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Eric Mack

Is the term "Mind mapping" just too "woo woo" for business use?

Nick, I find that when I describe mind mapping to some business people, their eyes glaze over, possibly as the term sometimes conjures up ideas of some weird feel-good technique, reminiscent of the 1960's.

Lately, I have started sending my MindManager maps directly to clients. When I do, I refer to them as "visual project maps, " or simply, a "map." I don't want to cause anyone to overlook or be distracted from the power of Mind Maps by their colorful flowing lines, pretty pictures, or even the term "Mind Map." There is power in these maps. To me, that power is made all the more available in electronic form, where I can easily enhance, save, and share my maps with others.

I think that products like MindManager and your ResultManager will be the next leap forward in increasing awareness of the value of Mind mapping as a business tool.

Dave Shearon

I've oftened wondered if the ter Mind Map is even appropriately registered as a trademark. Although Tony Buzan did a great deal to popularize the concept, as I was studying the concept, I came across lots of references to this technique from long before Tony Buzan.

Nick Duffill

Dave - my bible is "Learning how to learn" by Novak and Gowin. Research into Concept mapping predates Mind Mapping, as you say.

Patrick Mayfield


I share your concerns, which is one of the reasons I did not continue my License as a Buzan Instructor.

I did not sign up originally to join a cult, but to leverage and make accessible Tony's work in creating and communicating ideas more accessible.

I wish Tony well, but I fear he may be believing his own myth as a guru.


My background is in multimedia and learning to learn. As a graphic organisation method, a radial hierarchy can be applied to a limited variety of tasks. As a default or knee-jerk, it is not so good though. Judging by the posts here I am sure you would all consider the task before applying a strategy.

The mind map tends to be applied by Buzan in knee-jerk fashion. From a learning to learn perspective, this is pretty bad news. Cult, and cult following are quite appropriate here. The self help section of the bookshop, and the seminar circuit tend to make the problem worse.

I would set concept maps as a level above though. The addition of the labeled association does add meaning to a semantic landscape. The method is taught with reasonable expectation in mind, and meaningful learning.

Buzan is simply an author. The main goal is to sell books and tickets. In terms of teaching learning to learn, or breaking out of the box, I believe the book sale has taken over the teaching. It is becoming faddy, narrow, cultlike and too closely associated with pseudoscience.

We have to work out where mindmapping/learningmapping fits into graphic organisers, and how those fit into our lives, not how to drum mindmappingTM into every task we can think of.


Bill Seitz

Lots of good points. I do call my maps "mind maps", but I don't point anyone at the books, since I have never found one I liked much.

I just occasionally structure some info (an org chart, a job description, problems/issues in a project) as a map, and people are very surprised at how the format communicates to them.

An online reference (a wiki?) to group together ideas, contexts, etc. for mind mapping would probably be a good thing...


John Tunney

I asked a friend what she thought of Mind maps. She was familiar with them but her answer was succinct: "I find I run out of space". I'd agree that is their main flaw.

I agree with Eric: I worked in an office environment and any attempt to make learning right-brained by the introduction of colour was branded 'frivolous'. I was criticised for using a Mind map during a training session.

Arlan Dean

I no longer try to convince linear thinkers that mapping is the answer to their prayers too (maybe it isn't). It works for me in my task domain(s).

As long as I can array, associate and fuse often disparate information elements in MM, drill down and in to other documents with hyperlinks and make notes suitable for cleaning up and sharing with the rest of the world via Word, it'll be a worthy tool for this visual thinker.

Understandably, some users of MM or mapping techniques in general "get religion", and begin to believe it's for everyone. It's a tool--and we all have the right to use our own favorites.

Moreover, part of knowing when to use this tool beyond our own desktops...is knowing when not to.


". . .but her answer was succinct: 'I find I run out of space'. I'd agree that is their main flaw."
I agree. And for just that reason Topicscape goes 3D to allow a mind/concept-mapping approach with few limits and the ability to center the map around any chose topic. Argey

Jane Welsh

Thankyou! You have all voiced what I have been arguing for some time now. I have just finished reading TB's latest teaching manual and have found so many errors. I asked the Powers that be to explain to me why Tony has not drawn any of the MMs himself only to be told that Tony is not creative enough to do his own drawing! MM work for me and the children and adults I teach, however we call them Mind webs, Web planners etc etc. Hooray! I am not alone! Jane Welsh- Brainwaves Australia.


i thought that you would be interested to know that Tony Buzan has realised a new video on 'how to mind map'. it can be viewed for free on YouTube.
Here is the link to the video. Please feel free to include it on your site:


many thanks,
Rose Angell

Nick Duffill

Thanks Rose

John Hammer

Too many anti-Buzan. Buzan is a great man and had the great concept. Talking about concept - if you want the main man, than look at Novak. Professor, researcher, and user.

Concept maps are much clearer. If you do not review mind maps than believe me, they are unintelligible over time. Concept maps on the other hand remain intelligible!

That has been my experience with hard core subjects like philosophy and law.

I failed my exams using Buzan Mind maps. That was shocking because I passed my exams at school precisely due to Buzan Mind Maps ! So what was going on?

The answer: when the going gets tough, Buzan mind maps - alas - get going 'out the window'.

With concept maps, on the other hand - they challenge you to really make it understandable at the beginning and then they 'remain' understandable when it is time to 'cram' again!

Buzan would argue: no cram boyo! Review regularly! But that is all theory because everyone ultimately is a 'crammer' !

Nick Duffill

There is a big difference between Mind Maps and Concept Maps. I agree with you that Novaks work sets the foundations for mind maps. The thing that appeals about mind maps compared to concept maps is that you can keep adding detail to a mind map, whereas a concept map is a network and not a tree.


I was taught "mind mapping" at school - and I went to school before Tony Buzan was born

What, apart from popularity did he bring to the party?

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