"Genius is in-born, may it never be still-born."

"Oysters, irritated by grains of sand, give birth to pearls. Brains, irritated by curiosity, give birth to ideas."

"Brainpower is the bridge to the future; it is what transports you from wishful thinking to willful doing."

"Unless you keep learning & growing, the status quo has no status."

Saturday, February 21, 2009


[Extracted from the 'Optimum Performance Technologies' weblog.]

Frankly, I regret to point out that this book is just another 'how-to' Mind-Mapping book.

Essentially, it's no different from what Tony Buzan or Joyce Wycoff had written earlier. Except for one: The author has now fully incorporated the use of MindManager software to go with it.

Undoubtedly, MindManager can expedite the mind-mapping process. [With all the available third-party add-ons, MindManager is really a godsend!].

In some way, you can say reading this book is like reading any of Tony Buzan's Mind-Mapping books, syntopically with the 'MindManager for Dummies' book!

In reality, this book is not ground-breaking & does not offer any new insights into idea generation.

I must add, however, for a beginner into techno-savvy Mind-Mapping, this book is still great stuff.

I also want to compliment the author for listing out a series of 28 Mind-Mapping applications & suggested practice activities in the Idea Mapping Menu at the end pages!

For beginners, this is obviously a very good place to start.

My only adverse comment about mind-mapping as envisioned by Tony Buzan & his staunch followers is that every topical idea must seemingly take a radial approach & commence from the centre. This book doggedly follows the same approach.

Nancy Margulies, in her debut book, 'Mapping Innerspace', during the early eighties, took a radical departure from the Buzan routine. She created 'Mind-scaping' - your topical idea can start from anywhere you like - which I thought is really great!.

To some extent, 'idea-mapping' as the book title is quite a misnomer. It is obvious to me that the author has a somewhat narrow perspective, arising from her only chosen exposure to Buzan's Mind-Mapping routines & the MindManager software.

A truly 'idea-mapping' book should provide readers with a smorgasbord of options to go beyond traditional Mind-Mapping & just MindManager alone.

To illustrate a quick point, 'Mind-scaping' routines appear exceptionally wonderful with SmartDraw Pro (with its abundant templates & cliparts) or even Microsoft Visio.

'Concept mapping' routines, with the topical idea starting from the super-ordinate hierarchy as postulated by Joseph Novak, & 'causal loop diagramming' routines (from the field of systems thinking) are pieces of cake with 'Inspiration' software.

'Fish-bone diagramming' & 'flow-charting' (which are other forms of idea-mapping) with either 'Inspiration' or 'SmartDraw Pro' softwares are some good examples, too.

There are too numerous other software examples to cover in this review.

[For readers who are visual thinkers with a high propensity towards conceptual modeling, I would even suggest the 'AXON Idea Processor'. It has an impressive 3-D modeling capability, with a 500-level depth migration. Incidentally, it's also a Singaporean thoroughbred!]

In the course of my work, I have come across a lot of followers who are simply indoctrinated by the mindsets of Mind-Mapping as envisioned by Tony Buzan.

I would like to share with readers the true power & value of idea-mapping:

An idea-map is just a visual tool to jot down & organise ideas, & then use it to generate insights, irrespective of whether they are from reading a book or just stretching your brain for a change.

This is the initial response.

Once, this map is drawn up - with or without software -, it's just an exploded-view (map) of what you have just captured. Period! Most kids at primary school level can do it very well.

After the idea- map is done, you step back, take an helicopter view & reflect on it, by seeing the bigger & broader picture as well as from the systemic relationships between what has been written or drawn on the map.

You can then add to or may even subtract from the map. A lot of thinking (& reflection) on your part goes into this stage. Tactically, you also cross-pollinate from what you have read elsewhere as well as from your own &/or other peoples' experiences in connection with your reflections (or memory jogs!) from the idea map.

This is what I call the reflective response.

Lastly, comes the final response, with which you readily integrate (or internalise) what you have done in the initial & reflective responses, into what you are thinking &/or planning to do.

The resultant outcome is your assimilative response. Using another lingo, this is your strategic model.

This is where the actual value of an idea map is primarily located! Not in the beautiful map - with or without software - you have drawn in the first place!

(I also note that a lot of Buzan followers simply love to spend time & effort in beautifying their mind-maps! This is really crazy!)

I love to call this end-point process the 'water logic' of idea generation, to borrow a phrase from Edward de bono.

The true value or ROI of an idea-map is WHERE IT LEADS YOU TO.

Of course, having a beautifully drawn or crafted idea-map is good for the ego - looking good, but going nowhere!

Just as I have said earlier, this book has really great stuff for the beginner into techno-savvy Mind-Mapping. But, please don't just stop here because life as well as business issues are never centralised.

So, keep exploring! The world is full of possibilities!

To summarise my review, the author, regrettably with all her good intentions, did not focus on the true power & value of idea-mapping in this book.

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