Comments on DominicSystem

  1. ## 136 Comments. ### (discussion moved here from DominicSystem)

Has anyone tried using the Dominic System to memorise circa 10,000 items? --RonHaleEvans

I think that the description of the mnemonics used 'dry run' above does not describe the same system as that used by Dominic O'Brien himself (although it is a perfectly reasonable mnemonic that would probably work pretty well). Dominic O'Brien describes the use of his system for various types of information (numbers, playing cards, etc.), and the key features that run through the system are, in my interpretation:

In the descriptions in his books, what Dominic does *not* generally do is to use his 100 people as his pegs. So if he is remembering 100 items, he associates each item to a location on his journey (usually using a person), rather than association each item to the people on his list of 100 people, as seems to be the case in the 'dry run' above. This has a number of advantages, in particular that it is relatively easy to make up new journeys to memorise new information.

When using locations, rather than people or objects as pegs, the number of pegs you can use becomes virtually limitless, as you are only limited by the number of familiar locations you know and have visited. For much information, such as foreign language vocabulary or general 'question and answer' style facts, there is no need to learn sequences of locations in order as the order of the items are not important - you can dump the images in any appropriate location you can think of. I've learned well over 10,000 pieces of information using locations like this.


I'm interested to hear if Ron's Hotel Dominic hack is working for anyone as a substitute for a journey (incrementing room to room rather than walking point to point on a journey). The spatial aspect of a remembered-real-place journey is missing, which seems to be a key factor in the journey system working so well.

I'm trying to find if the Hotel Dominic idea can be used to memorize verb meanings and basic conjugations from The Big Yellow Book of German Verbs. As Thufir notes, sequence is irrelevant concerning foreign language vocabulary, so may be overkill. But tabular book data mapped into tabular brain data is just too tantalizing to leave untested!


Anyone want to explain why 7 is linked with G? The others all make a reasonable amount of sense -- first five numbers to first five letters, six to s, eight to "eightch", nine to n, 0 to O -- but I can't think of any reasonable link of 7 to G. --jmcc


7 is linked to G because G is the 7th letter of the alphabet. It's the same reason that 8 is linked to H.

Ivan- Actually, at the time Dominic O'Brien wrote about his method, or began using it, he associated it because of the G7 economic powers. Now they're G8, of course. It's in his "Amazing Memory Box/Kit"


Ged Lambe I have been investigating the use of the Dominic System for a while now and find it much ewasier to use them SEM/Major system. I wanted to share a tip, that may strike people as obvious, about remebering the people for the Dominic System. It can be frustrating, when you are trying to get into it, not being able to remeber a particular character.

An alternative to a printed sheet is to use a large location to place the cast in. For exmaple I work in a hospital and I have placed 10 people in each large room of the hospital as I travel form the front door. This would work for any large building and helps to start you using the techniques. Hope this is of help to people.


When learning the Dominic system initially I very strictly used the rules given above to turn a number into a set of initials and then into a character with those initials. Because of the difficulty in linking some numbers to a person I was happy with (ie memorable), I was forced to relax these rules and had a dozen or so 'exceptions'. In hindsight, I am very glad I did this. Indeed I recently reread 'How To Develop A Perfect Memory' by the great man himself and notice that he only suggests using this code as a fallback. ie when a number doesn't actually suggest someone immediately. He gives some examples: 07 as James Bond, 10 is Dudley Moore (star of the film 10), 01 is his Mum (first person he came into contact with). Others could be 86 as Maxwell Smart, 66 the devil (as in 666) etc.

You should probably de-empasise the translation table used in the explaination above, and rather empasize turning numbers straight into people/actions where ever possible.


Continuing on from what I said above, I believe that you should be able to come up with 40-50 numbers that immediately suggest a person/action. The others of course could be derived from the standard number/letter encoding. Another possibility, particularly for those with a memory for dates is to interpret each number as a year, and associate an important person with that year. eg 63 = JF Kennedy (assassination), 69 = Neil Armstrong (moonlanding), 45 = Churchill (end of WWII), 15 = Napoleon (defeated at Waterloo in 1815), 36 = Mums year of birth etc. If you already have these dates in your head then it is much easier and natural to do this than learning an arbitary encoding. At the very least it skips the intermediate step of translating the numbers into initials.


For my list, I stuck to the naming convention for the most part. I found it much easier to memorize the entire list by putting the list itself in a memory journey. I committed to spending 20-30 minutes every day (usually in 5 minute intervals) to creating the list.

After finishing up my list and committing it to a memory journey, I was able to memorize PI to 120 digits within about two hours as my first test.

