names and numbers and dates and presidents of the United States in American history and and so forth and so on even how to remember a music which I'm terrible at what I use my systems and how to make no mistakes when you.
Bill and of course can we he's won t his to chapter talking about chemistry biology and genetics tables laws series and other toughies. So I got tired of the road as more formulas algebraic chemical and structural formulas molecular compositions electronic dot diagrams Etc. So I all these are memory problems.
You know, I mentioned the two books I roll on students Jonathan. Back in 1972 and my Publishers made arrangement with the Bronx High School of Science here in New York was and I assume still is considered very high level high school and they made arrangements to allow me to come into the school after classes right after and regular classes to interview.
Whoever I wanted to you know for the book and that's what happened. I made a big mistake. And the mistake being Jolly started to interview the teachers first Jonathan and again I've written about this because this is very important to me every teacher. I spoke to said no no. No, we don't use memory we use doing and Concepts so I know what the word doing means and I love the word Concepts means I didn't know what the phrase meant.
I didn't know what they were talking about and they all insisted. We don't use memory. I remember talking to one teacher. Lady we were in the classroom always self and on it was a large black board on one wall and the periodic table was on that wall. Do you know what the periodic table is Jonathan course?
Okay, so I said to this teacher and incidentally they were all kind of upset with me that I was talking about remembering because they all said no. No, we don't use memory. So anyway, I said to this teacher listen, I've been out of school for quite a long time, which was true. And I said so forgive the silliness of.
Questions, I notice you have the periodic table on the Blackboard here. Do you still teach that she said of course I said well if you teach it to you still test your students on it. She said yes, of course we do I said so let me ask you a question. Is it still the same as it used to be when I went to school?
There are only two ways I could think of when you test on something like this and that is still in a blank or multiple choice. She said yes. Those are the way we test now we. Fill in the blank or you will we give you a few choices. You got to pick out the correct one. I said, okay. So let me ask you a question what mental calisthenics it would a student has had to use if the question was what is the symbol for iron?
And there was a blank and if they put in the letters RJ what would happen? She said well, they would get a wrong Mark. I said now what? It's like they're great. Wouldn't it? She said of course it would so I said well again, could you tell me what mental calisthenics that student would have had to use in order to put in that blank?
What is the symbol for I and in order to put in f e and Jonathan it took me 10 minutes to get her to say. Oh, well, they would have had to remember it. So that's the point. I went into another class after speaking to this lady. This was a male teacher and he had just given I'll be good textbooks for that class and he made a statement like the next class.
I would like you all to know the information on page eight. The 10 now when asked all the students left. I talked to him to get it for she said no, we don't use memory I said, but you just told you sleep has to know the information on pages 8 to 10 again. What do you call that? And again, it took me 10 minutes together to say.
Well they have to remember and of course they do but you know one of my books. Front page I said, there is no Learning Without memory and that caused such screaming among Educators here in America. And there was so many debates that I got involved in with them and I have yet to lose that debate Jonathan.
You know, why because there is no Learning Without memory. Absolutely. I completely agree with you one thing. I do want to ask where do memory palaces come into these techniques that you are teaching for these students? Nowhere, I don't use memory palaces Jonathan you're going back 3,000 years. It was a wonderful system.
You know, I have a couple of websites velocity computable had people do it for me. I have one website called memory improvement. Not org. And in that first of all as soon as you go in and you see a great picture of me, which I don't really like but the reason I mention it is I go in a little bit of the history of memory, but books going back to the 1600s and 1700s and how Allah the you memory experts at that time because there were very few note.
Taking devices at those early years and got these people for speeches. They used to use their homes as they never had Palace. In other words. They would associate was called loci some people pronounce it loci. I don't know which is correct. I guess it's called to where you're from the word loc. I means places and they would associate the first quarter that speech to the first.
The place in their home the second quarter speech to the second place in the home, you know going to all the Through The Mists of time that's where I cliche comes from in the first place in the second place. So I know all about that but it was limited. It's 3,000 years old assistants. I teach now hundreds of thousands of times better really, so tell me about those.
I'm dying of curiosity. Well, I mean, you know, there are different ways of applying my systems. It's according to what you want to remember. You want to remember numbers that's one system. It's like tagless you want to remember faces. Well, I talked to you before about making things meaningful. I mentioned the word bent the Vania.
How do you remember how do you remember the name that to think? How do you visualize it has no meaning is it's a conglomeration of sound. Well, I teach my students to use this example. I hate the goddamn context Jonathan below talk about this first. Couple of seconds. Okay. Let me give you one of my cliches even if my systems don't work.
