Category Archives: Accelerated Learning

Mind Map Master – Tony Buzan passes

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Sad news for us was that Tony Buzan died on 13 April 2019.

Vicki and I met him in 1981 in Johannesburg. A friend had set up a workshop from Tony called “Use Your Head.” She invited us to the session in Braamfontein because they were short of registrants! It was a freebie for us.

Tony was the leading authority on the brain who created the mind map technique. It has no peer for note-taking, creative thinking, presenting and much besides. He claims it has 250 million followers.

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The technique is like a Swiss army knife for the brain. As you well know, it encourages creative thinking and improves  memory.

Tony said he first noticed at school that some were intelligent – yet did not do well in traditional exams.

He first began to develop his ideas about memory and learning at the University of British Columbia. He was studying psychology, English and mathematics.  He noticed that the students who did well did not always have the neatest notes. In fact their notes tended to be messy and covered with doodles, scribbles and key words.

“The great thinkers, including Da Vinci and Montessori, always drew images and arrows and lines in their notes,” he said, according to The Herald of Scotland. “When I started using keyword notes, bigger letters, with colour and arrows, it allowed my brain to speak to myself with a lot less clutter. It was as if I’d been driving all my life with my windscreen caked in mud, and suddenly I could see clearly.”

After graduating from UBC in 1964, Buzan worked for a time as editor of the journal of Mensa, the high IQ society. A 1973 BBC series Use Your Head made him famous. He also published several books with the BBC which sold more than three million copies.

Tony was prolific- writing some 80 books in over 40 different languages.

He also established the World Memory Championships in 1991; the latest event will take place in Wuhan in China in December.

Speaking about his work, Buzan said his ideal was a world in which everybody was aware of their extraordinary potential. “And they use that for their own personal self development and to help others.”

His latest project was collaborating on Mind Maps for Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi’s new book Exam Warriors.

He had the greatest love of learning of anyone I ever met.

After the Braamfontein Use Your Head seminar we got to work with Tony and the Learning Methods Group. We gained new respect for ways to better ourselves – things like the importance of meditation, exercise, hobbies, music and culture.  We later set up Thinking Skills Training in SA. And then in Australia when my mom emigrated there.

I have now got great responsibilities in a non-profit organisation. But  sharing Tony’s gifts continues. Find out how to transform yourself here.

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4 reasons to come to the Thinking Skills Workshop

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The Thinking Skills Workshop runs over 3 days. But why take the time to master speed

Thinking Skills Johannesburg

reading and mindmapping?

Many written comments we have received over the years describe thinking skills as the best workshop I have ever attended. They wrote this alongside comments saying they appreciated the alternative format comment, the creativity, Richard‘s manner and entertainment, and the fact that the workshop was oriented to both a work and personal development point of view. It was engaging, challenging and they enjoyed the study technique and juggling.

Why then, would you NOT send colleagues who have a need to process massive amounts of information and deal with impossible workloads?


  1. Many attend thinking skills because it has a powerful personal development focus. I get e-mails 15 years later from people with graduate degrees telling me how their life was changed by mind mapping and study technique. Or how their career blossomed after they got the confidence to take control of their lives and change jobs. So don’t send your key people because they may outgrow your organisation.
  2. Or you could read Tony Buzan’s Mind Map Book or Use Both Sides of your Brain to save your attending the workshop. However, lots of people who attended have already read these and similar books, and they found that the practical hands-on experience of gutting a 400 page textbook in an hour irreplaceable. One delegate was moved to tears by the experience.
  3. I researched the stress levels of people attending a Thinking Skills workshop. Six months later they showed stress level scores reduced from around 80 to around 60 on a standardised stress questionnaire. (Interesting, but statistically ns.) Using the same questionnaire and Transcendental Meditation as the intervention they dropped from 64 to 30 after 5 1/2 months. This was a HIGHLY (P <0.0005) statistically significant result. So if your people are coming on the workshop to reduce stress levels, know there is a better way: TM.
  4. You can use WolframAlpha to to do the studying for you. This amazing search computation engine revolutionises the way we learn new stuff. Example, try entering “weather Johannesburg versus Cape Town”. It will return in about eight seconds with: “assuming Johannesburg in South Africa” (yes, there is another Johannesburg—in California with population 172 versus 3.888 million in Joburg according to WolframAlpha) … and it’ll  show you graphs of temperature, cloud cover etc for the past four days, and even the next three days forecast. Now try “movies with the word dog”. It gives you 32 titles in about 5 seconds. The possibilities are fascinating and endless.

So it’s up to you. Use these books and tools to guide you. Search for ways to read and learn faster or get it all in a practical, enjoyable three-day break from the mind-numbing routine of the office.

Next workshop details:

VENUE: Houghton

DATES:  tba

PRICE: See Pricing

Keep Learning!

Richard

PS I’m really not kidding about the 400 pages per hour stuff. Its not a miracle (at best) or scam (at worst). Its really all about strategy – and a smattering of speed reading skills. And Mind Mapping is really important.

Study Tips for Businesspeople

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Looking to sharpen your thinking skills? Working on a part-time MBA? Mind maps help big time!

Here are some quick tips for successful study
  • Start with the end in mind. Get your syllabus. Study it. Get out your study notes and checkout the headings and sub-headings. You don’t have time to read everything in total detail, so make sure you get an early picture of the whole syllabus and use that overview to pick out the key areas that always come up.
  • Spot. Spot. Spot. Get old papers. Figure out what always comes up. Go for that first. Early in the year.
  • Take a sheet of paper for each subject. List the main topics and sub-topics down the page.
  • Better still – make a mind map for each subject. Personalise each area by using your own codes such as “easy”, “interesting”, hard”, “need help with this” and “eeeek!” etc
  • Plan. Plan. Plan. Build in revision time EVERY DAY for stuff covered that day. Then review it again tomorrow, and again next week, and a month later. Then finally just before the test or exam.
  • Mind maps are fantastic for making summaries that are memorable and help you to get your head around stuff. They even make cool wall hangings – so you surround yourself with the stuff you’re working with. That way you never forget.
  • Be proactive. You MUST look over the textbook version of your next lecture or lesson BEFORE the lecture. This means you’ll have to pester the lecturer for what they plan to cover next. Don’t worry – he/she won’t see you as a nuisance – they welcome students who come forward like this.
  • Read cool books like Tony Buzan’s Mind Map book. Finkel’s Brain Booster.
  • Get free mindmap preview software by searching google for freemind or Buzan’s iMap.
  • Improve your mind with Transcendental Meditation – it’s proven to help you concentrate.
  • Prefer baroque music over heavy metal or industrial goth for your study times.
  • Get enough exercise.Take frequent breaks
  • Eat only fantastic food – organic is best.


For the younger student:

Call about our occasional 4 hour PowerLearning ® courses in Houghton fro teens. 1pm – 5 pm,Call 011 483 0685 for details. Checkout this brochure for more info