I used a number of resources to come up with my list:


The Free Dictionary - Wikipedia Encyclopedia

Fact Monster - Biographies

IMDB Biographies

I also referred to a few sample lists I found (outside of this site):

BF (5/25/07)

Dimensional Dominic System

Question: has anybody tried adding dimensions to the Dominic System? I've tried using the Dominic System to memorize digits of pi and other long sequences of numbers with some success but I've found that since many of the digits repeat many of the images and actions are used more than once and it causes some confusion. Is it feasible to have more than one image/action associated with a number? For instance, my 32 is CB, Charlie Brown kicking a football. What if I also associated 32 with Charles Barclay slam-dunking a basketball? In that case I could use two images and two actions for the same number. What if we used 3 image/actions per number? Am I wasting my time here? Does the current system work well enough for most purposes? Any thoughts are appreciated.

-- RonHaleEvans 2009-07-05 19:41 UTC

Note that I didn't write the last comment, which is unsigned. The signature was added when I copied this discussion thread from the DominicSystem page.

-- RonHaleEvans 2009-07-05 19:46 UTC

Add your comment here.

-- RonHaleEvans 2009-07-05 20:09 UTC

Domonic doesn't use this system to memorise words btw. Search for Domonic O'Brien vocabulary.

-- adam 2009-08-20 21:36 UTC

I'm not a visual person. If I think of OJ Simpson, his face doesn't really come up clearly but I 'hear' the words murder, Nicole, Las Vegas, 'if the glove does not fit then you must acquit,' etc. Years ago, I bought Kevin Trudeau's mega memory course and dumped it since I just wasn't getting those images in my head.

I almost gave up this memory business completely until I rediscovered the major system. I used the peg trainer ( and last night, after learning 20 pegs, I am now able to recall the first 20 presidents and elements in the periodic table. 17 duck: chlorine and Andrew Johnson. How does this work? Instead of thinking in pictures I made up a little 1 sentence story. The duck went to do laundry with chlorine bleach. The duck went to the john. Nothing too crazy but I have made a connection and it sticks.

-- ari-free 2010-03-29 02:47 UTC

I prefer the Major system number to letter translation, but I wanted to try the Dominic system of person/action. So I developed a list of people using that translation. I still have a few peg people I'm not really happy with (they are not good images for me), but at least the list is complete and seems to be mostly consistent. The items I'd like to replace are marked with an asterisk. Here it goes:

0-9 (H,S, soft C) - Homer Simpson, C3 PO, *Sam Neill, Spider Man, Zorro, H.P. Lovecraft, Steve Jobs, Santa Claus, Harrison Ford, Harry Potter

10-19 (D, T) - Dustin Hoffman, Doctor Doom, *David Niven, *Demi Moore, Dan Rather, Dalai Llama, Davey Jones, Danny Glover, Darth Vader, Daniel Boone

20-29 (N) - Number Six (the Prisioner), Nicolai Tesla, Nick Nolte, *Nick Mancuso, Nancy Reagan, *StaN? Lee, *WinstoN? Churchill, Nicolas Cage, Nick Fury, *Ned Beatty

30-39 (M) - Mr. Spock, Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, Marvin the Martian, Mickey Rooney, Michael Landon, Martin Sheen, Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, Milton Berle

40-49 (R) - Robin Hood, R2-D2, Richard Nixon, Ronald McDonald?, Ronald Reagan, Robert Langdon, Ray Charles, Russell Crowe, *Randall Flagg, Archie Bunker

50-59 (L) - Lisa Simpson, *Lily Tomlin, Liam Neeson, Leonard McCoy?, Elrond (Lord of the Rings), Luna Lovegood (Harry Potter), LBJ, Larry the Cable Guy, Elmer Fudd, Elvis Pressley

60-69 (Sh, Ch, soft G, J) - Sherlock Holmes, Charlize Thieron, Chuck Norris, Jim Morrison, Jack the Ripper, John Lennon, J. Jonah Jameson, JFK, Jodi Foster, George Bush

70-79 (K, hard G, hard C) - *Gollum/Smeagal, Count Dooku, *Graham Norton, Cookie Monster, Keanu Reaves, *Courtney Love, Captain Jack (Sparrow), Captain Kirk, Guy Faulks (V), Gwyneth Paltrow

80-89 (F, V, Ph) - *Fred Savage, *Fran Driscoll, *Victor Neumann, Fu Manchu, Fred Rogers, Frank Llangella, Frank Zappa, *Father Guido Sarducci (SNL), Fankenfurter (Rocky Horror), Vinnie Barbarino

