In 2013, I published a book on Amazon explaining how to memorize the periodic table.
It wasn’t so much a ‘how to...’ book as a cool brain hack. When you read the book it creates memories in your head – memories of the names of all the chemical elements.
Yes, I know it sounds far-fetched, but let’s just say it taps into how your brain naturally works and leverages a bit of neuroscience geekiness. It really works.
The book became a best-seller, but I still wanted to sell more copies. So what’d I do?
One of my early promotional ideas was to create a whiteboard animation video on YouTube, encouraging people to go and purchase a copy of my literary masterpiece.
The video flopped … kind of.
Nobody went and bought the book, but a LOT of people were watching the promo video.
Pretty soon it was the #1 video on YouTube and Google* when you searched ‘how to memorize the periodic table’.
Why did people like it so much?
People liked the whiteboard animation style. At least, that’s all I could figure.
So I thought “If people like whiteboard animation videos so much, maybe I should transform the book into a complete series of whiteboard animation videos”.
That was a good decision.
Fast forward a few years and I’m now the world’s most viewed memory coach.
My whiteboard animation videos have introduced millions of people to the stunning power of their visual memory, and helped thousands and thousands of people around the world memorize the periodic table faster than they ever thought possible.
These are the types of comments I get from my students every day:
"Soooo amazing! I had to memorize the periodic table of elements to get out of my biology final. I only had a day to do it. Well, I passed my test! 100%! My biology teacher wants me to do a presentation on how I memorized it in just a day (8 hrs!)"
"I would like to thank you for creating such an amazing project. Last September, my son, Hanno, 6yo, and I stumbled upon two of your youtube videos. It was about the first 20 elements of the periodic table. After memorizing all 20, he begged me to purchase the membership so he could remember the entire periodic table. I couldn't believe it, a month later (I spaced out the video tutorials), he memorized the entire periodic table and the atomic numbers!! And the best part is that it still sticks, half a year later!! I can’t thank you enough!"
"My 6th grade son has ten days to memorize the Periodic Table, so tonight I purchased your course. In less than one hour, he went from saying, "I can't do it" to "this is a piece of cake," having successfully memorized elements 1-20. I am a 62 year-old History teacher who has always known that visualization is the key for most students, but have never found many resources to help my students. I commend you for what you are doing to help students, and wish you great success in your entrepreneurial adventure! It would be nice if you become as well-known as Khan Academy."
And it all started with a little book that helped students memorize the random names of 118 chemical elements.
Or was it 114?
When I wrote the original book, the periodic table had places for 118 elements. But four of those elements hadn’t yet been discovered, they were only ‘theoretical’.
In June 2016, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced those four elements were no longer theoretical and would be included in the periodic table.
After a five month waiting period, the names of those new elements were made official.
Welcome to the periodic table nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson.
Now, thanks to the work of all those brilliant scientists, I have to update my videos and books.
I think I have the easier job.
Whether you need to memorize the entire periodic table, the names and faces of people you meet, or long numbers and formulas for a looming exam, remember this…
...your memory is astonishing.
*The original promo video has since been removed from YouTube and replaced with the initial video from the complete training course. And yes, it's now the #1 video on YouTube and Google for 'how to memorize the periodic table'.