Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Book Review: Mind Maps: Quicker Notes, Better Memory, and Improved Learning 2.0 by Michael Taylor

Mind Maps could easily carry another subtitle: How to Train Your Brain! According to the author there’s a simple way to do that: Mind Mapping.

If someone ever told me that there was a way for me to start reading faster than I already do, I’d say that he was crazy. And if I’d never read this book I’d insist he was. However in the book at hand I’ve discovered a simple example, which I’ll call for the purposes of this review 'Reading by the Dot,' that left me speechless. Thanks to it I did not only read a paragraph in great speed, but I’ve also memorized almost every word of it.

It is widely known that every person uses only a limited amount of his mind’s capabilities. This book offers the reader a chance to enhance his reading and learning experiences, and improve his memory as well.

As we read in the introduction: “A Mind Map is a diagram you create to organize your thoughts. In conventional note-taking, you write information down line by line or perhaps column by column. Mind Mapping differs from such note-taking in that you present the information more in the form of a diagram.”

And how does that help me? one would ask. Well, for starters, I’d answer, it helps with your memory since it is easier to remember images than words. Visualization is the key word here. Kids, just as much as the adults, do not have many difficulties in remembering images but when it comes to words it’s a different story.

One of the examples that the author uses to prove his point is the diagrams he uses to create an overview of the popular novel To Kill a Mockingbird. Through these diagrams we follow the book from point one all the way to the end, taking a good look at the characters and their interactions, and thus get a brief yet detailed view of the story. “One idea is interconnected with many other ideas,” we read, and, as we well know, one person is interconnected with many other persons, which helps prove the point.

Mind Mapping has many advantages; it balances the brain, simplifies life, helps with creativity, and speeds up the learning processes. It also has some disadvantages though since it asks of you to change your habits, to spend time to get to know how it works, and maybe creates some minor problems when it comes to speaking since language is an auditory process. The former though overrule the latter, since learning how to operate with Mind Maps can help you change your life for the better in many ways.

“…essentially, there’s no limit to how vast your Mind Map can become. A subtopic in the first Mind Map you create may become the central idea in the next one you draw. Each subtopic in a map is in effect a center of another map. This is the beauty of the technique—relationships may go on as extensively as they exist in your mind.” Now, how interesting is that!

To be honest before reading this book I knew next to nothing about how Mind Mapping works. I’ve read things about it here and there, but I’d never thought to give it a try. Well, all that has changed. I now find this subject as intriguing as they come. As someone who reads dozens of books every year, and always wishes to read even more, I believe that adopting the technique of Mind Mapping will help me achieve my goals. I think that if I should come to master it the results could be, if nothing else, highly satisfying.

Mind Mapping can help one in many walks of life: from organizing vacations to creating business plans, from generating presentations to solving everyday problems, and the list goes on and on.

A lot of people say that everything is in our head; the book at hand proves them right. And then it highlights the way one has to follow to reach his own high point, to widen his horizons.

If you’d ask me to put this book in a category I wouldn’t know which one to choose. Is it a self-help manual? In a way it is, but it’s much more than that. To use a metaphor I’d say that this is a guide of how to use the GPS of your brain to find the destinations you desperately seek, and need.

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