Skip to main content

How to Use the Peg System

Learn how to use the Peg System in this Howcast video about memory techniques featuring memory expert Barry Reitman.


I'm Barry Reitman, author of Secrets, Tips and Tricks of a Powerful Memory and I'd like to discuss how to use the Peg system also called the Hook System, some folks call it the File-folder System, it's all the same thing. It's a way of taking all that data in your brain and assigning it to a place that you're familiar with so you don't have to remember abstract data. This will tell you where it is. I use hook numbers, again also called peg numbers. They fall back on the major number system which is another video in this series. There's also some material at some free links on my website I'm gonna give you an overview of it now.

The Peg System or the Hook System uses numbers that are composed of sounds at least 1 through 99. Wow, how am I gonna remember? Well, they're not abstract. They're there with a purpose. One of the things you're gonna learn is that the number one has the sound of t or d, ta or da. You don't have to know why right now, just accept it as a given. The number four has the sound of the letter m. So 1 might be the t sound and 3 might be the m sound. If I put them together, I might have time. So if I put them together, the t sound and the m sound, I might have the word tomb, like an ancient tomb. Notice the tomb has a b on the end but I'm hearing sounds, I'm not reading letters. Hearing sounds is much better and I can see a tomb. When I think the number 13, one-three, I see a tomb.

You can wake me out of a dead sleep and hit me over the head and say thirteen, I'm gonna see a tomb and that's how quickly it's gonna come to you if you spend a little bit of time with this system. If the 13th item that I want to remember in a long list is a bookcase, I wanna refinish the bookcase this weekend, that's the 13th item on my list; do you do 13 items on a weekend? I try. If the 13th thing I wanna do this weekend is refinish my bookcase, all I have to do is take my bookcase in my mind's eye and put it in front of the door of the tomb so that I can't get into number 13 tomb. There's a big bookcase there and when I see that, when I finish the 12th item, I won't have to say to myself, okay I finished the 12th item, what's gonna be the 13th item? I don't have to do that. I've finished the 12th item and all I have to do is say, "What's in front of the tomb? Oh there it is, I see it. It's a bookcase blocking the way." That's a very short example. I encourage you to learn the major system which will lead you to the hook and peg system, there's no easy way to do it in a brief video but it's much easier than you think to learn.

Popular Categories