Interview with a Memory Expert: Memory Athlete Johannes Zhou

I’ve got another memory expert interview for you: Johannes Zhou! Only 19 years old, Johannes was the top online qualifier for the 2015 Extreme Memory Tournament and this year’s runner-up (check out Johannes’s qualification videos here). After jumping onto the memory scene in 2013, the Frankfurt resident has been tearing up the rankings and thrashing opponents left and right. Watch out for him in Group F at the upcoming XMT (June 24-26). I got in touch with...

"Knowing that I'm able to memorize hundreds of numbers in a few minutes somehow made me a more self-confident person. It's hard to put in words, but it's just a great feeling to challenge your brain on a day to day basis."

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Interview with a Memory Expert: 2x USA Memory Champion Ron White

I’m very excited to be able to share with you an interview I did with Ron White, the ’09 and ’10 USA Memory Champ. The now 42-year-old Texan has done much more than dominate the American memory scene, however. As a memory speaker and coach, Ron has done a hell of a lot to spread memory techniques far and wide. I got in touch with him to discuss his memory origins, regrets, successes, advice for aspiring mnemonists, and goals for the future. 

"Overall my experiences in the memory tournament world were some of the best of my life ... Winning the tournaments was an incredible high in my life but the person I had to become in order to compete (disciplined, organized, determined) was an equally powerful reward."
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Interview with a Memory Expert: Livan Grijalva

I’ve been hoping to chat with some of the world’s best memory gurus, so let’s kick things off with Livan Grijalva, a friend and a fierce memory athlete! Livan burst onto the American memory scene in 2014, placing 4th at his first-ever USA Memory Championship. After a now infamous clerical error wrongly excluded him from the 2015 finals, he stayed strong to secure the 4th best American finish at the US Memory Open and an overall victory at the Canadian MC. The 31-year-old Queens resident specializes in digits and cards, with personal bests of 300 digits in 5 minutes and a deck of cards in 36 seconds. I got in touch with Livan to talk memory, magic, and his advice for aspiring memory athletes. Hope you enjoy.

"The advice I would give someone just starting out in memory sports is, have fun and don't get discouraged. I would also say that if you can find someone who knows more than you, who is willing to guide you, it is an invaluable resource. When I was starting out, I had no one to guide me and I encountered so many dead ends and even though navigating those situations has made me better, it has taken me longer to arrive at where I am. To be able to learn from the mistakes of others is ideal."
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