Mattias Ribbing is a Swedish author, lecturer, and Grand Master of Memory. I had the pleasure of meeting him at the 2016 Bulletproof Conference and was blown away by his highly effective methods and positive attitude. Contrary to what most people would assume, Mattias isn’t a savant and wasn’t born with extraordinary cognitive skills. He had average grades at school and struggled to remember what he had studied like almost everyone else. It wasn’t until he was 29 that he developed his impressive ability to remember. The secret, he discovered, was thinking in images. By visualizing specific 3-D images during a lecture, reading a book, or learning a new language, he created a memorable visual context that his brain could then attach the information to and more easily recall.

Mattias demonstrated just how effective this technique can be at the conference by trying something he had never done. He gave a copy of the Sunday edition of The Wall Street Journal and The Los Angeles Times to two random members of the audience and asked them to pick any page in each newspaper. He then described in surprising detail the contents of that page completely from memory. He read the newspapers that morning once and only once, and all of this was done in his non-native language of English. He joked that, “A sane person would probably want to test something like this in their first language first and not on the main stage of a big conference.”

In the interview, Mattias shares how to apply his powerful memory techniques to language learning, Japanese kanji, and even daily life.

Show Notes

  • Kanji for “above”:
  • Effective memory techniques make you more free to focus on the moment in conversations, interviews, etc.
  • You can decide to store memories in “temp” folders or in well-organized long-term memory folders.
  • Traditional rote learning is like throwing random, disorganized files onto your computer desktop without names, folders, etc.
  • Thinking in images helps you focus on the moment because it provides something concrete to attach your focus to.
  • Reviewing images is much faster than reviewing words.

Learn More about Mattias

You can learn more about Mattias, check out his courses, and more at


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