Anthony Metivier is the founder of the Magnetic Memory Method, the host of the Magnetic Memory Method Podcast, and the creator of the Magnetic Memory Masterclass.

He has refined his memory techniques learning a number of languages, including Biblical Hebrew, German, Mandarin Chinese, and Sanskrit, and has gone on to teach thousands of learners how to maximize their memories and create unforgettable associations.

I like that his approach combines proven ancient principles with modern brain research, while focusing on practical application (e.g. remembering foreign language vocabulary) instead of impressive but ultimately useless memory feats (e.g. memorizing decks of cards or long strings of numbers).

Anthony is a truly fascinating man with a wide range of interests and insights, and I think you will get a lot out of our conversation.

Topics Discussed

  • How stress and depression first pulled Anthony into the wild world of memory and mnemonics.

“I realized that if I could memorize a deck of cards, I could memorize anything.”

  • How Anthony applied memory techniques and mnemonics to learn Biblical Hebrew and German.
  • How memory palaces transform 3D space into a powerful mnemonic device.
  • Why memory techniques ultimately reduce cognitive load (despite requiring an upfront investment of extra time and energy).
  • How Anthony uses vocabulary as the “anchor” for phrases and grammar in his memory palaces.
  • Similarities between learning music and languages (especially in “dedicated practice” of “bars”).
  • How memory palaces provide spaced repetition without technological distortion or interference.
  • The pros and cons of spaced repetition tools, and the key difference between passive recognition and active production.
  • How to creative strong, rapid memories (i.e. how to build more layers of myelin) through “KAVE COG” associations (Kinesthetic, Auditory, Visual, Emotional, Conceptual, Olfactory, and Gustatory).
  • How to use mind maps to improve memory, refine thinking, and unlock creativity.
  • Why difficulty can actually improve memory.

“The way we get ourselves to remember is to work at recall.”

  • Why such memory techniques have survived the test of time.
  • The many ways in which memory palaces and mnemonics are “joy inducing.”
  • Anthony’s responses to the common myths about memory, language learning, etc.
  • How Anthony uses mnemonics and memory palaces to learn Chinese characters and tones.
  • The importance of movement and dynamism in one’s mental imagery and mnemonics.
  • How to best structure your time and increase focus.
  • Anthony’s daily learning routine and the basic principles he applies to all language learning endeavors.
  • The pros and cons of digital vs. analog approaches.
  • The critical role of sleep and nutrition in learning and consolidation.
  • A live, unrehearsed, step-by-step example of creating a mnemonic story using a memory palace.
  • Why you should physically draw your memory palace on paper.
  • How to translate slippery numbers into sticky words and images.
  • Why we are so good at remembering stories, and how stories are really just about space and movement.

“The greatest is space, for it holds all things.” ―Thales of Miletus (Μέγιστον τόπος· ἄπαντα γὰρ χωρεῖ. Megiston topos: apanta gar chorei.)

  • How memory palaces let you relive beautiful moments and overcome painful experiences.
  • Why you should stick with a teacher or method for at least 90 days before trying another.

Concepts, People, Resources & Words Mentioned

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