Daniel Kilov

Mental athlete

Daniel Kilov

Mental athlete

Daniel Kilov is a memory ath­lete who uses the tech­niques of memory sports to help people learn all things they ever wanted but nev­er thought they could.

In this, the open­ing talk from TEDx­Can­ber­ra 2012, Daniel explains why and how he became a memory ath­lete, and how being present to inform­a­tion around us can help each and every one of us improve our memory and recall. Using the example of a wildly cre­at­ive story, Daniel weaves fant­ast­ic imagery into the names of each of the oth­er presenters at TEDx­Can­ber­ra.


Hav­ing struggled with organ­iz­a­tion­al skills as a symp­tom of his poor memory all through high school, Daniel sought out meth­ods to improve his memory. It was then that he dis­covered the “Art of Memory”, a loosely asso­ci­ated group of mne­mon­ic prin­ciples and tech­niques used to organ­ize memory impres­sions, improve recall, and assist in the com­bin­a­tion and ‘inven­tion’ of ideas. These tech­niques are some­times referred to as mnemo­tech­nics and are employed by memory ath­letes to per­form remark­able feats of learn­ing.

Shortly after­ward, Daniel sought out Australia’s most suc­cess­ful memory ath­lete, Tansel Ali. Tansel is the Aus­trali­an Memory Cham­pi­on and, in addi­tion to his suc­cess in com­pet­i­tion, he also mem­or­ized the Sydney Yel­low Pages in only 24 days. Daniel was trained privately by Tansel and at the 2011 Aus­trali­an Memory Cham­pi­on­ships Daniel man­aged to secure second place behind his coach and ment­or, and third place in the com­pet­i­tion over­all. He also broke the Aus­trali­an record for the abstract images event and is the offi­cial hold­er of that record, hav­ing mem­or­ized the order of 99 abstract shapes.

Daniel now espouses the value of memory tech­niques as a poten­tial revolu­tion in edu­ca­tion, both in the tra­di­tion­al sense of the word and, because as a mat­ter of his­tor­ic­al fact, the art of memory formed the corner­stone of edu­ca­tion from the time of the Ancient Greeks, up until the renais­sance. When we use memory tech­niques, we revolve back to the ancient and effect­ive art of learn­ing, mem­or­iz­ing and com­pos­i­tion.