Why them and not us? “Them” meaning those with hypermnesia, phenomenal powers of recall. Some remember every moment of their lives. Others, such as the American Kim Peek (who was the inspiration for the central character in Rain Man), memorized 12,000 books. Some have eidetic memoires, otherwise known as photographic memories. Austistes savants, such as the Englishman Daniel Dennett, can accurately recite the first 22,514 decimals of Pi. They crop up in every field: they may be musical geniuses like Mozart who had the very rare (and enigmatic) gift known as perfect pitch; or master perfumers, the great “noses” of perfumery such as Therry Vasser, of Guerlain, who admits to having memorized 3,000 different essences. They often show up in the world of politics: Bill Clinton is said to have an exceptional memory and the dictator Ferdinand Marcos could recite the 1835 Filipino constitution both backwards and forwards.
Using these extraordinary stories, the author explores the secrets of this valuable but still little understood ability: memory. Will infinite developments of the internet render it useless? Will we all be CAHs, computer-assisted hypermnesiacs? Does human memory still have valuable things to offer us?
This book is based mostly on numerous exclusive interviews with neuropsychologists such as Francis Eustache, the greatest memory specialist in France, the psychologist Muriel Salmona, who helped hypermnesiac victims of the Bataclan terrorist attack, and Jacques Attali, who is hypermensiac himself; but it reads like a novel and also considers the virtues of forgetting…
infaillible, des calculateurs prodiges récitent sans se tromper plus de vingt mille décimales du nombre . On retrouve aussi ce don chez les grands « nez » du
parfum, chez beaucoup de politiques ou chez les musiciens de génie comme Mozart. Ponctué de témoignages et d’entretiens exclusifs avec des neuropsychologues, ce livre aborde le passionnant sujet de la mémoire sous un angle totalement inédit. Et nous projette dans notre futur : serons-nous tous des hypermnésiques assistés par ordinateur ? Ou bien notre mémoire biologique a-telle encore de précieux services à nous rendre ?