Tag Archives: Tony Buzan

Book: The Speed Reading Book

Just motivation to read
220 pages, ★★★

Tony Buzan is rivalled only by Steve Jobs and Ron L. Hubbard in terms of cult status. When reading Buzan, it’s the reader’s responsibility to take necessary precautions not to be fooled by his magical promises.

The Speed Reading Book shows, via many detailed steps, how reading speeds of 750 words per minute can be achieved (on a few occasions, he inflates this to a superhuman 10,000 words per minute). He starts be telling you to forget everything you were learned in school, and uses self-tests throughout to demonstrate that speed-reading comes at no sacrifice in terms of comprehension.

The cult of Buzan is welded with revolutionary optimism. Like revolution, many of his life-changing claims are total fabrications. If, like me, you’re wary of such extremes, then interpret this book as the Platonic Ideal of what reading should be. Let this book inspire you like fiction.

For me, this book was the realisation that I should start reading like an old man (with a lamp and a stick), start reading with a stopwatch, and with proper lighting and a desk that’s 8 inches higher than my kneecaps. It taught me that reading slowly doesn’t make me understand more. It also made me realise why the iPad is so amazing to read books on (because screens attract eyes like magnets, and because it makes reading with your finger on the page look cool and not retarded).

This book is smaller than the mere 200 pages from cover to cover. Large parts are imported from other sources or repeated multiple times. Read it fast. ★★★

Mind Mapping: Tea Categories

I dream at night, during the day, and in colour. I carry an A4 pad with me everywhere I go (even to the park or the market) and make notes on whatever enters my mind when I’m awake. I make notes as mind maps for everything.

Mind-maps help me think. The best essays I wrote in Cambridge, the best speeches I’ve given and the best lessons I’ve taught also started as mind-maps. All were made on a thick, ring-bound A4 pad at varying times throughout the day.

Here’s one I typed up. It’s a collation of many smaller maps I made while reading about Chinese tea culture.

The best mind mapping software for Mac is undoubtedly iMindMap 5It’s available here for 14-days completely free of charge.

All The Tea In China, India and Africa
All The Tea In China, India and Africa. Click to enlarge it considerably. © James Kennedy, 2011

Every node here has a much deeper meaning than I’ve written down. Reading every piece of information on this mind map reminds me of the book that contained it, where and when I read it (and can subsequently recall most of the books). Mind maps thus carry individual meaning to the person who made them. They prevent plagiarism and make our own thoughts more clear.

Lastly, but most importantly, mind mapping look really impressive. Even if it’s only for this reason, I encourage my students to map all their university assignments on paper before writing. Mind mapping looks sophisticated and intimidates everyone else.

I’ve also been using the Reminders app for iPhone recently. There are many disadvantages compared with an A4 pad (it’s small, fiddly and only does linear bullet-lists) but it does give you one major speed-advantage: it fits in your pocket 🙂