A writing life

The Memory Code   Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies

I am a science writer and Honorary Research Associate at LaTrobe University, Australia. My field of research is the memory methods used by those who depended on their memories for everything they knew: oral cultures including Australian Aboriginal, Native American, Pacific and African societies.

It is only the last few hundred years of Western society that memory methods and knowledge has not been highly valued. We have gained a great deal from literacy and technology, but we have lost our memory skills on the journey. We can do so much better by using our memories more effectively as well.

I also explore the impact of considering the necessity of memory methods to the prehistoric cultures when interpreting their ancient monuments such as Stonehenge, the Nasca Lines and the moai of Easter Island.

My most recent book is The Memory Code. It is written for a general audience and published in Australia by Allen & Unwin. It has been released as an audio book by Audible and published by Atlantic Books in the UK and Pegasus Books in the US. It is now available in traditional Chinese.

My academic book, Knowledge and Power in Prehistoric Societies is published by Cambridge University Press. Based on my PhD thesis, it gives the full academic justification for my theories about indigenous memory systems and archaeology.

I am also intrigued by the memory methods used in the early stages of literacy, in particular those of European classical and medieval cultures and those used across Asia.

I practice all these methods to ensure I really understand how they work. I am constantly shocked by how effective they can be and how applicable in contemporary society. Through working on my 35 memory experiments, I am committing vast amounts of information to memory. Given my pathetically poor natural memory, this is an exciting and surprising development from my research. It is also the theme of my new book, Unlocking the Memory Code, to be published by Allen & Unwin in April 2019.

I have ventured into the world of memory athletes. Competing in the 2017 Australian Memory Competitions, I took out the Australian Senior Memory Champion title. Less practical than most of my memory experiments, I am surprised that I actually enjoy memorising shuffled decks of cards and strings of random numbers in decimal and binary. I am training for the 2018 competitions.spiders-front-cov

My previous books include the popular science titles of Spiders: learning to love them, Crocodile and The Skeptic’s Guide to the Paranormal. I have one novel published, Avenging Janie, and ten books for education. More details below.

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Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality is an academic essay in open access e-book format on Indigenous knowledge systems and the implications for education. It is available here:

Grounded: Indigenous Knowing in a Concrete Reality, Rounded Globe, 2016.

With a background in engineering, physics, mathematics, information technology and gifted education, I have spent decades in teaching. A full Curriculum Vitae can be found here.

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9 Responses to A writing life

  1. Mark McGurgan says:

    I only recently discovered The Memory Code. I’ll share my ideas based on this book as they evolve. Theres a lot of work I have to do first. I just want to know when the book comes out that explains a practical application of The Memory Code.

    • lynne says:

      Hi Mark,

      I look forward to your response to ‘The Memory Code’. The new book expanding on the practical application will be published early in 2019. Sorry it is so long, but there is a lot of new material and I need to thoroughly test every method I talk about, not only the ones I talk about in ‘The Memory Code’.

      cheers,

      Lynne

      • Mark McGurgan says:

        Hi Lynne
        Thanks for replying. 2019 is great! it means i can read as much as possible on orality and internalize it. I teach music mostly to little people and I’d like to apply these techniques in my teaching as well as in my eveyday life. The Memory Code has been a trigger to another pathway through, making me a better teacher and helping me know a whole heap of stuff. I fugure thats what we’re here for
        Kind Regards
        Mark

        • lynne says:

          Hi Mark,

          I am absolutely convinced that teaching these methods to school children is an essential application of my ideas. Indigenous people have been doing it for tens of thousands of years for every good reasons!

          Let me know how it goes.

          cheers,

          Lynne

  2. Hedley Finger says:

    I went to Amazon where the ‘Spider woman’ book is listed but not available. How do I get it?

    Regards,
    Hedley

  3. Graham Old says:

    Hi Lynne,

    I’ve seen you over at the mnemotechnics forum.

    I wonder if there is a place where you’ve listed your 52 ‘ancestors’ for playing cards? I love the idea of my 52 characters being useful memorable items themselves – and possible pegs for further info.

    Thanks,

    Graham

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