Adam Grant — How to Remember Anything (#471)

A scattered pile of playing cards.
Photo by Jack Hamilton on Unsplash.

“Those who can’t remember the past are doomed to miss opportunity.” 

—Adam Grant

Please enjoy this special episode of The Tim Ferriss Show, featuring the superhuman Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) and his podcast with TED, WorkLife.

Many of you have heard my interview with Adam, which was one of the most popular interviews of 2019. I titled that podcast “The Man Who Does Everything” because Adam seems to accomplish more than the next 10 people combined, and he has built systems and habits that allow him to do this. 

Adam is an expert in how we can find motivation and meaning, and lead more generous and creative lives. He is an organizational psychologist at Wharton, where he has been the top-rated professor for seven straight years. He is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of four books that have been translated into 35 languages: Give and Take, Originals, Option B, and Power Moves. His TED talks have been viewed more than 20 million times. His speaking and consulting clients include Google, the NBA, and the Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as one of the world’s 10 most influential management thinkers, is one of Fortune’s 40 under 40, and a World Economic Forum Young Global Leader. He’s received distinguished scientific achievement awards from the American Psychological Association and the National Science Foundation. It goes on and on. The good news is that this isn’t all freakish genes and good luck; Adam uses uncommon tools and strategies for getting all of this done. You can find our previous episode about this at

In Adam’s WorkLife podcast, he takes you inside the minds of some of the world’s most unusual professionals to explore the science of making work not suck; put another way, how do you make work actually work for you? 

Adam and I share an intense interest in just how far—and easily—you can train your memory to do things that seem impossible, and I wanted to share with you an episode from Adam’s podcast titled “How to remember anything.” It is highly tactical.

One last thing—for legal reasons, we didn’t have the flexibility to remove any mid-roll ads, so… Accenture, this one’s on me.

Please enjoy the episode! You can subscribe to WorkLife with Adam Grant wherever you get your podcasts.

Listen to the episode on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Overcast, StitcherCastbox, Google Podcasts, or on your favorite podcast platform.

This episode is brought to you by “5-Bullet Friday.”  

The transcript of this episode can be found here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

#471: Adam Grant — How to Remember Anything

This episode is also brought to you by “5-Bullet Friday,” my very own email newsletter, which every Friday features five bullet points of cool things I’ve found that week, including apps, books, documentaries, gadgets, albums, articles, TV shows, new hacks or tricks, and—of course—all sorts of weird stuff I’ve dug up from around the world. 

It’s free, it’s always going to be free, and you can subscribe now at

Want to hear my interview with Adam Grant? Check out our conversation in which we explore the importance of feedback, how Adam gets so much done in a day, his measurements of success, and blind spots vs. bright spots.

#399: Adam Grant — The Man Who Does Everything

QUESTION OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.


  • Connect with Adam Grant:

Website | WorkLife Podcast | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 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.

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3 Replies to “Adam Grant — How to Remember Anything (#471)”

  1. This podcast from Adam Grant is life changing and a true boost to anyone’s bottom line. Can’t thank you enough for sharing it with us. Imagine… having a great memory isn’t just a skill with which you were (Or weren’t) born, it’s also a skill that can be easily acquired!

    1. Another inspiring and empowering podcast. Thanks Tim & team. Question, how to memorize for acupuncture points? I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by how to build a memory palace for the points in pin yin, chinese characters, western numbers, anatomy, purpose of the points etc. Suggetions?

      1. Off the cuff suggestions: asking the function for each point, the purposes of why and where each needle is going into, linking numbers together from point to point, and as for Chinese characters imaging or think of using pictorial-graph for each character (drawing them out /practice) and most importantly have lots fun for example imagine yourself as the patient receiving your own acupuncture treatment and ask what outcome do you expect to happen. Very busy learning and super exciting but dead serious as well. Best of luck to you and remember to let your memories serve you and not the other way around. In all seriousness besides TF’s podcast, Adam Grant’s TED recording (straight to 29:38) listens for “you can start with three steps.”