What is your first impression of this book's title ? Quick !

Mine was: what an arrogant title, we jews always think that we are smarter than everybody else. Your impression must have been pretty much the same (for many "we" would be replaced by "these/they" though). I decided to read it because I liked the author's previous book: "Secret of a great memory".

That book actually taught me some neat tricks to remember stuff better. For example, using a technique I read there I memorized 50 numbers and could recall them in order, or in reverse order. So, I decided to take on this book too and see what it can offer.

Well, in short - it's not nearly as good as the first book, but is decent nonetheless. The author tells a story, most probably imagined, about his and his friends journey of discovery of various ancient Jewish techniques of learning and memorizing. Prejudices aside, but many nations and civilizations has risen and fallen, but the Jews are here, still, after thousands of years, the same religion, tradition and holy books.

Various people the author and his friend "meet" tell them about many tricks of studying/learning/memorizing and even doing business. Many ideas from his first book are reiterated, which is bad if you read that one. What I liked a lot is the humorous style... the book is mostly funny and in some places even hillarious. The contact between ortodox Jews and a guy whose business is selling t-shirts in psychodelic colors creates a lot of funny situations.

This book didn't teach me anything new, cause all the good stuff was neatly summarized in Katz' first book. It did however give me a glimpse into the Jewish tradition, an objective glimpse from a different angle. I think I have a little more respect for the tradition and the traditional people now, but still there are many things I don't agree on. The book doesn't preach religion, which is good.

To conclude, if you read Hebrew, first read "Secret of a great memory". If you really really like it, you can enjoy this book also.


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