They must love cause they were beautifully but even if they don't work, they must work now, I know that sounds contradictory and silly but no and has good meaning. You know, why just trying to apply my systems forces you to grab your mind by the Scruff of its neck and tell it Donna. Pay attention.
That's the key pay attention Okay, in order to make the word been to Vania means something in your mind. What do you make it mean? What is bent ivania sound like well to me. It sounded like a bent weather vane, you know, the thing that has north east west south and he WS on it the Weathervane been.
Gain, well that has meaning I could visualize a bent Vania see of on rooms Etc. I can visualize that but here's the key to that silly remark of mine that even if I systems don't work. They must work in order to do what I just said to make bent ivania in your mind think of bed vain you had to do something that most people don't do and that is listen.
Yes, you had to hear the name before you can make better Vania me bed Zane in your mind. You see what I mean? And now the next thing is okay. You just listened, you know the words Benzene and that'll remind you. There's a reminder principal will remind you of dental Vania. How do you tie it to this person?
Are you tired to his or her face? Well, let's say mister bed today Nia has the first. Time you look at them the first impression that remember first impressions are Lasting Impressions. That's part of the key. He's got a big nose. That's the first thing you notice and again, even if I systems don't work, they must worked in this case.
You know, why? Because again you had to do something that most people don't do and that is look you've listened to the name. You looked at the face you've paid attention in order to find the outstanding feature on his face can look over his shoulder. You got to look at his face. Well, you picked out the big nose.
Now. Those are the two steps. Number one. Listen number two. Look now the third and most important step. How do you tie the two together? There's Association. I wanted the person's face of while I'm shaking hands. I visualized not his big nose, but a bent Weathervane instead of a nose. That's it.
The next time I meet that person I looked at his face and I say hi, mr. Better than you incredible and that's something we talked about in our courses creating the meaning and attaching things to something that actually has relevance. For your mind. Well, you know, that's what I've been teaching but see my first book how to develop a super memory.
I wrote in 1954 was published in 1956 has sold 8 million copies that was 1956. It came on. I have started an industry Jonathan you have I know you teach it there are hundreds of people teaching my systems or trying to and we owe it all to you. We really do. Well, we'll listen. I don't want to say it.
So, you know, I get so most people Jonathan honestly if I say anything it which I don't do anymore. I don't want to get involved. But if I say anything is well, listen, let me sisters are around long before Harry lorayne. Yeah, that's right 3,000 years, but these people weren't around before Harry lorayne.
They all came after 1956 after my first book. That is absolutely true. Harry. I want to ask. One of the things I think a lot of people struggle with in the digital age, you know, we all have computers nearby. We all have our smartphones people feel that they don't need to remember and I often am challenged by people.
Why do I need this? Skill? How can I apply this skill? I mean, I don't need to remember phone numbers. I have them all in in my contacts. Yeah, except God forbid you real emergency exit can't get a signal and then you sure as hell better. Remember your number? Exactly and that was the question. I wanted to ask which is what are some of the most impactful things you've remembered and use your techniques for over the last while 60 years.
First of all the first part of your question years ago, you know, I have the sun is 46 years old now and when he was a little boy, he came to me all those years ago. He said, oh Dad would you get me a calculator? And I said no and he said well, why not my you know went to the guys and girls in my class have calculators at what was going through my mind my kind of imagination.
I'm visualizing it's fifty or a hundred years in the future and the main. Battery in the world goes off and somebody says to somebody else. How much is 2 times 2 and he says I don't know, you know because all of a sudden everybody is gonna have the calculator you got to have the computer yet. And that's one of the problems with these things people are not using their memories, which is not good for a variety of reasons.
But one thing I wrote years ago, if you let your right arm, hang down and you don't use it for six months it's going to atrophy and you won't be able to use it again ever. The same thing holds true for your mind, which is probably more important. You don't use it. It's gone. I had to see it. It's any good it will work for you anymore.
So I don't like this idea of not having to remember anything because of our new technology. I'm still working on the crystal radio Jonathan our terrible computer person. I don't use these things. I want to remember numbers. I don't want to have to go into the system or a little bigger holding it.
Prompt give me a number. I know the numbers now. That's why individual thinking listen. I think it's a great idea. My son walks around with this thing in his poem and my adorable little three-year-old granddaughter starting to do it for god sakes incredible. Yeah. I mean our generation was born with these devices in our hands.
