Dominic O’Brien is An 8-time world memory champion and author of many memory related books. He held the Guinness world world record in 2002 for memorizing and reciting 2808 playing cards in order and works as a trainer for peak performance training.

 

Here is our Q&A that we conducted with Dominic O’Brien

 

When was the “Aha” moment for Dominic O’Brien that he knew that he
found a breakthrough in memorization?

Some days after experimenting with playing card memorisation in 1987. Although I had created card characters I realised that a journey was the best way to keep them in sequence. hence the birth of what I call “The Journey Method”


(the Journey method) requires you to string words to numbers and come up with a story in order to be fully etched in the mind, do you mind sharing the funniest or most amusing one that you came up with?
The Journey Method involves designing a familiar route with interesting stops or stages along the way. Some of the associations and connections to specific places are not so much funny as ironic. For example, seeing a tee-totaller getting drunk at a bar which could represent the number 34 60

A recommendation of fiction or non-fiction books out of Dominic’s personal favorites. 
The non-fiction book “The Memory Code” by Dr Lynne Kelly. After studying my techniques she had her own eureka moment whilst staring at the Stonehenge circle. The quite possibly the stones themselves were memory devices: a theory that now makes complete sense to me. She calls these neolithic monuments, “Memory Spaces”.

Has Dominic ever forgotten an anniversary date?
Quite frequently, including my wedding anniversary.

How do you mentally prepare before a serious competition like the Memory championships? Do you have any rituals?
I abstain from alcohol  and I don’t use any of my journeys – both a couple of weeks beforehand

Out of the 8 memory championships you have won, which one in particular are you most proud of? (we assume you’re proud of them all and rightly so, but is there one that stands out from the rest?)
It has to be the first one in 1991. It was literally life-changing as I left my job at Stansted airport and became a “Memory man” which was then to be my profession.

Is Dominic planning on going for a La Decima (10 memory championship titles)?
I don’t think I will compete at the adult level. However, I am competing as a “Senior” which is age sixty and over. I have won the World Senior title for the past three years.

What is the biggest misconception you hear from people with regards to memory?
That memorising too much can exhaust your memory capacity – a computer memory storage analogy. For humans, the opposite is true. the more one memories, the more storage one enables

What’s next for Dominic O’Brien? (Are you planning on competing for a title, a new Guinness record, new book?)
Retaining my senior Championship title, breaking records in that category, and developing online training.

Final words you’d like to add (Promotional)
My online training course should be available later this year. No title as yet.

Thank you for being our first guest at the Entelechist Q&A!
My pleasure.
We would like to thank Dominic O’Brien and wish him the best of luck in retaining his title.
You can follow Dominic O’Brien on Twitter at @MemoryDom
https://peakperformancetraining.org/ where you can also see Dominic’s Youtube video of him memorizing and reciting 50 random objects blindfolded!