Joshua Foer (born September 23, 1982) is a freelance journalist living in New Haven, Connecticut, with a primary focus on hard sciences. He was the 2006 U.S.A. Memory Champion, which was described in his 2011 book, Moonwalking with Einstein: The Art and Science of Remembering Everything. He spoke at the TED conference in February 2012.

Early life and education

Foer was born in Washington, D.C.. He is the younger brother of former The New Republic editor Franklin Foer and novelist Jonathan Safran Foer. He is the son of Esther Foer, Director of Sixth & I Historic Synagogue, and Albert Foer, the president of the think-tank American Antitrust Institute.[1] He was born in Washington, D.C. and attended Georgetown Day School.

Foer went on to attend Yale University, where he resided in Silliman College and Trumbull College, respectively, majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology and graduated with a B.A. in 2004.


Foer sold his first book, Moonwalking with Einstein, to Penguin for publication in March 2011.[2] He received a $1.2 million advance for the book.[1] Film rights were optioned by Columbia Pictures shortly after publication.[3]

In 2006, Foer won the U.S.A. Memory Championship, and set a new USA record in the "speed cards" event by memorizing a deck of 52 cards in 1 minute and 40 seconds.[4]Moonwalking with Einstein describes Foer's journey as a participatory journalist to becoming a national champion mnemonist, under the tutelage of British Grand Master of Memory, Ed Cooke.

Foer's work has appeared in The New York Times,[5]The Washington Post,[6]Slate,[7] and The Nation.[8] In 2007, the quarterly art & culture journal Cabinet began publishing Foer's column "A Minor History Of". The column "examines an overlooked cultural phenomenon using a timeline".[9]


Foer has organized several websites and organizations based on his interests. He created the Athanasius Kircher Society, which had only one session, featuring Kim Peek and Joseph Kittinger.[1]. He is the co-founder, along with Dylan Thuras, of the Atlas Obscura,[10] an online compendium of "The World's Wonders, Curiosities, and Esoterica". He is also a co-organizer of Sukkah City.[11] Josh is also a co-founder of Sefaria, a non-profit organization dedicated to building digital experiences and infrastructure for Jewish texts.[12]



  1. ^ a b Dowd, Maureen (2011-03-08). "Sexy Ruses to Stop Forgetting to Remember". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ Third Foer brother inks Penguin deal, Crain's New York Business, October 31, 2006
  3. ^ Kilday, Gregg (March 16, 2011). "Columbia Acquires 'Moonwalking With Einstein' for Big-Screen Adaptation". The Hollywood Reporter. 
  4. ^ Foer, Joshua (2011-02-15). "Secrets of a Mind-Gamer". The New York Times. Retrieved 2011-02-18. 
  5. ^ The Kiss of Life, The New York Times, February 14, 2006
  6. ^ "The Sky Isn't Falling (Yet)". The Washington Post. 2004-10-26. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  7. ^ Rosin, Hanna. "How to win the U.S. memory championship. - Slate Magazine". Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  8. ^ "May 16, 2005". The Nation. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  9. ^ "Columns". Cabinet (26): 7. 
  10. ^ "Curious and Wondrous Travel Destinations". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 2012-12-18. 
  11. ^ "Sukkah City" Sam Grawe, Dwell, 2010-05-30.
  12. ^ "'Sefaria' Text Site Could Expand Jewish Learning". The Jewish Week.