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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