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Preface

Preface

Think of this book as a martial arts course for your mind. You might call it the mental arts. Just as the martial arts will teach you to fight without weapons, the mental arts will teach you to think without computers, calculate without calculators, and remember without reading and writing. Of course, some martial arts courses teach you to fight with nunchaku or throwing blades; this book contains a few hacks that will teach you to use notebooks and Perl scripts as tools to become a better thinker.

In many respects, Mind Performance Hacks is a sequel to Mind Hacks by Tom Stafford and Matt Webb, but written with the intention of providing practical hacks you can use, rather than “probes into the operation of the brain” that are more theoretical and fun. (Not that the hacks in this book aren’t fun!) Here again, the martial arts analogy comes in handy. Mind Hacks (also published by O’Reilly) was more a book of beautiful and interesting things you can do with your brain, akin to the branches of the martial arts that are more like dance than combat. Mind Performance Hacks is full of highly practical mental techniques, more analogous to the martial arts meant for self-defense. Of course, this book does contain a few tricks you can flaunt, such as counting to a million on your fingers [Hack #40]—the mental equivalent of breaking a stack of bricks with your hands.


  

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