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My First Book- ‘The Knowledge: Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’

I’m very proud to announce that my first book; ‘The Knowledge: Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’ is now available both in shops and online. 

Holding a copy of my book in Foyle’s, Charing Cross Road!

The book takes readers inside the secretive world of ‘The Knowledge’; the incredibly tough training process which prospective cabbies must undergo before they are licensed to drive a London taxi. 

To see a preview please click below: 

The book’s introduction details the evolution of The Knowledge; how it began and what it’s subsequently morphed into, as well as an account of my own experience of the process- including the terrifying verbal exams (of which I personally had to sit 27!)

Knowledge examiners at the Public Carriage Office, Islington- as featured on the BBC’s 1996 documentary, ‘Streetwise’.

This is followed by 50 routes (‘runs’ as cabbies call them) which are taken from The Blue Book; the official guide which provides the basis for studying The Knowledge of London.

The runs feature an array of London history and trivia and are divided into groups of 10 which come under 5 chapters, each of which showcases a particular brain training technique. These are: 

1) Acronyms and mnemonics.

2) Short stories in which the names of streets and roads are transformed into characters and events with surreal results

3) Common historical threads – such as the run Parliament Street to Golden Lane which traces the flow of the Thames and the river’s key role in helping the city grow.

4) ‘Memory Champion’ techniques- specifically the ‘Method of Loci’ (the use of which can be traced back to the days of Ancient Greece) and the ‘Memory Palace’ which is also many centuries old but has been made famous in recent years thanks to the BBC’s modern adaptation, ‘Sherlock’.

5) The final 10 runs are ones with which I feel a personal connection – for example, Golborne Road to Pennine Drive which involves roads closely connected with my own family history. In other words, as well as the common shared Knowledge of London’s roads and places of interest, these runs demonstrate how each cabbie also harbours their own personal map of the capital.

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The book is beautifully illustrated by artist and cartographer, Jamie Whyte who, amongst many other projects, also created the maps for ‘Young Winstone’; a memoir by legendary Londoner and actor, Ray Winstone. 

An example of Jamie’s work from ‘The Knowledge; Train Your Brain Like a Cabbie’

Readers will also find a glossary of cabbie’s slang terms.

The Knowledge: Train Your Brain like a cabbie is available at a number of online retailers including Waterstones and Amazon.

Thanks for reading!

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11 responses

  1. Well done Rob! Looks like one for me. I have watched all the documentaries, and Rosenthal’s TV drama too. It’s on my Amazon Wish List. 🙂
    Let me know if you want me to do one of my Bloggers Books features on it. Here’s an example. https://beetleypete.wordpress.com/2017/09/01/bloggers-books-jack-eason/
    You can email me at petejohnson50@yahoo.com
    All the best, Pete.

    1. Many kind thanks Pete and my deepest appreciation for your continued support.

  2. I will take a look. I was so pleased on my last trip to London to have a cabbie who could take me from Victoria Coach station to Kensal Rise in double quick time at a price which was far less than I had expected. And a charming man to boot.

      1. I have just finished it…and, congratulations, it is a book I shall refer to again and again as it brings back London to me…and now i shall think of the routes with the mnemonics and those superb illustrations.
        I did have trouble reading it both on my tablet and on the PC…it could be me – it usually is – but it might be something to tweak if others have the same problem.
        I put the review on Amazon U.K….it should turn up shortly.

      2. Thank you so much Helen, really appreciate your support and kind words.

      3. Can only speak as i find…and found it jolly good.

  3. robbiecheadle | Reply

    Great to meet your through Beetley Pete’s blog. A fascinating sounding book.

    1. Thank you so much Robbie! Glad to have you aboard 🙂

  4. Congratulations, Robert! What an achievement, well done! 🙂 Beetley Pete brought me to you, I’m your new follower. A fascinating book, now on my wishlist.
    Kind regards from North Norfolk, Dina

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