Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt

Wycoff, Joyce, Mindmapping: Your Personal Guide to Exploring Creativity and Problem-Solving, New York, NY: Berkley Books, 1991, ISBN 0-425-12780-X, 173 pp, illustrated.

As I write this review I feel as if I should instead be creating a mindmap for you the readers. Mindmaps are those diagrams that start with one word in an oval and then has other words and sometimes simple graphics shooting out in all directions. However, they are great for the creator but not particularly useful to those who were not in on their creation.

A number of strides have been made in understanding how the mind learns and creates. Edward de Bono and Tony Buzan are two of the most famous. The author worked closely with Buzan to develop mindmapping. This book is a very complete treatment of the concept. It has a number of examples to illustrate the technique.

In the book Write from the Start on using Jung/Myers preferences to develop and enhance writing skills, there are several mindmap diagrams, and it is a recommended technique for coming up with ideas and how to organize them.

This book is a workbook not just a textbook. It has lots of exercises to help you learn the technique of mindmapping. We are so used to jotting down points or writing in full sentences that some will find the technique a bit difficult at first. Ideally, this would be taught to children at a very young age. It is so useful to them in helping them be more creativity and as a study technique.

Mindmapping has a number of applications both in the academic and business worlds. Meetings are improved when ideas are placed on an overhead in a mindmap. The group can see what ideas are being considered and can then help organize them to carry them out. Mindmapping is an excellent way of doing brainstorming or just creating ‘to do’ lists. The main advantage is that with just a word or a short phrase a whole concept can be noted. It is a way for the brain to hold on to a number of distinct ideas at the same time. This is a very right-brained way of dealing with information. Although this book does not directly deal with Jung/Myers theory, this is an intuitive task. The mindmap would be a help to the sensing preference as a way to build up a complex concept one item at a time and then to move into intuition to see it as an overall pattern.

There are several tables listing Dos and Don’ts of using AV material. The myth of the paperless world has been exposed. With computers and photocopiers we are inundated with written material. We need ways to assimilate it better. Also, we have all sat through talks illustrated with atrocious overheads. It is helpful to have a set of guidelines that we can spruce up our own presentations and maybe pass these ideas on to struggling colleagues.

Mindmapping also can be used as a technique to develop yourself. One way to get at the deeper issues is to write in a free form way. However, the left brain often acts as a censor. Mindmapping your freeflowing thoughts can be a way around this guardian. Some find the task of writing very tedious. Mindmapping involves less writing but still is able to convey to you a great amount of material.

Mindmapping lends itself to the techniques of slide shows. Now that PowerPoint and Presentations (WordPerfect) are readily available to create this kind of presentation, and LCD projectors are becoming more common, watching a screen, while one point after the other comes up, adds to the interest of the audience. I was personally disappointed when I viewed two recent PowerPoint slide shows when they had not used this type of animation. They seemed very static.

If you haven’t mastered the technique of mindmapping, it is likely that you should, and this book is one that will be quite useful to help you learn how.

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