Train your brain with the secrets behind the world's toughest feat of memory: the London Knowledge
The Knowledge is a unique book: a guide to getting more out of your brain and your city. A fully illustrated, lovingly detailed look at London's best kept secrets, it will also take you down the pathways of your mind and teach you how to keep your memory sharp. Written by a licensed London cab driver and tour guide, The Knowledge is the first ever book to take readers inside the legendarily difficult - and fast-vanishing - set of skills that all licensed cab drivers must have: a perfect, thoroughly tested knowledge of every street, alley, turning and landmark of London.
The black cab is an iconic symbol of London, but to drive it, prospective cabbies must take what is often considered the world's hardest exam, involving learning every street, turning and waypoint along 320 different routes across London, along with every landmark within 1/4 of a mile of the start and end of each route: altogether 25,000 streets and 2,000 places of interest. Learning the Knowledge takes years, and dozens of appearances at gruelling oral exams, but those who pass become part of a unique partnership, with no parallel anywhere in the world. Scientific studies have consistently shown that London cabbies who have passed the Knowledge have enlarged brains and near-superhuman memory capacities.
The Knowledge is the first book to take readers inside the extraordinary mind of the cabbie, with 50 real Knowledge routes across London, beautifully mapped and illustrated to show the streets and landmarks, with notes on their hidden histories and popular associations, and sections allowing the reader to test their memory on these routes, accompanied with an introduction discussing the history and science of the Knowledge and guides to memory-training techniques used by cabbies and memory champions around the world.
Rob Lordan is a licensed London cab driver, tour guide and journalist who was named Time Out's Expert Blogger of the Year 2015.