Review: New book helps you get unstuck, focused and better organized with mind maps

Oct 7th, 2010 | By | Category: Books

Mind mapping e-bookIf you’re like most people, chances are you have idea for one or more really cool projects percolating in your head. But you haven’t taken action on them yet – perhaps because you don’t know where to start. Mark Dykeman, author of the ThoughtWrestling Blog, has launched the perfect antidote to helping you liberate your ideas and help you to organize them into a practical visual framework so you can take action on them.

In Unstuck, Focused and Organized Using Mind Mapping, Mark offers a concise, no-nonsense guide to getting started with mind maps, and provides a simple and easy-to-follow roadmap that anyone can use to transform their “someday” projects into reality.

Topics covered in Unstuck, Focused & Organized Using Mind Mapping (UFO for short)  include:

  • How to make a mind map
  • Sticky note mind mapping
  • Advantages of mind mapping for capturing ideas vs. writing yourself a note
  • Two-minute mapping to clear your mind
  • How mind maps adapt to your preferred learning style
  • How whole brain thinking can lead to superior results

The book also lays out a list of next steps you can take to implement what you learned, and suggested resources where you can learn more (including this blog and my Power Tips e-book).

One of the core concepts of UFO that really resonated with me was the idea of “frictionless thought organization.” Mark defines friction as “anything that slows down your ability to work,” especially when you’re capturing ideas. Unlike manual note taking, which is limited by how fast you can write, mind mapping is nearly frictionless because it enables you to quickly capture key words, concepts and ideas almost as quickly as you think of them.

Another high point of this mind mapping primer is the fact that it contains several common scenarios that today’s knowledge workers face. He even builds personas around them, making them seem real and adding a highly personal dimension to his explanations of mind mapping uses. Mark explains why they’re stuck, work challenges they faced and how mind mapping helped each person to overcome them.

Another element that adds depth to UFO is a series of four audio interviews that Mark conducted with key people who use mind mapping to stay organized, focused and prodigiously productive, including:

  • Social media and human business expert Chris Brogan
  • Michael Martine, the Remarkablogger, who teaches ordinary people how to develop extraordinary blogs
  • Dave Navarro, a well-known and respected product launch coach and
  • Chuck Frey (me!)

The interviews are very informative, and by themselves are worth the cost of this e-book package. Here are just a few nuggets to whet your appetite:

Chris Brogan talks about thinking in “dimensions” – the ability to explore all of the potential elements and relationships of whatever he is working on, and increasing his odds of success when developing a project by identifying potential “blind spots” in his thinking.

Michael Martine offers some fascinating insights into how he uses mind mapping to drive his development process for creating information products (e-books, online courses, etc.). I especially liked his explanation of how he utilizes mind maps to view the lifetime value of a customer – something I have never considered doing in visual form (but now I will!).

Dave Navarro has an interesting technique for capturing ideas and then moving them into project mind maps that I found to be particularly valuable. It’s a perfect, simple synergy of capturing notes in writing, and then moving them in bite-sized chunks into a software mind map.

Great job on the interviews, Mark!

The price of Unstuck, Focused & Organized Using Mind Mapping is $37; I’m confident that you’ll get many times that investment back in improved organization, productivity and creativity. If you’re chronically disorganized, aren’t sure what to do with your life or are simply overwhelmed by all you must do, why not invest in this book today?

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