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TUCoPS :: Wetware Hacking :: Others :: mindmapf.txt

Mind Mapping F.A.Q. - Deals with the brainstorming technique invented by Tony Buzan

Mind Mapping FAQ

Index to this FAQ

  1. What is a mind map?
  2. What can you do with a mind map
  3. What you can do with a computer mind map
  4. How was it invented
  5. The mailing list
  6. The FTP site and WWW page
  7. Books
  8. Software

What is a mind map?

A mind map consists of a central word or concept, around the central word
you draw the 5 to 10 main ideas that relate to that word. You then take each
of those child words and again draw the 5 to 10 main ideas that relate to
each of those words.

In this way an exponential number of related ideas can quickly be produced
with virtually no mental effort. The concept of 'writers block' is hard to
understand once you have grasped the use of this simple technique!

What can you do with a mind map

Note taking

As a means of note taking mindmaps have several advantages

over other systems:

   * You can place each new idea in the right place, regardless of the order
     of presentation.
   * It encourages the reduction of each concept to a single word.
   * The resultant mind map can be 'seen' by the eye and memorized by your
     visual memory which has been shown to be almost perfect.

Creative Writing & Report Writing.

A mind map lets you rapidly produce an almost infinite number of ideas, and
at the same time organize them by placing each idea next to what it is
related to. This makes a very powerful tool for creative writing or report
writing, where it is very important to get down all your ideas first. It is
then a trivial matter to read the mind map and write a sentence or paragraph
on each 'key word'.

Studying the easy way

Instead of simply reading a book on some topic, next time try using a mind
map while you read. Just draw your central word and then begin reading,
everytime you read some idea that strikes you as important or interesting,
just add it onto your mind map in the appropriate place.

When you have finished reading the book you will have a one page mindmap
which summarizes everything of interest in that book. You will probably also
have added several things which

you thought up yourself during your reading. The act of creating the mind
map will have greatly increased how much you absorbed from the book, and if
you ever want to review the topic all you need to do is to look at the mind
map. If you want to learn the information very solidly then try to redraw
the mindmap from memory a few times. You will find it very easy.

Studying as a group (or family)

A group of people can work together to produce a single mind map by
following these steps:

  1. Individually draw mind maps on what you already know about the subject.
  2. Draw a group mind map combining what you already know.
  3. Decide what you need to learn based on this group mindmap.
  4. Individually study the material, all covering the same areas for depth
     of knowledge or all covering different areas for speed as appropriate.
     Each person completing the mind map by his/her self.
  5. Again combine as a group and create a final master group mind map.

Families who have started regular weekend study days as a hobby have
benefited tremendously. Children typically go from average or below average
to second or third from the top in all subjects and the parents also find
themselves excelling at work. One Swedish family was besieged by
neighbourhood children asking if they could join in the fun!

Meetings & Think Tanks

As soon as you write something up on a white board you have immediately lost
the creativity which everyone has. So any creative meeting should always
start by people spending a couple of minutes individually mind mapping. Then
as a way of running a meeting a master mind map on a white board allows
every idea or statement to be recorded and placed in an appropriate place so
that it can then be discussed at a sensible time. Also no one feels ignored
as all ideas are placed on the mind map.

Giving a Talk

When giving a talk a set of notes in the form of a single mind map has
several advantages over other memory aids:

   * Breif: Only a single page is needed
   * Not reading: As ideas are reduced to single words you will not be
     'reading' your speach.
   * Flexability: If someone asks a question you can move instantly to the
     place on your mindmap which relates to that question and then return to
     where you were without loosing yourself in a pile of cards or papers.

What can you do with a computer mind map

Computer Mind Maps offer several major advances over the original paper mind
map. These advantages should combine to make Mind Mapping as popular as it
should be:

Easy re-structuring

You can easily restructure your mind map, moving words and trees of words
around in seconds. This makes the computer mind map even better for quickly
creating new ideas and ordering ideas into a meaningfull structure.


Using the sytle system you can instantly highlight different features of a
complex mind map. E.g. you might make all the 'expensive' options suddenly
appear in bright red or all the 'good' ideas appear in bold underlined type.


