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How to Memorize the Presidents

Learn how to memorize the presidents in this Howcast video about memory techniques featuring memory expert Barry Reitman.


My name's Barry Reitman. I'm the author of "Secrets, Tips and Tricks of a Powerful Memory" and I'd like to discuss how to remember the presidents of the United States in order. I'll give you the first bunch, and you'll see how I do it, and you can do it the same way. There's a number of ways to do it. You can tie it to a numbered list, any of the numbered list forms that are in this series.

Let's do this one as a linked list, because this is something... We'll know what the names are as we come to them, and the first president of course was president washing machine. I mean Washington. I'm going to see a picture of a washing machine. Inside that washing machine, there's not clothes. There's atoms. There's all those little atoms that you learn about in science class, all the things spinning around. They're in my washing machine.

What am I going to do about that? I know! Remember Mr. Jefferson from the TV show "The Jefferson's"? He'll come over and help me out. Yeah, so I look in my washing machine, and there's a bunch of atoms spinning around, and I ask Mr. Jefferson to help me, and he does. You know why? He's a madman. Yeah. Yeah, President Madison. Madman, Madison.

However he's so mad he actually asked Marilyn Monroe for a date. Isn't that wacky? President Madison asked Marilyn Monroe. Oh, Marilyn Monroe, President Monroe was number five.

The sixth president was another Adams, John Quincy Adams, and I might picture him with a quince fruit or whatever, but typically I'm going to know that the first John Adams, president number two, the one that was in my washing machine didn't need a middle name. His son did. That's how he got John Quincy Adams as the sixth president.

We have John Quincy Adams. Uh-oh, he's falling down, he's falling down, and I have to pick him up. He's a heavy guy, I'm going to have to jack him up with a jack from my car. Yeah, President Jackson.

What we've done is linked the first several names. Again there's two weaknesses in the linking system. One is that if you forget one, you can forget everything that came after it. The other is it doesn't give you the number the way a numbered system would. So do look at the numbered systems that we have. Tiny bit tougher but much more powerful.

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