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Memory, stories and mind maps


A while a go, I reviewed a book called Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath. Chuck Frey of the MindMapingSoftwareBlog recommended it to me, and it was one of those recommendations that change your thinking.  I was very enthusiastic about it (still am) and I did a mind map of it to include in the review.

Then last night, Paul Foreman of MindMapInspiration discovered and tweeted about it (his Twitter handle is @mindmapdrawer) and it went mildly viral as @IQMatrix, @Dr_SG, @gcimmarrusti and others commented.  I’m very happy about this – that book should be known to everyone.

But one witty comment from @Dr_SG caught my eye and made me think : “This an excellent map, Roy. It really lays out the important points of the book. So well, in fact, that I’m not going to read the book at all ;o)”

So here’s the dichotomy: Mind maps are supposed to help you remember things – they certainly help me, and that’s why I did the map in the first place.  I found the book very convincing and wanted a quick overview to go back to.  Then decided to review it briefly and publish the mind map on line.

But using the mind map as a prime source of the ideas in the book would mean you wouldn’t see all the delightful and persuasive stories, and the ideas wouldn’t be Made to Stick.

I know it was a tongue-in-cheek witticism Dr_SG, but I hope you will really read the book if you haven’t already!


  1. Roy, Thanks for the kind words re: my tweets. I try to keep things interesting ;o)

    So far as your mindmap and book are concerned, it is very true that I am pulled in two directions. The mindmap did give me a way to internalize the essential points of the book that I would probably come away from it with, anyway. If the book was dull, boring, or just badly written, then I could just say, “Thanks Roy, for trudging through that awful book and distilling out the important points, so I don’t have to,” and walk away. In that case, I would not read the book. It had some important information, but it did not seem to be a book worth reading for anything other than those points.

    In the case of “Made to Stick,” however, your opinion (which I value) is that the book is worth reading for not only these essential points, but also for the anecdotal examples, and all of the other things that make this book interesting and persuasive. For “Made to Stick,” I am just going to consider the mindmap as a teaser to draw me in to read the book, which I now have every intention of doing.

  2. What a relief, Dr_SG!


  3. Hi Roy. I’m a copywriter and just read Made to Stick. It’s pure brilliance and of course I’m going to write a review for my blog. I stumbled across this post, and am curious about this mind map. Unfortunately, the resolution is low, and I can’t read it. Would you consider sharing it? Perhaps by email. I’d be happy to include it in my article, if it could be of use to my readers.

    Sincerely, Rikke

  4. Hi Rikke,

    The first link in the post leads to the original article at informationtamers where you can click on the image to see and download the full-sized one or download the original MindJet .mmap file. Feel free to go ahead and grab the full sized map.

    I’ve now made that link bold and italics to make it stand out more – it wasn’t very obvious before, I can see.

    regards, Roy