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This book review explores the Seven Sins of Memory and how the mind forgets and remembers.

The Seven Sins Of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers – by Dr. Daniel Schacter

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As we get older, we often become more forgetful—despite remembering many things clearly from decades past. Why?

Dr. Daniel Shacter takes us on a tour of the brain, and also through evolution, to show how memory is not just one thing, but many. And furthermore, it’s not just our vast memory that’s an evolutionary adaptation, but also, our capacity to forget.

He does also discusses disease that affect memory, including Alzheimer’s, and explores the biological aspects of memory too.

The “seven sins” of the title are seven ways our (undiseased, regular) memory “lets us down”, and why, and how that actually benefits us as individuals and as a species, and/but also how we can modify that if we so choose.

The book’s main strength is in how it separates—or bids us separate for ourselves—what is important to us and our lives and what is not. How and why memory and information processing are often at odds with each other (and what that means for us). And, on a practical note, how we can tip the scales for or against certain kinds of memory.

Bottom line: if you’d like to better understand human memory in all its glorious paradoxes, and put into place practical measures to make it work for you the way you want, this is a fine book for you.

Click here to check out The Seven Sins of Memory, and get managing yours!

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