The Mind Map Book
How to Use Radiant Thinking to Maximize
Your Brain's Untapped Potential
Published by Penguin Group/Dutton 1993
Some notes made by Charles Cave for the benefit
of the Creativity Web Page
Contents of this page
- The Mind Map Book
- The disadvantages of standard notes
- Mind maps use pictures.
- Harnessing the full range of your cortical skills
- Summary of the Mind Map Laws
- The mnemonic mind map as a mirror of creativity.
- Creative Thinking Mind Maps
- Computer Mind Mapping
The disadvantages of standard notes
- They obscure key words.
This prevents the brain from making appropriate associations between the key
- They make it difficult to remember. Monotonous single color notes are boring.
Most notes look like lists.
- They waste time by encouraging or requiring unnecessary noting, reading
and rereading unnecessary notes, and searching for key words.
- They fail to stimulate the brain creatively. Linear presentations prevent
the brain from making associations, thus counteracting creativity and memory.
Reading a list implies an `end' or `finish' whereas a mind map encourages the
brain to build on existing thoughts and ideas.
Consider the problem of "What are some alternative uses for a paper clip"
If you started to write a list, you would become bored and would probably slow
down. Alternatively, a mind map allows building on previous ideas, attributes,
or stepping stone ideas.
Mind maps use pictures.
The reason why pictures are `worth a thousand words' is that they make use of
a massive range of cortical skills: color, form, line, dimension, texture, visual
rhythm and especially imagination - a word taken from the Latin imaginari,
literally meaning `to picture mentally'.
Images are therefore often more evocative than words, more precise and potent
in triggering a wide range of associations, thereby enhancing creative thinking
and memory. So why do we bother taking notes without the benefit of images?
Sadly, we have a modern emphasis on words as the primary vehicle of
Harnessing the full range of your cortical skills
Hierarchies and categories.
A classic study done in 1969 demonstrated the importance of hierarchies
in an aid to memory. Generating ideas with a mind map is much easier than making
lists, because key words or "Basic Ordering Ideas" can be used as triggers. Linear
notes in the form of lists directly oppose the workings of the mind, in that they
generate an idea and then deliberately cut it off from the preceding and following
Harnessing the brain's tendency to function in gestalts or wholes, allows the
addition of blank lines to the key words on the Mind Map, enticing the brain to
`fill in' the beckoning areas.
Once the brain realizes it can associate anything with anything else, it will
almost instantaneously find associations, especially when given the trigger
of an additional stimulus.
The Mind Map is based on the logic of association, not the logic of time
(as in a list)
The Basic Ordering Ideas in any Mind Map are those words or images which are
the simplest and most obvious ordering devices. They are the key concepts,
gathering the greatest number of associations to themselves. A good way to find
these BOIs is to ask:
- What knowledge is required?
- If this were a book, what would the chapter
- What are my specific objectives?
- What are the most important seven (7) categories in the area under
- What are the basic questions? Why? What? Where? Who? How? When? often serve
remarkably well as major branches in a Mind Map.
Summary of the Mind Map Laws
1. Use emphasis
- Always use a central image
- Use images throughout your Mind Map
- Use three or more colors per central image
- Use dimension in images
- Use synaesthesia (the blending of the physical senses)
- Use variations of size of printing, line and image
- Use organized spacing
- Use appropriate spacing
2. Use Association
- Use arrows when you want to make connections within and across the branch pattern
- Use colors
- Use codes
3. Be Clear
- Use only one key word per line
- Print all words
- Print key words on lines
- Make line length equal to word length
- Connect lines to other lines
- Make the central lines thicker
- Make your boundaries `embrace' your branch outline
- Make your images as clear as possible
- Keep your paper placed horizontally in front of you
- Keep your printing as upright as possible
4. Develop a personal style
1 Use hierarchy
2 Use numerical order
The mnemonic mind map as a mirror of creativity.
Applying energy or power to memory produces a fertilization which results in creativity.
Mnemonic techniques involve the use of imagination and association in order to
produce a new and memorable image.
Like memory, creative thinking is based on association and imagination. The aim
is to link item A with item B, thus producing the new, innovative,
far-from-the-norm idea we label `creative'.
A creative device combines two elements to project a third into the future, but
the creative aim is to change or affect the future in some way.
Creative Thinking Mind Maps
- To explore all the creative possibilities of a given subject
- To clear the mind of previous assumptions about the subject, thus providing
space for new creative thought
- To generate ideas that result in specific action being taken, or physical
reality being created or changed.
- To encourage more consistent creative thinking
- To create new conceptual frameworks within which previous ideas can be reorganized.
- To capture and develop 'flashes' of insight when they occur.
- To plan creatively (Mind Map diaries with a yearly plan, monthly plan and
daily plan maps)
Computer Mind Mapping
At the moment computer Mind Mapping cannot compete with the infinite visual variety,
portability and `minimum tool requirement' of traditional Mind Mapping techniques.
However the areas where computers can offer a significant improvement to personal
productivity are the areas of automatic Mind Map generation; Mind Map editing;
data storage and retrieval, text input and organization of data. The creation
of many variations of the same Mind Map is also facilitated and accelerated.
Last updated: 4th June 2002