by Michael Gelb
Simon & Schuster, 2003
Review by David M. Wolf, M.A. on Jan 19th 2004
Those who have
not yet heard of Mind Mapping will find in Michael Gelb's succinct CD, an
introduction to graphic methods to "wake up your brain" as he says,
and may very well find techniques for improving intelligence itself. But the CD
is not the best place to learn how to do Mind Mapping, because the tools
and methods have to be seen.
according to this CD, was invented by a British colleague of Gelb's, Tony
Busan. It's clear that this tool was evolved first as a new way to take lecture
notes effectively and concisely and without the bother of scribbling down every
word. But Michael Gelb goes to some lengths to convince us that Mind Mapping is
much, much more than pictures as note-taking. Mind Mapping is a natural
reflection of how our minds work, he says, and therefore, a brilliant new way
to think, set goals, get results in just about any area of activity.
Much of subject
of this CD is Gelb's argument for why Mind Mapping is more than making
notes, why it should be seen as a breakthrough set of methods and why these can
effect real changes in our performance. So, I think it's fair to say this
program is motivational in design and scope. And that's not a bad thing.
had not previously seen Mind Maps. Had I merely found them on my own through a
Google search, I feel sure I would not have taken more than a
passing interest in what looks at first like a colorful way to take
notes based on key words, use of capital letters, and lots of picture drawing.
Gelb's CD gets credit for telling us in specific detail just what Mind Mapping
can do for our note-taking, how it follows the brain's natural ways of making
associations and retaining information, and how Mind Mapping can
become a powerful tool for learning and mastering every sort of challenge
If there is a down side to Gelb's
approach it is that a CD is not visual--you cannot see what a Mind Map
looks like. Instead, you can Google "Mind Mapping" to see that and to
learn how to mind map in a step-by-step fashion. But Gelb's CD will get you
started using Mind Maps in ways that are fresh and even a bit startling if you
have, like me, been outlining materials with complete sentences for a long
time. Mind Mapping replaces outlining; that's for certain. And it can enhance
how we create and think.
Good Mind Maps
can be three-dimensional and always involve pictures. In fact, you start any
Mind Map by drawing a picture of the main subject you are interested in. So,
for example, if you flew to Paris, France with your spouse and wanted to figure
out how best to use your few precious days in the city, you would draw, say,
the Eiffel Tower at the center of a piece of blank paper. That's another way to
would start with radiating lines to each of the areas of interest and you'd
follow the basic rules of Mind Mapping: summarize information, simplify,
use capital letters on lines, etc. Soon you'd have something that shows the
shape and scope of what you can do in Paris; you'd have time lines and
a completely memorable way to block out your visit effectively. It would
be creative, it would outline and solve problems, help your recall because it's
associative not linear like notes. And it's all on one page.
Now, is this,
as Gelb asserts, more than fast, efficient notes? Is it a way to unlock that
latent genius we all hope to find in ourselves? Obviously, that cannot be
confirmed without giving Gelb's methods and instructions a test drive. His CD
provides several such exercises (you know, stop the CD now and do the following
exercise...), including one in which you get to make twenty-five Mind
for ways to be more effective should get this CD and learn
these tools thoroughly. This reviewer started out skeptical and has
rapidly transformed his attitude toward active participation. There is just too
much data, too many demands made on us all not to make use of
a graphical tool set that simplifies and improves our chances of
remembering all the things we're trying to accomplish.
© 2004 David Wolf
David M. Wolf, M.A.
studied philosophy of science for the M.A. with Prof. David Hawkins at the
University of Colorado, Boulder, and also read advanced philosophy at Trinity
College Dublin. His undergraduate education in Philosophy was guided by Prof.
Mason Gross. Wolf is certified in philosophic counseling with the American
Philosophic Practitioners Assoc. and earns his living in management consulting,
where he is distinguished in writing strategic plans and advising in
organization development and career counseling.