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MindManager is growing on me – Big Style!


Recently Mindjet organised a fabulous webinar with the author of Vincibook How to Think Like Leonardo daVinci (Us Amazon)– Michael Gelb in which he presents what he calls the 7 daVincian Principles. Mindjet kindly recorded and released this webinar for general viewing (thanks again guys!) so I had the pleasure of viewing it (and I really urge you all to do so too if you haven't already). I’m a massive fan Discoverbookof Michael Gelb and the Leonardo book has been a bible to me for a couple of years now (as is his excellent Discover your Genius (US Amazon) book which is on a similar vein) so Michael’s presentation of the ‘principles’ taught me little new. However watching his presentation and seeing the responses given by Michael in Q&A part of the webinar being compiled in MindManager by the Mindjet team got my little brain cells pondering in a way they haven’t before.

The thing is I’ve always completed the How to Think exercises using Word and have never felt compelled to use anything else. However, after viewing the webinar and thinking about how I’ve interacted with the book in the past, it dawned on me that there could be some significant advantage to be gained from using my shiny new(ish) copy of  MindManager to complete the exercises instead. Excited at the prospect I decided to put my theory to the test and complete the first Curiosita exercise (compiling 100 questions that are important to me) using MindManager. As the exercise has to be completed in one sitting, at speed I considered this a great exercise for testing the suitability of MindManager for such a purpose. Initially I was just going to copy one of my previous completions of the exercise into MindManager but that’s not really testing the application under ‘laboratory conditions’ so I completed the 100 questions again from scratch. Here’s how I progressed (bearing in mind that I’m still new to MindManager and may not be using the program as efficiently as I could be):

DOWNLOAD THE MAP if you wish to view it yourself (compressed in a zip file)

1.    Having created the central topic I quickly ‘banged’ out the 100 questions. I was going to do this using ‘brainstorming mode’ but having had a test run of this feature beforehand I saw little advantage to using it (please correct me if I’m wrong). I love how easy the process was - just enter a question and then hit ENTER each time to begin a new question. MindManager really facilitated the whole process just by being so unobtrusive to the completion of the questions.
2.    Once completed the instructions state that I go through the 100 questions identifying themes and relationships. Here again MindManager made the task effortless and more enjoyable. I simply created new topics for each distinct theme (such as learning & knowledge, and relationships with others) and drag and dropped the completed questions into the relevant theme. Being such a visual person I created little sketches to represent each theme, and also created a colour code for each theme and its subtopics. I think the sketches and the colour coding makes the resultant mindmap a little more ‘right side of the brain’ which is more on my preferred wavelength.
3.    The exercise then calls for me to select my top 10 questions out of the 100 i.e. the ones that are more significant for me. As I coincidently ended up with 10 themes I thought I’d just select one question from each theme. I did this without effort and to help identify them I altered the topic box and font colours of the chosen question.
4.    Final step was to attach a note to the central topic and list the 10 questions for quick reference in the future. Job Done!

I’m happy to say that I adored the whole process of completing this exercise using Mindmanger. It really was simplicity personified and a lot more satisfying and enjoyable than using Word. Perhaps my commentary looks as though I’m new to the concept of mindmapping but I’m not. I use mindmapping processes all the time (before owning MindManager I mainly used Inspiration, Photoshop or a low tech whiteboard to mindmap (pssstt……and even the odd paper sketchpad :o)) ) but mainly for brainstorming or note taking and never to complete self help exercises such as this. I intend to go now and convert all of my archived ‘How to Think’ exercises into MindManager

I’m beginning to experience a huge paradigm shift with MindManager. My previous irritation that MindManager was a little too boardroom, business-like and ‘left brain’ is beginning, as I thought it might, to dispel. I’m still new to the application but as I discover more and more uses for it the colour and ~+~out of the box~+~ thinking that it's bringing to my everyday paperless life is astounding.

Additional links of interest:
DorkoTech - Jason Dorko is a student who loves to evangelize the usefulness of MindManager as a tool for students. I love his energy and if your looking to increase your knowledge of MindManager then his website is a good place to start. He has tons of MindManager related info. Of particular note is his Dorko Demo  presentation of MindManager (WMV format) which was especially created as a promotional tool for 'hooking' students.
GottaBeMobile - Dennis Rice over at GottabeMobile is a huge self confessed MindManager junkie. He's produced a couple of great MindManager Inkshows (GBM's term for their in-house produced videocasts)  The Inkshows located HERE and HERE are well worth a look if you want to gain some knowledge of how the program works  (especially when using it with a TabletPC)
StudentTabletPC - The team over at StudentTabletPC are fans of MindManager and Trevor in particular has written a few first class articles. HERE is the direct link to their   MindManager category so you can explore at will.

Leonardo daVinci
There are of course a myriad of Leonardo da Vinci links out there but here are some of my favourites:
BBC's Leonardo Pages - A reliable, accurate and interactive da Vinci portal courtesy of the BBC.
NoteBooks of da Vinci - If exploring da Vinci's notebooks are your thing then I highly recommend the 'Sacred Texts' resource. This is an  online translation of  Jean Paul Richter's 1883 translation complete with scans of the book plates. Awesome!
Vasari's Life of Leonardo da Vinci - A contemporary biography of the great man from art historian Giorgio Vasari.
Web Gallery of Art - a huge resource showing some most of his finest works of art. The Web Gallery of Art is an awesome resource for pretty much every artist.

How To Think Like Leonardo da Vinci
Barnes & Noble University - There's no better way to complete the exercises in How to think like Leonardo than to do it in the company of others. A great way to do this is to sign up for the occassional but always FREE How to Think Like Leonardo course run at the Barnes & Noble online university. The only pre-requisite to joining the course is that you have registered an account with the BNU (free, no catches) and have a copy of the book. I've gone through this course 3-4 times now and love the interaction with others. The course is led by writer Dana Paxson and he does a great job of it. As the course is not run continually I've not been able to provide a direct webpage link to it but you can check anytime to see if there is one upcoming by checking the Life Improvement section of the university (at the time of writing there is a course starting on September 5th so if your interested then here is the direct link)

If you have any more additional links of interest then please let me know.


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Excellent Rob!

I really love it when I see someone "get it" with Mind Manager. It is such a great tool for organizing a cluttered mind or a confused group :-)

Thanks for the link and kind words on the video "InkShows" I did. I really do have a passion for this product, and have found the folks at MindJet to be great to work with.

Keep on posting your MM experiences!

Hi Dennis. Nice of you to stop by. If I know someone so prestigious was coming I'd have brought out the fine china and white linen :o)

Yep I intend fully to keep people up to date on my journey with MindManager and with people like you around I've got plenty of guides to keep me on course. I just know MindManager has a lot to offer me and hopefully, with my twisted logic, I have a lot to offer it.

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