Friday 11 January 2008

Memorize the Faith: And Most Anything ELse by: Dr. Kevin Vost

Memorize the Faith:
And Most Anything Else

Dr. Kevin Vost

Sophia Institute Press

ISBN 9781933184173

October 2006

Some books are great because of the quality of the writing. Some books are great because of the content or message they convey. Some books are great because of the reputation they garner, and over time, come to be considered classics. Dr. Kevin Vost has written a book that fits the first two categories and only time will tell about the third. The author, who has done both graduate work and doctorate work on memory, has written this book as a tool to help Catholics memorize their faith. However, it is also so much more than that. It can be a tool used by any serious academic to help them memorize, learn to think more creatively, plan and execute research and papers. If you read the book for the techniques taught alone, it will be an invaluable asset to any intentional student.

Dr. Vost states "The text and illustrations have been structured in such a way that, if you read slowly and carefully, look at the pictures, and follow the instructions, by the time you finish, you'll be able to remember and name the Ten Commandments, the seven capital sins, the seven virtues, the nine Beatitudes, the seven sacraments, the twenty mysteries of the Rosary, and yes, if you are ambitious enough, even the names of the forty-six books of the Old Testament and the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. And all of these in order, both forward and backward!" Through the processes, he uses a method of memorization that traces its roots and origins to the ancient Greek poet Simonides and the philosopher Aristotle, and to Marcus Tullius Cicero. These techniques were then taught and practiced by the Doctors of the Catholic Church, St. Albert the Great (the "Universal Doctor") and St. Thomas Aquinas. These techniques are collectively known as mnemonics.

Through the progression of learning the memorization skills you will develop greater abilities and strengths in these areas: organization, imagination and concentration. There is so much we still do not understand about the human brain, but we do know from much research, including some of Dr. Vost's, that the more we use the brain, the more we can use it. It can be retrained after injury. Studies that have been done on surgery patients, Alzheimer's patients and others all show that working the brain can help fight diseases. Vost's techniques will help the reader to learn to organize thoughts and thought processes more clearly, use the imagination to stretch the brain and work it out in new and different ways. Then the concentration involved in the first two activities, combined with repetition, can lead to memory skills that will serve you for a lifetime.

Vost writes in a fun and engaging manner. This book is written with many target groups in mind. He writes for the practitioner of the Catholic Faith that wants to be able to answer the lists he gives above, and many, many more. He writes for a younger audience who wish to understand their faith. He writes for all students who need the skills presented in this book to help them learn to be better students and scholars.

The greatest strength of this book is Dr. Vost's background in research, and practice in implementing these systems in the field of Psychology, and his love for his religious tradition. The weakness of the book is the memorization techniques. Tips and tricks are so great you will have to study Catholicism to learn them. An added bonus is that at the end of each chapter is a toolbox called 'Memory Master Tips and Facts'. These boxes help you apply the material in an easier fashion.

Therefore I would declare that this is a great book, for the old and for the young in the faith. It is also a good resource for any academic or lifelong learner. This is a great book - plain and simple.

(First Published in Imprint 2008-01-11.)

Books by Dr. Kevin Vost:
Full Range of Motive (2001)
Memorize the Faith! (2006)
Fit For Eternal Life (2007)
From Atheism to Catholicism (2010)
Unearthing Your Ten Talents (2010)
St. Albert the Great (2011)
Tending the Temple (2011)
Three Irish Saints (2012)
Memorize the Reasons! (2013)
One-Minute Aquinas (2014)
Hounds of the Lord (2015)
Seven Deadly Sins (2015)
Memorize the Mass! (2016)
Seven Gifts of the Holy Spirit (2016)
The Porch and the Cross (2016)
The Catholic Guide to Loneliness (2017)
The Four Friendships (2018)
How to Think Like Aquinas (2018)
Memorize the Latin Mass! (2018)

12 Life Lessons from St. Thomas Aquinas (2019)
Aquinas on the Four Last Things (2021)
Books Contributed to:
Man Up! (2014)

Author profile interview with Dr. Kevin Vost.

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