90-99 (B, P) - Bart Simpson, Bob Dylan, Bob Newhart, Bob Marley, Paul Revere, *Paul Lind, Pavil Chekov (Star Trek), Bill Clinton, Benjamin Franklin, Bugs Bunny

-- shudson_us 2010-11-08 21:06 UTC

There's a coincidence. I did exactly the same as shudson. I'd learnt the major system conversion of numbers to letters some time ago and wanted to apply it to the Dominic system of names and actions. Learning a new number to letter conversion system seemed pointless and confusing when I knew the major system so well. Expected to have more names in common with shudson but only a few match. 00 ss Sylvester Stalone 01 st Shirley Temple 02 sn Super Nanny 03 sm Super Man 04 sr Steve Redgrave 05 sl Stewart Lee 06 sj Samuel Jackson 07 sk Santa Claus 08 sf Samantha Fox 09 sb Susan Boyle 10 ts Tom Selleck 11 tt Thomas Tank engine 12 dn Dr No 13 tm Tin man 14 tr Tyrannosaurus Rex 15 tl Tommy Lee 16 tj TJ hooker 17 dc Dec (Ant and Dec) 18 df Daffy 19 db Derren Brown 20 ns Nose - pinochio 21 nt Natalie Tran 22 nn Nun - Whoppi 23 nm Nigel Mansell 24 nr Nero 25 nl Norman Lovett 26 n sh gNasher (cartoon dog) 27 nk Naomi Campbell 28 nf Nick Frost 29 nb Norman Bates 30 ms Moira Stuart 31 mt Mr T 32 mn Michael Knight 33 mm Mickey Mouse 34 mr Mike Reed 35 ml Meat Loaf 36 mj Michael Jackson 37 mk Mac - Paul McCartney? 38 mf Mafia 39 mp Miss Piggy 40 rs Ringo Star 41 rd Richard Dawkins 42 rn Richard Nixon 43 rm Ronald McDonald? 44 rr Ronald Reagan 45 rl Rebecca Loos 46 rch Ray Charles 47 rk Road Kill 48 rf Royal Family 49 rp Richard Pryor 50 ls Luke Skywalker 51 ld Larry David 52 ln Lane - Lois Lane 53 lm Lee Major 54 lr Lovely Rita 55 ll Lex Luthor 56 lj Little John 57 lk Lando Calrissian 58 lf Larry Fine (3 stooges) 59 lb lab - Bunsen & beaker - muppets 60 js Jon Stewart 61 jt John Travolta 62 jn Jack Nicholson 63 jm John Mcenroe 64 jr J R Ewing 65 jl J Lo 66 jj Judge Judy 67 jk Jay Kay 68 chf Chef - Gordon Ramsay 69 chb Chewbacca 70 cs Colonel Sanders 71 ct Cat - top cat 72 cn Kim Novak 73 km Kate Moss 74 kr Keanu Reeves 75 cl Christopher Lloyd 76 CSh Claudia Schifer 77 kk Kobra Kai 78 kf Kermit Frog 79 kb Kate Bush 80 fs Frank Skinner 81 ft Fat Tony 82 fn Florence Nightingale 83 fm Freddy Mecury 84 fr Franklin Roosevelt 85 fl Franz Liszt 86 fj Fred Jones (scooby doo) 87 fk Freddy Kreuger 88 ff Farah Fawcett 89 fb Fozzie Bear 90 bs Bart Simpson 91 bt Bat - batman 92 bn Brigette Nielsen 93 bm Banana Man 94 br Babe Ruth 95 bl Bruce Lee 96 pj Penn Jillette 97 bc Billy Connolly 98 bf Boba Fett 99 bb Bugs Bunny 100 tss Daisies (the ones that sing from Alice in Wonderland - it matters!)

-- chrispbacon 2010-11-20 23:04 UTC

@chrispbacon -- Thanks so much for posting your list. I had (and still have) some pegs I was not entirely happy with. So I've taken 10 of your pegs for my own (14,31,35,36,39,69,71,88,89,95)! I'm still very unhappy with (3,12,16,26,27,61,76,79,81,82), but I've racked my brain with no really 'great' images for them -- sadly I don't have strong images for your choices for these numbers either, so I can't use yours. :) -- Steve

-- shudson_us 2010-12-01 20:53 UTC

I just posted my personal list on my blog here: For the most part, I follow the rules of the Dominic System, although I do have a few exceptions.

-- michaelcorayer 2011-01-04 03:24 UTC

I posted a modified version of Cave's Python script for outputting a CSV file in Windows:

-- Josh 2011-03-16 18:54 UTC

Has anyone used the dominic system to memorize drug dosages for pharmacology/med school type stuff? If not can someone recommend a system that might work. Also can someone recommend a system or method that might be helpful for commiting to memory general medical information such as cellular processes etc. Thanks! Now back to working on my list of names.

