What is a Mind Map and what is not a Mind Map?
That is the question...


What is a Mind Map?

What is a Mind Map - Definitions

Tony Buzan, the inventor of the Mind Map, states that a Mind Map is a powerful graphic technique which provides a universal key to unlock the potential of the brain.

Wikepedia, the free online Encyclopaedia, calls the Mind Map a diagram used to represent words, ideas, tasks, or other items linked to and arranged around a central key word or idea.

In the 'Ultimate book of Mind Maps', a Mind Map is described as 'the whole brain alternative to linear thinking.

Whatever the definition is, does not really matter. How you can use a Mind Map in your everyday life is what matters.

If you have not seen a Mind Map before and want to know what is a Mind Map, have a look at our examples. Perhaps the best way to get an overview of what is a Mind Map is to look at examples.

Mind Map properties

Describing a Mind Map is not as easy as it sounds. I would describe a Mind Map as having the following properties:

  • It contains a central image and/or key words that represents the topic you want to Mind Map.
  • Connected to the central topic are Organic branches that radiate out from the centre.
  • The branches start our thick and end up thinner at the ends.
  • These branches can be seen as headings for your topic. 
  • Connected to these branches are thinner organic branches.
  • These branches can be seen as sub headings.
  • This is followed by thinner organic branches containing details.
These basics will give you diagram representing your thoughts in a way that radiates out from the central image and thinking in this way is actually called radiant thinking.

While this may a reasonable description of a Mind Map to most people, Tony Buzan insists that a Mind Map should also have the following properties:

  • A coloured image in the centre
  • Images throughout the Mind Map
  • Printed Words
  • Words on the lines
  • Lines the same length as words
  • Lines connected to other lines
  • One word per line

What is not a Mind Map?

This question may be as important as what a Mind Map is, but can be a subject of heated debate. Many people draw diagrams which look like a Mind Map, but are not really Mind Maps if judged by Tony Buzan's laws.

While Tony Buzan goes to great lengths to prove that his version of the Mind Map is the most effective and only real Mind Map, the jury is still out and not completely convinced that this is true.

While we won't be going into the philosophical debate of how important it is to stick to the Mind Map laws, we will be using Mind Maps that are close to the puristic version of the Mind Map.

As Tony Buzan says in the Mind Map book: Accept, Apply, Adapt.

Try to stick to the Mind Map Laws as much as possible in the beginning. It provides consistent structure. Once you have a lot of Mind Maps under your belt, feel free to experiment and do what works best for you.

You will find a lot of information on this topic here. Feel free to comment and give us your experiences with Mind Maps.

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