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December 6th, 2012

Book Review: “Mind Mapping for Dummies” by Florian Rustler

I was introduced to the concept of Mind Mapping through the book “Moon Walking with Einstein.” Decided to check out the concept with this book. It’s a thinking structure that’s supposed to mimic how our brain neurons work so that we can assimilate information quickly, retain and recall contents easily. The author spent almost half of book on the technology side of the mind mapping and the other half on techniques, which is probably the right mix. The color prints are wonderful and I’ve learned a few things. Will need to practice more to be good at it.

My key takeaways:
On mapping: use 1 keyword per branch and Use graphic elements like colors, symbols, pictures, boxes, and connecting arrows.

One can use the mind map to prepare a talk/presentation, taking notes in talks, lectures and meetings, and manage projects.

There are lots of desktop software and apps available to help with the mind mapping, e.g. Freemind (free), iMindMap from Tony Buzan, Mindjet MindManager, and etc. The author provides a pretty review of the various software offerings. It does go into the inner working of the Mindjet Mindmanager and iMindMap.

On mindmapping reading materials:
A. Preparation: Skim the text (get an initial impression , and prioritize), recall the background knowledge (in a mindmap), setting questions you’d like to address and aims (what you want out of it).
B. Reading process: 1. Skim reading: read through from introductions, summaries, headings/subheadings and tables and illustrations. 2. Preview: read the first and last paragraphs of section section of a chapter. 3. Immersion: go into details if you haven’t got what you want. 4. Difficult Passages: focus on those passages.
C. Generate a mindmap from different sources.

Learning and Preparing for Exams:
1. Taking your mind-mapping notes: Tips on taking notes: 1. arrange keywords in a non-linear sequence, 2. Don’t write everything down word for word. 3. Link what you hear to what you already know. 4. Structure what you’ve heard. 5. Develop a system of abbreviations and symbols. Generate special study mind maps.
2. Entering your own thoughts.
3. Revising regularly.
4. Explain it to others.

Mindmapping for creativity
4P Creativity Model: People, process, press (team or org climate), and product.
Creative Problem Solving: The Situation in the center of the circle surrounded by teh following:
A. Clarification: Formulate challenges <-> Explore the vision.
B. Transformation: Explore ideas <-> Formulate the solutions.
C. Implementation: Formulate plans <-> Explore acceptances.
Principles of creativity – two-stage thinking
Divergent thinking: a broad search for many new and different alternatives.
Convergent thinking: a focused, positive evaluation of alternatives.
Mind Mapping is both divergent and convergent at the same time. applying keywords and using branches is divergent. Embedding each branch within a structure is convergent.

Developing and ordering ideas with MindManager:
1. Formulate an issue.
2. Inputting ideas.
3. Evaluating ideas.
4. Structuring ideas.

Posted by Derek Tsai in Book Reviews

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