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Ed Cooke is a dear friend and a Grandmaster of Memory. In 2010, he was interviewed by a journalist named Joshua Foer. Under Ed’s Yoda-like training, Joshua became the very next American Memory Champion in 2011. It took less than a year for Ed to transform a novice from unknown to world-class.
Aha… This interview explores Ed Cooke’s brilliant techniques (many of which I use), strategies, and practical philosophies. To boot, he’s also a wicked funny bastard! If you enjoyed the epic interviews with Kevin Kelly, Josh Waitzkin, or Maria Popova, you’ll love Ed. He’s one of a kind.
- Listen to it on iTunes.
- Stream it by clicking for Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
- Download both as MP3s by right-clicking and choosing “save as”: Part 1 here and Part 2 here.
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Scroll below for links and show notes…
Selected Links from the Episode
- Ed Cooke on Twitter (@tedcooke). Say hello!
- Learn more about Memrise
- Learn more about the World Memory Championships
- Moonwalking with Einstein by Joshua Foer
- Theory of Colours by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Read Tim’s thoughts on delayed philanthropy (and the reasons against it) – The Karmic Capitalist
- Spectacle by David Rockwell & Bruce Mau
- Station to Station by Doug Aitken
- In Praise of Idleness by Bertrand Russell
- Armando Iannucci and The Armando Iannucci Show
- Withnail and I
- Learn more about Sensory Substitution and Paul Bach-y-Rita
- Touching the Rock by John Hull
- The Blind Man Who Taught Himself to See by Michael Finkel
- The Joyous Cosmology by Alan Watts
- Is Trilled Smell Possible?
- How Tim and Ed were introduced, and what it takes to be a “grandmaster of memory” [5:02]
- The dynamic that produces rapid developments in speed and capability [8:15]
- The outcome of the unusual 4-Hour Chef memory competition [13:02]
- The story of winning the US memory championships and subsequently training Joshua Foer [21:02]
- Exploring the extraordinary skill of imagination [24:22]
- Memory techniques which can be utilized in everyday life [32:02]
- Recommendations for designing house parties based on memory techniques [39:02]
- Clarifying and finding objectivity…and the value thereof [41:47]
- Rapid-fire questions [47:45]
- Balancing intuition and analytical decision making [1:27]
- How to set up incentives to flog yourself into self-discipline and systems thinking [5:55]
- On merit and virtue [8:05]
- Contrasting homelessness with the strange selfishness of Silicon Valley [10:00]
- The conundrum of the Bill Gates model of philanthropy [18:25]
- What is financial security, and how does Ed Cooke define it? [24:20]
- Ed Cooke’s take on Burning Man [30:55]
- Quick fire theory about why Burning Man is the most brilliant institution in the world [32:20]
- How to extract the Burning Man experience for a group of 20? [41:40]
- Escaping existential doldrums [45:55]
- Balancing present-state mindfulness with building things [52:25]
- More rapid-fire questions [55:40]
- A specific defining moment from Ed Cooke’s childhood and the theory of exteroception [1:07:25]
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
- Monty Python
- Armando Iannucci
- Alan Partridge
- Withnail and I
- Kevin O’Regan
- Paul Bach-y-Rita
- Seymour Papert
- Daniel Kish
- Alan Watts
The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 500 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.