A fascinating exploration of the intricacies of how we remember, why we forget, and what we can do to protect our memories, from the Harvard-trained neuroscientist and bestselling author of Still Alice.
Have you ever felt a crushing wave of panic when you can’t for the life of you remember the name of that actor in the movie you saw last week, or you walk into a room only to forget why you went there in the first place? If you’re over forty, you’re probably not laughing. You might even be worried that these lapses in memory could be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. In reality, for the vast majority of us, these examples of forgetting are completely normal. Why? Because while memory is amazing, it is far from perfect. Our brains aren’t designed to remember every name we hear, plan we make, or day we experience. Just because your memory sometimes fails doesn’t mean it’s broken or succumbing to disease. Forgetting is actually part of being human.
In Remember, neuroscientist and acclaimed novelist Lisa Genova delves into how memories are made and how we retrieve them. You’ll learn whether forgotten memories are temporarily inaccessible or erased forever and why some memories are built to exist for only a few seconds (like a passcode) while others can last a lifetime (your wedding day). You’ll come to appreciate the clear distinction between normal forgetting (where you parked your car) and forgetting due to Alzheimer’s (that you own a car). And you’ll see how memory is profoundly impacted by meaning, emotion, sleep, stress, and context. Once you understand the language of memory and how it functions, its incredible strengths and maddening weaknesses, its natural vulnerabilities and potential superpowers, you can both vastly improve your ability to remember and feel less rattled when you inevitably forget. You can set educated expectations for your memory, and in doing so, create a better relationship with it. You don’t have to fear it anymore. And that can be life-changing.
‘Using her expertise as a neuroscientist and her gifts as a storyteller, Genova explains the nuances of human memory. As with her previous books, this is an engaging and edifying read.’ Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works
‘No one writes more brilliantly about the connections between the brain, the mind, and the heart. Remember is a beautiful, fascinating, and important book about the mysteries of human memory—what it is, how it works, and what happens when it is stolen from us. A scientific and literary treat that you will not soon forget.’ Daniel Gilbert, Edgar Pierce Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, New York Times bestselling author of Stumbling on Happiness
‘In Remember, Lisa Genova provides easy-to-follow, no nonsense advice on how to maximize one of the greatest outputs of your brain—memory. But, more important, she also lets us know that while memory is a tremendous gift, the real you is much more than just what you can remember!’ Rudolph E. Tanzi, PhD, professor of neurology, Harvard Medical School, coauthor of The Healing Self
'Neuroscientist and novelist Genova (Still Alice) delivers a solid primer on the way memory works and fails to work…Genova blends popular science and self-help, providing lay reader-friendly descriptions of the function of memory and sharing tips for better memory in a helpful appendix ...This accessible survey is an easy entry point for anyone wondering how and why they keep forgetting where they left their car keys.' Publishers Weekly