Before I proceed, I should mention that mind mapping is a registered trademark of the Buzan organization. I use the term on this web site solely for informational purposes and to spread the word about the tremendous value of mind mapping.
Tony Buzan is credited as being the founder of the mind mapping discipline. His first book on mind mapping - The Mind Map Book - has very detailed explanations about why and how mind maps work. A later book, Mind Maps at Work (also by Tony Buzan), succinctly describes mind mapping this way:
"Mind Maps use letters and numbers and they also use color and image, which means that they engage the left and the right sides of the brain. This is why you can increase your thinking power synergistically when you use Mind Maps. Each side of the brain simultaneously feeds off and strengthens the other in a manner which provides limitless creative potential." (Mind Maps at Work, p. 9.)
MindJet, makers of MindManager mind mapping software, also provides a great explanation of the mind mapping process on their web site.
Example Mind Map (created with MindManager X5 Pro)
Is mind mapping complicated? Not at all. In fact, learning mind mapping is easy and you can begin immediately. There are virtually no barriers to acquiring this magnificently useful, potentially life-changing skill. And don't worry if you aren't a visual learner - people with all types of learning strategies benefit from mind mapping.
Is mind mapping software expensive? Keep in mind you don't need to use software for mind mapping. In fact, it's probably better to do your first mind maps on paper (check out John Clapp's staggeringly beautiful hand-drawn mind map of "Vision + Art: The Biology of Seeing" for an amazing example - click on the thumbnail below to see a larger version on John's site).
If you decide to use mind mapping software - which is particularly effective for business uses like project management, presentations, brainstorming, and strategic planning - you have several options, including free mind mapping software. Price will never be a barrier.
Does it work? In my experience, mind mapping has provided extraordinary results both personally and professionally. I think you'll find that mind mapping can do the same for you.
Mind Map Resources
This list isn't complete - I'm only comfortable recommending resources I've personally used or read and found valuable.
- The Mind Map Book, Tony Buzan. This is the first book I read to learn both the why and how to mind map.
- How to Mind Map, by Tony Buzan
- More mind mapping books.
- Mind mapping software.
- Mind mapping process (courtesy of MindJet)
- Power Tips & Strategies for Mind Mapping Software ebook by Chuck Frey. If you want to learn about mind mapping right now, this is the place to start. Available for immediate download, Power Tips & Strategies is loaded with basic and advanced strategies for getting the most out of your mind mapping software. In my opinion, you simply can't go wrong with Chuck's ebook.
- Other Resources. Vic, at Mind-Mapping.org, has the most complete list of mind mapping software resources I've ever seen. He also has created a mind mapping-specific search tool you'll definitely want to check out.