Exactly if I think in one way, it's very nice, but it another way and maybe more importantly it is not somebody just had a whole new conversation that in schools that not even teaching kids had lighting anymore. Well, how could then be? How are you going to sign your name for god sakes is so a you know a couple of my books.
I wrote for every bit of progress. There is sometimes a step or two backwards. Yeah, I guess that's probably the case with handwriting. Yeah. Yeah, how can you not teach kids handwriting for god sakes Ivy's all K. I know I'm older and cetera but you know, I'd written almost 50 books. Jonathan's not going to keep doing it until I get it right but I didn't almost 50 books about 29 or 30 in the Autumn card magic, which is my first one and the rest are memory for the public and all of them are right.
Android's first. Wow. It's like couldn't hand right if I could ride them. So that's the way I do it. I'm not saying that's the best way or if that's what I know every Rider does but that's what I do. I hand-write them. Then, you know, the last few books I wrote I did on the computer, but it took a bunch of people friends of mine talking me into it and it still scares the heck out of me because I'm a first time.
Writer in handwriting then. I used to type it on the old Royal typewriter. As you know, where you had to have strengthen your fingers to do it, but obviously that's changed with computers. So now as I go into the computer with what I had handwritten I edit as I type it in and like I say, I'm a first-time Rider and computer scared the heck out of me.
I don't want to. So write it again. So every chapter I right. Hey, I send it to somebody who archives it for me and be I printed out I don't want in case the computer crashes on the I don't want to lose what I've written of course and that's a great Habit to have as well. Oh, yeah, it scares the heck out of me.
So I'm very careful about that rightfully. So I would say I think we've all lost files in the past. Listen, you know, what changed my life. Let me give you a little story. I don't know how much time you have. I have all the time in the world for you Harry. I'll give you another pivot point I mentioned to you repeatedly before that.
My first love was called Magic that changed my life. Okay, I was the shyest most people that I talk about this they left they say they can't be I was the shyest kid in the world. I mean, shy to the point of sickness like mother like son I got. From my mother. She was the kind of woman that he was on a railroad track and the train was coming did she'd be too shy to yell help for god sakes and I was the same way.
I never made eye contact. I never spoke to people unless they spoke to me first until again when I was about ten and a half 11 years old a park counselor. We used to go that are after school to play shuffleboard and. Ping-pong and things like that that ping-ponged play outside paddle tennis. So one day it was a rainy day and he didn't know how to keep us occupied.
So he showed us a card trick. Mmm that changed my life because in my mind I said, oh boy if I could do that and I was too shy to ask him how he did it because I didn't realize that you don't ask somebody how we didn't take the not going to tell you anyway, you know. Well, anyway, I ran home. I stole some dope buckles given for deposit two pennies each cycle by a deck of cards and see if I can work this trick out my did and the reason I mentioned this to how do I change my life cause it took me out of that?
Terrible cage of shyness that I was in because now when I never spoke to anybody before I had to say at least three words if I wanted to do a card trick I had to say pick a card for God's sake John I had to talk to people it just changed my life now. I started to become very good. Well, I must be I29 books on the subject.
But going back many decades when I was about 18 19 years old. I was doing what's called table magic and a night Corner was Billy Reid's little Corbin was called where I would go from table to table and do magic. It's okay and most of the stuff I did was card stuff but remembers about biting years old and one day a famous actor Will thing this at the time this thing was Victor jewelry.
I don't know how many people know it now big teacher. He played Howard. Tell us Farmer in the movie Miracle Worker in which my closest friend and Bancroft who died many years ago. But she got her first Academy Award in 1962 for playing Helen Keller's teacher Annie Sullivan. Anyway, Victor Jory played your father.
He was well known at the time anyway. He came into the little club with a friend the lady friend and he has for me. It's easy was interested in Magic had I did some stuff to him and he liked it very much and a few days later. He came in with and some a friend of male friend this time and he said Harry I want you to do some of these things to my friend and.
One of the things that I wanted to do with leakage or because he kept coming in. This happened three four five times I wanted to do at least one trick each time that mr. Jory hadn't seen yet. And that's what I was doing. And the reason I'm telling you this eventually it got to the point where I ran out of tricks to do it's different.
Now, if you have any deck of cards that go on forever because I make things up as I go along but. When I was 19 years old around that time, so I was running out of things to do and I had been interested in memory work privately personally. I wanted to things that I did was called memory to remember cards and I said, all right.
