Never Eat Shredded Wheat: Weird Ways to Remember Things – James M. Russell


Our memories are mysterious things. One moment we might remember a lengthy poem or the exact street address of a restaurant from our childhood. But the next moment we can struggle to recall where we’ve put our keys down or the name of the person we have just been introduced to. The human mind is not terribly good at remembering abstract data – but we can do it much more successfully if we create associations with more relatable bits of information, such as familiar people, places, colours, poems or jokes.

The mnemonics that many of us learned as children are simply a shortcut to help locate information within your memory. For instance, rather than remember that the clockwise order of the points of the compass is North, East, South, West, we remember the mnemonic ‘Never Eat Shredded Wheat’, and the combination of humour and a visual reference provides an instant cue for our brains. 

This book is a cornucopia of mnemonics. Amusing as well as informative, it includes well-known examples that you might remember from school, some of which have been in use for centuries, as well as more recent ones and alternatives to the traditional versions. Ranging across history, science, language, numbers, business, art and much, much more, the mnemonics included here provide quick easy access to a vast amount of fascinating and useful information. In addition, there are sections on working out your own methods and systems to augment the existing mnemonics with your own aides-mémoire, which can help you with everyday tasks such as avoiding common misspellings, or remembering names, faces and numbers.


A very compact (184 pages), useful and engaging book.

It’s jam-packed full of useful ways of remembering facts (and the facts themselves!)

It’s split into sections as below;

About memory itself,
British history,
number tricks and easy maths,
calendars, geography and maths,
grammar and language,
world history,
science and astronomy,
music and art,
first aid an emergency,
inspiration for business,
commonly misspelled words.

I found the maths, grammar and misspelled words to be the most interesting and useful. I’ve actually taken note of a few in hopes of using them in my day to day life.

Would make a perfect gift, toilet/waiting room book or handbag/bedside table book. Great for dipping in and out of!

Would recommend 5/5.


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