-- Sapper41 2011-07-11 02:42 UTC

I just finished using my 'major' adaptation of the Dominic system with Person-Action-Object to memorize the atomic weights of the periodic table. The Person-actions are "Dominic like" and the objects are pure Major System pegs.

Each element is a six digit number (PAO) linked to a word or image that reminds me of the elements name. For instance, Sulphur, which smells bad is represented by number 163207 - it is element 16, with an atomic weight of 32.07. For my key words, this is Davey Jones, wearing a beanie (like Mike Nesmith) made from a smelly sock. Captain Jack wearing a coon skin cap in the Sun in Austrailia (Oz) reminds me that Osmium is element 76 with atomic weight 192.2. "Gospel" Elvis Pressley interviewing (Dan Rather) a bar of soap - PRAISE-odymion is element 59 with atomic weight 140.7. I did it in three main chunks, about 20 minutes pre day, one week to learn and one to review for each chunk. An additional two weeks to review and I can now claim to know them enough to impress friends. (I have very patient friends :)..

-- shudson_us 2011-09-02 01:49 UTC

After learning the Dominic System 2-3 years ago, I had used it for a bit, but then got busy in other areas and left it alone. So when I recently got interested in it again, I was curious to see how many of my pegs I could remember. Unfortunately there were many I couldn't. This got me thinking about the quality of the pegs I was using, and I now think I have come up with something much better.

The way the standard system is set up, all the people representing numbers say in the 20s have names starting with 'B', in the thirties start with 'C' etc. Although this is useful to an extent, having the first letter of your name in common isn't much help if you can remember Mr 35, but you want to know Mr 36.

Similarly I was always a little disappointed that I couldn't have all my favorite Star Wars characters, or Harry Potter, or Lord of the Rings etc.

Well, this is my 'improved' method. I found it much, much quicker and easier to learn. Lets see if I can remember after a couple of years....:

1) For each group of 10 numbers (0-9, 10-19, 20-29 etc) choose a theme. This could be a favorite tv series, movie or book series with lots of diverse characters.

I have actually not done it for the two sets of numbers 0-9 and 10-19 as I had an almost complete recollection for a couple of years ago. However these are my themes for the other sets:

20-29 Greek Gods and mythological heroes 30-39 Lord of the Rings characters 40-49 Looney Tunes Cartoon characters 50-59 Mr Men characters 60-69 Dr Who characters 70-79 Star Wars characters 80-89 Simpson characters 90-99 Harry Potter characters

You will notice if you look carefully that the Lord of the Rings was written in the 30s, Dr Who the 60s, Star Wars the 70s etc. Mr Men and Greek Gods are the two exceptions. Never the less these decade-to-theme hooks are helpful when you are learning.

Now that I have a theme, I populate each number in the theme with my favorite characters. I generally follow the standard dominic 'rules' for these, although with a few quirks. For example here is my pegs for the 70s:

70 Obi-Wan Kenobi (0=O standard) 71 Yoda (could use Admiral Ackbar, or Anakin to keep this a standard encoding, but I like Yoda more. :-). I normally try to make '1' represent the hero of the theme. ) 72 R2-D2 (the 2 in R2-D2, but usually use the standard B). 73 C3PO (the 3 in C3PO, but usually use the standard C) 74 Darth Vader (D standard) 75 The Emperor (E, standard. I try to make '5' represent a bad guy in most cases) 76 Skywalker (Luke) (S, standard) 77 Princess Leia (7 looks like upside down L) 78 Han Solo (8=H, standard) 79 Jaber the Hut (J shaped like a 9, but without the curl)

-- RussellP 2012-11-26 09:37 UTC

Im attempting an adaptation of the dominic system and am looking for input. Instead of the base 100 system described here I intend to use a base 10 system with multiple attributes. For example the person occupies the ones digit, the attire occupies the ten's spot, and what the person is holding occupies the hundreds spot. At this moment I cannot thing of something to occupy the thousands spot, I was thinking an action but it would have to be independent of the item or attire and related to the individual. For example Julius Caesar, wearing a top hat, and holding a pitch fork would be 681 Where Caesar is 1, Abe Lincoln is 8, and the devil is 6. With this system there are fewer symbols to memorize and your only limited by how detailed a picture you can paint in your mind. I think the key is to ensure that the 0's used are simple. Thoughts?

-- RB 2012-12-07 02:29 UTC