Look I'm running out of sleight-of-hand tricks to do for mr. Jewelry. I'll do the memory that to me. It was like scraping the bottom of the barrel, you know. So anyway, I did it now. I'm going to explain the trick. I have your surgery pick up the deck and I say this is jewelry. Would you Shuffle deck so early?
He does I say now call them off to me and pretty quickly. So please so I understand that but he did and about you know, what? Three it about that speed. He calls off the whole deck and now I would say mr. Joey. Give me any number for want to 52 weeks a 17, I'd say the King of Hearts. He would come to the 17th cards.
I said don't mix them up but come to the 17 car that sure enough was the king of hearts or I would say give me any card. And you say the forest Fades I'd say that's the 32nd Connie would counsel it and there it was I did that a few times and then finally the end of the trick was this is Jerry. Do you played poker?
Yes. What is the. Let's turn you can get the bolt. He said a royal flush. I said, okay. Give me a suit clubs hearts Spades and diamonds. He said Spades. Okay. I said would you look at the 14th card 18th card 23rd card 42nd Claude and the 51st card he did and they would have fly Spades that ten Jack queen king Ace of Spades incredible.
Why am I telling you all this when I finished this trick? Vintage jewelry stood up started to applaud and in a loud voice everybody. Could he remember the name? It is called was the window clips to go Riley in the wall of the club. He said Harry the sleight-of-hand you could do it for me for the last couple of weeks the best I've ever seen fantastic, but what you just did and he started to Rave about the memory Jonathan and.
Yes change my life cause in my mind saying wait a minute. He's important because with the memory work that the sleight of hand I've been working on for years that changed my life. I realized that performing or doing memories of people was more important to do we caught tricks and probably more meaningful inapplicable.
I mean you've changed tens of millions of people's lives. I get letters from people he can't believe people on one of my infomercials that I mentioned before and if you go to my get I'm very naive with computers. I guess you call it my site. It's having a ring.com where it explains about the memory power course, one of the testimonials.
I have a few testimonials from lawyers and doctors who said they couldn't become lawyers and Doctors Without appointment system, but there's one. I'm proud of all of them. But one of them was name is Bob nor land and Al are LA and D. I know it very well cause like fluted will California tens of you won't want to got his letter because he said he had a stroke when he was 75 and the doctors told him that he wanted to things.
Unfortunately. He would never be able to remember anything again, and he said somebody told me about your memory cause Miss Lorraine and now listen to this my memory is better. Gun, it was before the stroke. He said it's a matter of fact. I do memory demonstrations for my Toastmasters Club. So I flew to California raise for a couple of camera people, you know, so I can get on film as I became one of the testimonials and by infomercial listen while I was first introduced.
To I'll drop a few name's Jonathan and I don't know if it works in your area of the world. I was introduced to have been Secretary of State Colin Powell. He was the same thing. You know, that doesn't yeah. Okay the Secretary of State. Well, I was introduced to him. I'm quoting now. He said he explained how we Lorraine and he threw his arms around me and he said, how are you?
Hello? Like to be a general and I was too much in order to say we can put that in writing survives, but that's what he said because he used my systems the mayor of New York the ex-mayor of New York. Mike Bloomberg uses my systems being exfoliates Commissioner of New York Raymond. Kelly uses my systems.
There are so many politicians a lot of them tell me don't mention my name because they don't want it known that they have great memories because they used a very low rate system of memory. And I asked him why did you say well we can under sit at a set of that at a congressional meeting or Senate hearing and when were asking questions we could never again say I don't remember it people not overuse your systems.
Yeah Among The Blood Oath not to use their names but there's so many politicians that is my systems and doctors and lawyers and people all over the world and the nitty-gritty about people who have had strokes and some people have told me. Hello, very careful, when they say these things Jonathan, let me say again.
I'm not a doctor. I had one year of high school. So I don't know but I've had other people who apparently are supposedly do know tell me that applying my systems can conceivably hold back. Alzheimer's now, I don't know whether that's true. Let me repeat again. I'm not a doctor but I get old I threw out many years ago when I moved out of New York City and I lived in a three-story townhouse many cartons of letters because you know who's in those days.
It wasn't emails that I get nowadays testimonials. They were snail mail, you know that I had. Cat that, I threw out caught and sold them from people all over the world to tell me I say their lives with my memory system. So, you know that helps make it all worthwhile Jonathan incredible. Listen, one of the main things I teach aside from substitute words or thoughts.
