Memorize Lists Using the Pure Link System

This method has been used for many centuries, but was recently made popular by the promotion of NBA Legend, Jerry Lucas. In this method, the items are linked together visually to make items more tangible and easier to remember. Since the items are linked together, this works best on an ordered list, such as a shopping list or "to do" schedule, but can be utilized in any type of list that needs to be memorized.


  1. Come up with the list of items that need to be memorized. For this instruction, an example list of five items will be used to illustrate the concepts. The items are as follows:
    • Submarine
    • Horse
    • Watermelon
    • Key
    • Tennis Racket
  2. Link yourself to the first item to designate the start of the list.
    • In the example, Submarine is the first item. Now visualize yourself being tied to a rope and being dragged through the water by a giant submarine.
  3. Combine the first item with the second item, second item with the third item, etc. until the end of the list. The best way to do this is think up a unique image that is unusual that incorporates both items.
    • For submarine-horse: Imagine a submarine, now add horse legs, a tail, and a saddle to the submarine to make it look like a "submarine horse."
    • For horse-watermelon: Imagine a horse galloping along the road with a watermelon with arms and legs riding on the saddle.
    • For watermelon-key: Imagine a watermelon being squished into a keyhole and being used as a key to open a door.
    • For key-tennis racket: Imagine a man holding a giant key in his hand and swinging it to hit a tennis ball.
  4. To conclude the list, once again visualize yourself in an image that incorporates the last item to designate the end of the list.
    • In the example, tennis racket is the last item. To remember that it is the last item, picture yourself holding a tennis racket in each hand and flapping furiously in order to fly.


  • If you want to learn similar memorization methods to learn dates, presidents, etc. Be sure to look into Jerry Lucas' publication, "Learning How to Learn" (c)2001
  • Try to come up with an extremely unusual image for linking the items. The more unusual the image you create, the easier it'll be to recall when necessary.
  • Ask yourself questions about the list to ensure that you've remembered all the items. Examples: What was riding on the horse? What was the man using as a tennis racket? What was being used as a key? etc.

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