Being brief and using single words is the key to a good mind map, but
sometimes you need to write sentences of explanation for yourself or others.
The computer mind map allows you to do this but to keep the extra
information hidden until it is needed. This can also be used for learning
information, you should be able to recite the 'comment' information without
looking at it, when you can do this you have 'learned' the contents of the
mind map and only need the key words to bring it back.


In this day and age it is not really acceptable to present your manager with
a crayon drawing of your plans. A computer generated mind map gets past this
problem by having the same high quality appearance as any other document.


With a computer mind map you can instantly export the mindmap to a normal
text file or to a structured word processor document.

How was it invented

Mind Mapping was invented by Tony Buzan following his research into note
taking techniques.

Note taking

Tony Buzan studied the three common techniques for taking notes during a

   * Writing a complete transcript.
   * Writing a summary.
   * Writing key words only.

He then tested each of these and found the following results when testing
how much was learned or remembered:

Least learned = 1

  1. Complete transcript given to student
  2. Student writes complete transcript
  3. Summary given to student
  4. Student writes summary
  5. Key words given to student
  6. Student writes own key words

Most learned = 6

Visual Memory

Another seemingly unrelated study on memory was also used in the formation
of mind maps. In this study by Ralph Haber 2560 photos were shown to
subjects. Then subjects were shown 2560 pairs of photos and asked in each
case to say which photo had been in the original group of 2560 and which had
not. The success rate at this test averaged between 85% and 95% showing that
humans have an almost photographic visual memory. In another study where
10,000 vivid pictures were used a success rate of 99% was recorded.


If two people all draw mini mind maps around the idea 'shoe'. (A mini mind
map is a mind map which only goes one level deep, i.e. it only has words
which are directly related to the central idea). If each person comes up
with seven related words, how many do you think would be duplicates between
the two people? Studies have shown that the average is one word in common,
and anything above two is very very unusual.

Try this yourself, get a friend to write down the first seven things related
to the word "shoe", and do the same yourself, then compare the lists.

Result, Mind Maps

With these results and other research Tony Buzan came up with a new method
for taking notes. His new system was based on the idea of making the notes
as brief as possible and also as interesting to the eye as possible. The
surprizing result was that mind maps can be used in many different ways
other than just simple note taking.

The mailing list

For more help and to share mind maps register to the Mind Map EMail list.
Send to:

a message containing the line:

subscribe mindmap

You can get general FAQ information by sending an Email to:

Related news groups etc:


The FTP site and WWW page

The WWW URL for mind mapping is:

<a href =>

If entering this into a viewer then just enter this part:


Buzan, Tony. "The Mind Map Book". ISBN 0 563 86373 8, 1993.

Haber, Ralph N. "How We Remember What We See". Scientific America, 105, May

Nancy, Margulies. "Mapping Inner Space: Learning and Teaching Mind Mapping"

Gabriele, Lusser Rico. "Writing The Natural Way" ISBN: 0-87477-186-2 and

Dianna, Booher. "Clean Up Your Act; Effective Ways to Organize Paperwork and
Get It Out of Your Life"

"Mind Map" is a registered trademark of the Buzan Organisation 1990.

For more information on products & training available from Tony Buzan send a
LARGE 10x30cm stamped, self addressed envelope to one of:

The Buzan Centres Ltd, Suites 2/3 Cardigan House, 37 Waterloo Rd, Winton,
Dorset BH9 1BD, UK. Telephone (0202) 533593, FAX (0202) 534572.

The Buzan Centres USA Inc, 415 Federal Highway, Lake Park, Florida 33404,
USA. Telephone (407) 881 0188, FAX: (407) 845 3210.


Mind Mapper 1.0, by EGLE Magic.

A windows based mind mapping application, it allows mind maps to be quickly
and easily created and then restructured. Shareware, free to students (18
and below) and high schools.

FTP pub/pc/win3/pim/

Fetch 300K

Mind Maps Plus Software program

Runs under DOS, requires only VGA. Cedar Software, +44 250 875929

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