That means making a word like. Temples which means Greg fruit visible. How do you remember that? It means great food? Okay, I visualize the Moose I could picture a moose and I see a bunch of pimples all over the Moose Table moves pamplemousse, but how am I going to remember that? That means great ruler in French?
Well, As I go closer to that moose, I see that all these gigantic pimples are really great fruits. That's it. There's no way I'll ever forget it when I was in Portugal of God so many years ago in a friend who was bilingual. He spoke Portuguese and English took me to places that were grated suburbs that Taurus didn't go to it a people always spoke Portuguese and he said do you like clams and I said, yeah, I love him and he.
Pasties they were small, I guess typical for that area of the world in Portugal clamps and they were delicious and I love them and I asked my friend. What is the word for this meal these clients in Portuguese? So if you're not with me, I can ask him and he said the word for these crimes has amazed you whiz.
Well now how in the world am I going to remember that if I want to order these clams that the word is our measurements. Well, it will take me to a hundred times longer to tell interior than that. I did it in my mind. All I did was I visualize the gigantic clam come and got her to see walking toward me in his old dripping with dirt and seaweed, you know to take that comes out of the ocean and I looked at this clan and I said what on measures you is.
And I will never again forget that the word for climb. The Portuguese is the measures you see what I mean, Jonathan. Yeah. Absolutely. I teach the peg system. Listen the sound for to in my system is n and it always will be n and sound for want to stay in the Sun for three years am and Etc like teach this to.
Children, I'm talking about children eight. Nine years old in two minutes. Okay, because I give him a little memory aid of how to do that. The sound for one is T visualize our one perpendicular visualize the other night. I do this on a piece of paper. I show them and picture the other one way.
You're confident that Fosters a t so you'll never forget. That sound for one is T Tod? Okay, once you know the sounds for example. The science of to is end because the Titan small n has to downstroke. So it's easy to remember that the Sanford to was n and I start every word for a card with the first letter as it suits example any speed card the word for it will be S start with an S to Spade.
What would the word son? I visualize the Sun what could that possibly represent to me? When I'm thinking of cards? There's only one thing there are no choices to make here. No imagination involved here. Once you've made your picture of the sun because that starts with an S. That's paid moussaka to is end.
So it's the two Spades. That's all it could be. It's that quick. Haha, and you can do that with any card in the deck. That's why I have people write me say. Oh Harry. I'm remember the shuffle deck of cards now in about three minutes and things like that because I think this is my books sir. Yeah, you know, I think it comes down to everybody has their own methods.
We had you know Nelson dellis on the show the world record. Now, I think for a deck of cards is something in the vicinity of 24 seconds. Okay, you know it's just a matter of which systems work. It sounds you've adapted the major method, which I've never heard of doing it. It's very clever to adopt the major method of remembering.
Numbers of sounds two decks of cards because it is a lot faster. It's very fast. I love that little cottage in numbers, you know, absolutely. I like to what the pension system not for cards particularly. That's not the world kill what the world cares about Jonathan. They want to be able to read them but numbers how to remember the stock prices.
I had a guy write a book called trade of Victory. His name was. This perennial so everybody called him. The victim was called Trader Vic because he said he got his first job in the stock market because of my systems because they were interviewing people and in those days, you know, what ticket takes the CD are symbols of love.
Companies have things like that. He remembered 1600 company symbols. He did it for the guy who's interviewing him. The guy said you got the job for god sakes, you know, so that's what people care about that cards necessarily a lesser gamble on the glory about of our sad but my system teaches him like I say how to read and one bird numbers of any kind.
I had one letter from the guy kept it somewhere. He said, oh the snow or rain, I'd remembered pi to the fight. Thousands place using his systems and I said they really are you out of your mind goes against we could you do that because I could do it but I ain't gonna why in the world. Would I want to remember applied in the 5000 Place sir?
But, you know my Seasons you can do it. Go ahead and do whatever you like. Yeah remembering numbers. One of the things I did when I was running by classes many years ago. Because the way I used to work at people would send the $50 deposit. I think the course is $250 for eight lessons at that point back in the 1960s.
And the way it was sold the way he had enticements were these various fronts were we will not cancel you check your come to the first lesson if you want to leave and if you don't want to get you you for any reason we will give you back your check. It's a deadly I never gave back a check, but one of the things I did there I had one of my instructors today was Bob Elliot.
- Stand in front. They should let me demonstrate something for you. We had a Blackboard in the back and I had people call out digits to we had a horizontal roll twenty five digits and then I would look at them and say okay Bob. Can you give us those numbers and he Dracula morph forwards from beginning to the end and then they'd say okay big chucking don't backwards and he dragged him off backwards out.
