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The solution to this problem, says Adam Rosenbaum, is talking to yourself.

April 24, 2005
Elisabeth Sherwin -- gizmo@ dcn.davis.ca.us

Rosenbaum, 34, is the co-author of "How to Remember Not to Forget," a self-help book for those of us with memory problems.

He says memory is helped by repetition and clues and saying something out loud is a good memory jogger.

For instance, if you come in from shopping and put your grocery bags on the table, putting your car keys next to them instead of on the hook by the front door (where they belong), say to yourself out loud: "I put the keys on the kitchen table."

Then, when you are racing around looking for your keys, you might remember that you left them on the table.

At least, it helps Rosenbaum.

"Talk to yourself, that's my favorite technique," he said.

He came to Davis in 1997 from his native New Jersey after earning a physics degree from Rutgers and traveling for several years in Spain and South America. It was on that journey that he met the Peruvian woman who would become his wife, Carmen.

They moved to Davis so she could take advantage of the English classes offered through University Extension.

Now Rosenbaum works at home in West Davis as a free-lance technical writer and trainer and keeps an eye on his 2-year-old son, Nick. He and Carmen are expecting another child soon.

But back in the days when Rosenbaum lived in New Jersey, he had a neighbor named Joan Houlihan, who is the director of an assisted living center on Cape Cod. When he was traveling, he sent dispatches home to friends and family including Houlihan. She liked his writing style, and later approached Rosenbaum with an idea for the book.

The book suggests that if you want to remember something, you have to give your memory a fighting chance, you have to exercise your brain. Many people do have memory problems as they get older but it doesn't mean they suffer from Alzheimer's and there are things you can do about it.

"Memory loss is a part of aging," he says.

But Houlihan and Rosenbaum say that you can help your memory considerably by reducing the top six "memory busters," which are: information overload, inattention, mindless repetition, unhealthy habits, stress and depression.

Rosenbaum says if you want to remember something you have to concentrate on it.

"Clean your desk," he suggests. "Eliminate clutter. Turn off your cell phone, TV and radio. Reduce background noise. Also, eating a healthy diet helps memory. Try new things and activities to stimulate your brain. Get our of your comfort zone.

"Your normal routine can make your brain lazy," he says.

You could, for instance, learn a foreign language or try writing a book.

"We began working on the book in 2001," he said, "and it took us more than three years to write. We're newcomers, we never published a book before.

"We would do an outline and get excited and then write a chapter and not know what the next step should be," he said. They both had full-time jobs and weren't in too much of hurry.

"Finally, we decided not to get an agent but to publish through iUniverse, a print-on-demand publisher," said Rosenbaum. "We really wanted to see our work in print and thought we could sell it ourselves."

The book includes tips and tricks for memory improvement and adult education techniques for learning how the memory process works. A pattern is important, says Rosenbaum.

"People find it difficult to remember a random phone number," he said. "That's why they repeat it over and over as they run to find a paper and pencil. But I will always remember hearing a commercial for a store that was 1-800-MATRESS. Anyone can remember that." The technique consists of applying a pattern to randomness.

Rosenbaum says the whole self-publishing experience was definitely worth the effort, even though it hasn't made him rich.

"We spent a few thousand dollars and are making back a few hundred," he said. The good news is, the book is still selling and Rosenbaum has been kept busy with book-signings in Davis and out of state. The book is available at local bookstores, on-line and through his website www.HowToRemember.com

-- Reach Elisabeth Sherwin at gizmo@dcn.org and keep tuned for columns on more local writers including Adam Rosenbaum (“How to Remember Not to Forget”) and David Dionisi (“American Hiroshima”).

To inquire about ordering any of the above mentioned books from an independent bookstore,
Bogey's Books at discounted prices [ Click Here ]

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