Memory Craft

Memory Craft is available from all good bookshops. Left is the Australian and European edition (Allen & Unwin) and on the right is the North American Edition (Pegasus Books).

*** It is also available from BookDepository or and BookTopia (Australian orders) among many other sites. ***

WAVESOUND AUDIOBOOK of MEMORY CRAFT: The PDF for the images can be dowloaded here. All captions and credits are in the recording.

Memory Craft : Improve Your Memory Using the Most Powerful Methods and Tools from Around the World

Allen & Unwin Publisher Blurb:

Our brain is a muscle. Like our bodies, it needs exercise. In the last few hundred years, we have stopped training our memories and we have lost the ability to memorise large amounts of information.

Memory Craft introduces the best memory techniques humans have ever devised, from ancient times and the Middle Ages, to methods used by today’s memory athletes. Lynne Kelly has tested all these methods in experiments which demonstrate the extraordinary capacity of our brains at any age.

For anyone who needs to memorise a speech or a play script, learn anatomy or a foreign language, or prepare for an exam, Memory Craft is a fabulous toolkit. It offers proven techniques for teachers to help their students learn more effectively. There are also simple strategies for anyone who has trouble remembering names or dates, and for older people who want to keep their minds agile. Above all, memorising things can be playful, creative and great fun.


Weaving the deep history of memory techniques along with the techniques themselves, Memory Craft is a memory book like no other I’ve ever read.‘ – Nelson Dellis, four times USA Memory Champion 

With her infectious enthusiasm and depth of personal experience, Dr Lynne Kelly teaches us how we too can memorise anything…[and] potentially protect our memories from decline as we age.’ – Dr Meredith McKague, University of Melbourne

‘The narrative covers the ground well and entertains as it travels. Of benefit to anyone seeking to remember a scrap of information for more than a couple of minutes.’ Kirkus Reviews

‘Memory Craft is the best practical book on memory training.’ Anthony Metivier, host of the Magnetic Memory podcast

Memory Craft provides a comprehensive understanding of man’s earliest and most powerful survival tool, memory.’ Dominic O’Brien, eight times World Memory Champion

Memory Craft is captivating and well worth reading and re-reading. You will discover a wide variety of inventive, fun to use and surpris­ingly powerful techniques that may very well end up changing your life.’ Francis Blondin, two times Canadian Memory Champion

Memory Craft is essential reading for anyone interested in memory improvement techniques. Highly recommended.’ Josh Cohen, co-founder,

‘A tour de force in memory techniques ranging from medieval mnemonics to the latest strategies and heuristics used by world-leading memory champions. The book shows that memory can be learned and trained with a wealth of examples and routines that can be practised by anyone.’ Professor Todd Landman, Pro Vice Chancellor of the Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nottingham

‘Readers can readily implement her ideas and train themselves to use these mnemonic devices just as the ancient ones may have done so long ago. Shelf Awareness (Praise for The Memory Code)

‘Entertaining, educational, fun and has easy to follow methods so everyone can learn how to increase their own memory capacity.’ Carolyn Tavener, Principal, Malmsbury Primary School


Introduction 1
What you’ll learn
Why memorise?

Chapter 1: A medieval starting place
Medieval memory arts
Visual alphabets
My visual alphabet
Memorising anything, from a shopping list to a speech
Medieval bestiaries
My bestiary for memorising names

Chapter 2: Creating a memory palace
The first written record of memory palaces
Australian Aboriginal songlines
Creating a memory palace for the countries of the world
Memory palaces in history
The modern tale of Solomon Shereshevsky and Alexander Luria
Virtual memory palaces
Continuous memory palaces—my History Journey
Why absolutely everywhere needs a name
My History Journey
Mnemonic verses
Dominic’s Rule of Five

Chapter 3: Stories, imagination and the way your brain works
Indigenous knowledge systems
Memory and the human brain
Exceptional memorisers are made, not born
Putting it all together—learning foreign languages
Learning French
Songs reworded
Memory palaces everywhere
Memorising vocabulary isn’t enough
Classes, textbooks and online courses
A very different language: Chinese
Chinese and me
I chose my hook, the radicals
A final realisation

Chapter 4: Characters, characters everywhere
Māori ancestors
Introducing rapscallions
My cultural ancestors
Ancestors in the History Journey
The Dominic System for numbers
Characters in the stars

Chapter 5: Weird and wonderful portable memory aids
The lukasa of the Luba people
Encoding the birds
Adapting for change
Memory boards galore
Ceremonial cycle balls
Genealogies in wood
My genealogy staves
Objects acting on a tiny stage
The memory device which never leaves: your body
Astronomy in the palm of my hands
Wearing your memory aids as jewellery
Knot your strings into a personal khipu

Chapter 6: When art becomes writing
When and what was the first writing?
The starting of the art-to-writing story
Tibetan mandalas as a memory palace
My mandalas for science and law
Are they mnemonic symbols or are they writing?
From art to writing in China
My narrative scroll: the story of timekeeping
From Sumer to the world
Lessons from Greco-Roman times

Chapter 7: Lessons from the Middle Ages
The art changes purpose
Medieval lesson 1: Make every part of your page look different
Medieval lesson 2: Add emotion to everything
Medieval lesson 3: Lay your information out in grids
Medieval lesson 4: Give character to abstract concepts
Medieval lesson 5: Break it down into small portions
Medieval lesson 6: Separate those short portions on the page
Medieval lesson 7: As always, use memory palaces
Medieval lesson 8: Meditate upon your memory palaces
Medieval lesson 9: Decorate your walls, but do it systematically
Medieval lesson 10: Leave room on your notes for additions
Medieval lesson 11: Add playful little drawings
My medieval manuscript on timepieces
Memory treatises of the Renaissance

Chapter 8: Learning in school and throughout life
Permanent memory palaces for all students
Using the same memory palace for science and fine arts
Using song, stories and the wonderful rapscallions
Let’s sing, dance and make musical memories
Memorising word for word
Memorising in mathematics
Memorising equations
So much to memorise: medicine and law

Chapter 9: Does memory have to decline when you age?
Is memory loss normal?
What is dementia?
Memory palaces and dementia
The power of music and memories
Prevention is better than a cure (which doesn’t yet exist anyway)
Dementia and identity
A winter count for your life

Chapter 10: Memory athletes battle it out
The disciplines
Memorising a shuffled deck of cards
Adding an action and object to your person
A haunting fear of ghosts
Memorising numbers
Sidetracking to memorising pi
Memorising strings of 1 and 0
Fictional Dates
Names and Faces
Random Images
Random Words
The glamour event: Speed Cards
Australian Memory Champion, Anastasia Woolmer
The impact of training on concentration

Appendix A: Table of Memory Methods x
Appendix B: Bestiary
Appendix C: Prehistory Journey
Appendix D: My chosen ancestors

I am delighted that the audiobook of Memory Craft is now published. It is available from Booktopia and (Australia) and for overseas, plus many other locations. The PDF for the images can be downloaded here.

Memory Craft audiobook

The audio book had the usual lovely boost on publication. Thank you so much to those who pre-ordered and gave it the lovely #1 Best Seller (in a category) icon!

The book was read by actress Louise Siversen who also recorded The Memory Code. Many people thought it was me reading, she sounds similar. The difference is that she sounds professional! I went to the Wavesound studios to meet Louise and discuss pronunciation details. She is an absolute delight and I am very proud that she agreed to do Memory Craft.

The photo is of Louise and me in the studio.

Louise Siversen and me in the recording studio

Share on Share on FacebookPin on PinterestPrint this pageTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone