Tony Buzan

Tony Buzan,  originator of Mind Mapping

Tony Buzan

Tony Buzan, Mind Mapping originator and memory expert

Tony Buzan is known the world over as the originator of Mind Mapping. He has authored (or in some cases, co-authored) over 100 books, predominantly on the subjects of the brain and learning techniques, memory improvement, mind mapping, speed reading, and the like. He first came to the attention of the public with the TV series Use Your Head(based on his book of the same name) in the 1970s.

Tony Buzan’s training companies have been instrumental in guiding the personnel of many multinational companies, so that they perform at their highest level of expertise, through the use of mind mapping, memory improvement, and several other techniques.

He is a member of Mensa, the high IQ society, and at one time edited the Mensa journal.

Mind mapping, developed by Tony Buzan

Mind Mapping, in various forms, has been around for a long time, but it’s an idea that has really taken off since Tony Buzan developed the concept further in the 1970s. Today, mind maps are used by people all over the world, in schools and colleges, in business and industry, and for personal use.

Essentially, a mind map is just an alternative way of making notes. Instead of the traditional linear method, writing down one line below the last, a mind map has more in common with a picture – it’s a visual guide to the whole subject, accessible all at once. You can take it in quickly, just like looking at a picture, absorbing lots of information at a speed that notes could not provide. Plus, looking at it is engaging, interesting and fun, unlike reading notes, which is quite likely to put you into a trance-like state brought on by boredom. And in that state, not only will you not remember much of what you read in the notes, you’ll probably forget why you’re actually reading them!

An example of a mind map - by Tony Buzan

An example of a mind map

The image is colourful and organic – you can add to it at any time. As it grows, information gets slotted in where it makes most sense, and is easily accessible and easily absorbed. No longer will you have to squeeze more information ‘in between the lines’ – now you can just make the picture more interesting and more ‘full’. A large mind map is actually engaging, in that you almost instantly take in a lot of information, and therefore you actively want to learn more. And that’s easily done, since the mind map is actually interesting and easily and quickly ‘read’.

Mind mapping actually aids memory improvement, because you tend to be more attentive to something that’s interesting and engaging than something that’s dull and boring.

Memory improvement, using Tony Buzan’s methods

Tony Buzan has written extensively about memory improvement. In Master Your Memory, for example, Buzan introduces the Self-Enhancing Master Memory Matrix, which he describes as the total learning memory technique. It’s not the simplest way to memory improvement, but it’s certainly a very comprehensive system.

He first describes experiments that show that humans can easily recall huge numbers of items of data. In one such experiment, subjects were shown a series of over 2,500 photos at a rate of one every 10 seconds, a total of seven hours viewing (split into separate sessions over several days). The subjects were tested one hour after the last session by viewing hundreds of slides in which one of each pair of slides was from the test series and one was not. On average, recognition was between 85 and 95 per cent accurate. So it’s fair to say from these experiments that humans do not have a problem easily memorising huge numbers of items of data (particularly in visual form). In fact, it indicates that it’s quite possible to master your memory, if you are determined to do so.

Tony Buzan’s ‘master your memory’ system allows you to use the basic 100 of the Major System and multiplies it by 10 (giving 1,000), and then repeating the process (producing 10,000). This is done by introducing a new element for each 1,000, such as vision, sound, animals, foods, etc., and then further introducing particular things for each section of 100.

Tony Buzan’s ‘Master Your Memory’ system does take
a certain level of commitment to get to grips with,
but once you’ve got the hang of it, the system does makes perfect sense

The benefits of this memory improvement system are that not only are you constructing a monumental mental gymnasium that will allow you to memorise any list you choose, but in so doing you will be using much more of your brain, and in a much more concerted way. You will be incorporating the use of all your senses and creating vivid and unique images in your mind, which will give your memory a fantastic workout.

Artists, writers, composers

Tony Buzan also includes lists of 100 of the most influential artists, writers and composers in history, together with their major works and the dates of their births and deaths. You can use his ‘master your memory’ system to memorise these lists, if they interest you, or you can apply the system to any lists of your own choosing. You’ll also find a brief precis of some of Shakespeare’s great works, including lists of the characters.

Memorising these brief outlines won’t make you an expert on Shakespeare, of course, but (as with the details of all the other artists, authors and composers) it will give you a solid background of information on which to ‘hang’ further facts as you discover them. In this way, it’s a very useful starting point for any study you may wish to undertake. Shakespeare’s plays form some of the most important works in the English language, or any language for that matter, and they have enriched the language for centuries. Learning even the basics of Shakespeare’s plays will give you a head start in any attempt to learn more.

Learn about Shakespeare using mind maps, created by Tony Buzan

A study of Shakespeare can teach us a lot more than just plotlines

He also points out that fifty percent of all spoken language is made up of just 100 key words, and for that reason he has listed those essential words in ten of the world’s most commonly spoken languages. He then outlines how to apply his memory system to learning the top 100 words of any language you need to know. This is a great resource for anyone interested in learning languages, and particularly if you are about to travel to a foreign country and need to have a mastery of the basic vocabulary.

The rest of the book deals with such subjects as the Kings and Queens of England, human musculature, the atomic elements, the Solar System, etc. All in all, a fantastic book to set you on the right road if you want to master your memory.

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