Joshua Foer makes it clear how memory and understanding are not two different things. As he trains his memory with the help of top mental athletes, the author describes how the ability to reason and the ability to retain information go hand in hand.
Favorite quotes from the book:
To the extent that experience is the sum of our memories and wisdom the sum of experience, having a better memory would mean knowing not only more about the world, but also more about myself.
Our memories are always with us, shaping and being shaped by the information flowing through our senses, in a continuous feedback loop. Everything we see, hear, and smell is inflected by all the things we've seen, heard, and smelled in the past.
How we perceive the world today and how we act in it are products of how and what we remember. We're all just a bundle of habits shaped by our memories.
Our memories make us who we are. They are the seat of our values and source of our character.