I said soap steps didn't want you will learn to do in the third lesson, which they did. You know incredible. So I think we've gotten our audience salivating enough. What I wanted to ask you Harry is if people want to learn about these methods, you know, there are so many books you've written so many books so many people after you have written so many books.
Where is a good starting point what one or two books? Would you recommend people read? You know, you said you're still perfecting your going to write books until you get it right? Where should people start? Well, that doesn't mean two systems. That means my writing ability which people tell these pretty good.
I'm a pretty good teacher. You know, why it's another thing that the whole different area. I told you before I'm dyslexic and I once wrote an article because people ask me to do it about why. Bad things sometimes very good and I get two examples number one. I thought when I was a kid, I had a terrible memory and I did when I was a kid, so I had to buy systems if it wasn't for the fact that I had a terrible memory or for and I did I wouldn't have become who I became in my life.
See what I mean? So the bad there was good. The next bad thing is dyslexia. I'm dyslexic. It gets horses. I get older but by dyslexia weren't for me. You know why it made me a better teacher Jonathan because I teach is that everybody's like me know. And acuities I wrote my first book on called Magic which it seems has become a legend for some reason which is fine and it feeds my ego.
It's because as I was interested in Magic and growing a little older and I said, wait a minute, what does he mean I'm talking about the writer. Does he mean hold the deck face up or face down? Does it mean stick his finger in the middle of the deck what I'd say in other words derive the duties and As I Grew Older I said, you know, I think I could do it better.
And I did so there is that article I wrote about sometimes the bad things can become good things. So anyway, you're asking about books out there right now. I didn't many not allowed in some of the lot of print interested in student to want to get something for your kids that are students accepted cetera.
Super memory super student is still out there the most current book the wife's what I wrote is called ageless memory. My original title was the over 40 memory book. It's geared toward people with Michael ahead. Jonathan gray same systems. I teach gonna kind of geared toward older people. I don't remember that maybe a pills and how to remember what I took one wasn't posted, you know, so but the systems are the same.
I'll tell you if you don't mind me plug in something go to Harry lorayne. God come you got to spell the name, right? Of course Harry Lorraine magic.com and click on memory products and can see all the books on that subject that are now available that you can order right from their excellent and we will put a link to that in the show notes at becoming a superhuman.com / podcast.
So you guys don't have to worry our listeners don't have to worry about getting the spelling, right? Is there a why is there an I will put those links up there and everyone will get linked up to you. Mr. Harry lorayne. It has been such an honor and such a pleasure to not only hear your story is not only learn from you.
But also to personally thank you because without you I certainly wouldn't have a job. I certainly wouldn't be doing what I love doing which is teaching people how to read faster and learn more. Because without your work, I don't think someone would have discovered it and I don't think someone would have put in the time the 50 years of writing books by hand to get this information out there.
So people like me can come and teach it in different ways to different Generations. I appreciate you telling me that Jonathan I like the readings and you know, one of the things if you don't have time for this. Don't be one of the things I'm against and speed reading and years ago. I had one of those speed and there was a big speed drian company.
I don't want to mention names that said, oh we'll take you out of me. It's for so important. I had 12 year old student of mine and we had a challenge and my students. Close the book at the same time that the speed reading student comes the book, but he was the point they would won't test it out the information on that book and the person that did the speed reading got a terrible block.
Where is my 12 year old student got a hundred percent because he remembered everything. Yep. I said they closed the books at the same time. That's a lie by student do when a little longer the differences. He remembered everything wiznesky grading student did not and that's exactly where we start in our course.
We say look forget about speed reading for three weeks for three weeks. We're going to learn how to remember. That's it. Only then. Do you have the right to try and read any faster? Because if it's going in one ear and out the other or in one eye and out the year, it's not going to happen and to that we owe you and your methods which it sounds like have been trickled down to me through various teachers and through various people who've taught me over the years all originating from you.
So I really do appreciate it. My pleasure, sir. Thank you for saying so awesome. It has been such a pleasure to have you on the show. Mr. Harry. Lorayne possibly the greatest memory on the planet. Thank you. So good to talk to you Jonathan. Take care of you. Have a wonderful afternoon. YouTube goodbye.
Thanks for tuning into the becoming superhuman podcast for more great skills and strategies or four links to any of the resources mentioned in this episode visit w-w-w dot becoming a superhuman.com / podcast will see you next time.