Joshua Foer starts as a journalist covering the world memory championships and runs into Ben Pridmore, a multiple World Memory Champion. Ben takes Joshua under his wing and coaches him to compete in the USA memory championships. Along the journey Joshua reveals several memory techniques, including the memory palace, and interviews several people with extraordinary memories. In the end he competes in the USA world championship.
The memory techniques highlighted in the book can be done by almost anyone
The techniques did take LOTS of deliberate practice