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Cover for Remember


The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting

Lisa Genova


List Price: 26.99*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Digital Audiobook (3/22/2021)
Library Binding, Large Print (8/11/2021)


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • 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.

“Using her expertise as a neuroscientist and her gifts as a storyteller, Lisa Genova explains the nuances of human memory”—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, author of How the Mind Works

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.

Praise For Remember: The Science of Memory and the Art of Forgetting

“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 YorkTimes 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
“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

“Genova’s plentiful anecdotes from her personal and professional lives make it easy for readers to relate, and her obvious expertise in memory and the brain results in a book that is more insightful than many others on the subject. Sharp writing and accessible storytelling make for a compelling read.”Kirkus Reviews

“Brain science is deciphering the mysteries of memory, and no one is better positioned to tell the electrifying story than Dr. Genova, with her scientist’s eye and poet’s ear. A book you won’t forget.”—David Eagleman, neuroscientist, Stanford University, New York Times bestselling author

“This user-friendly account is very informative and should encourage and comfort concerned readers.”Booklist

“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

Harmony, 9780593137956, 272pp.

Publication Date: March 23, 2021

About the Author

Lisa Genova is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Still Alice, Left Neglected, Love Anthony, Inside the O'Briens, and Every Note Played. Still Alice was adapted into an Oscar-winning film starring Julianne Moore, Alec Baldwin, and Kristen Stewart. Lisa graduated valedictorian from Bates College with a degree in biopsychology and holds a PhD in neuroscience from Harvard University. She travels worldwide speaking about the neurological diseases she writes about and has appeared on The Dr. Oz Show, Today, PBS NewsHour, CNN, and NPR. Her TED talk, “What You Can Do To Prevent Alzheimer's,” has been viewed more than five million times.

Conversation Starters from

1. Did you imagine the penny at beginning of the book? Did you envision it with 100% accuracy?If not, why did you misremember what a penny looks like even though you’ve seen one hundreds of times?

2. The author suggests that because we remember what we pay attention to, we might want to be mindful about what we focus on. What do you pay attention to? Might that change now, having readthe book?

3. What are some things you remember from ten, twenty, thirty years ago? Having read Remember, why do you think you’ve retained these experiences and information and not others?

4. List some things you can do based on “muscle memory.” What did it take to create thosememories/abilities?

5. Flashbulb memories are memories for experiences that carried big emotion, were highly unexpected, felt personal, and can be vividly recalled years later. Do you have any flashbulb memories?

6. Memories for what happened can change over time and with each recall. Might some of your memories have drifted from how events actually played out?

7. Why do we experience more “tip of the tongue” moments with proper names, titles, and places versus regular nouns?

8. Prospective memory is your memory for what you intend to do later, and all human brains are poorly designed for this kind of recall. What kinds of external aids can you use to augment your prospective memory (dis)ability?

9. We tend to villainize forgetting. Has your perspective on forgetting changed? In what instances might forgetting be beneficial? Where can you relax?

10. How much sleep do you get? Knowing how essential a good night’s sleep is for memory, are you reconsidering your nighttime routine or changing your sleep habits?

11. What’s your biggest takeaway from the book?

12. Has your relationship with your memory changed? How so?