Writes Walter Mossberg (WSJ) reviewing a software called MindManager from Mindjet:
Mind mapping, or brainstorming, software has been around for years, but hasn’t caught on except for a small cadre of devoted users, mainly from big business and academia.
To see what mind mapping is all about, I tested MindManager for a week or so and found it to be a fascinating way to organize one’s thoughts about a subject or project. It’s not for everyone, and it has some downsides. But I suspect it could be effective for many people in many walks of life.
MindManager’s so-called mind maps are special documents that look like spider webs. The central idea or project title is at the center, and a series of branches radiate outward to represent subtopics.
As you build the map, fine-tuning your ideas, you add branches, and all the branches, in turn, sprout subnetworks of lesser branches. The branches are labeled with text and graphics, and can be linked or related to one another. Mindjet calls this visual thinking.
The software costs USD 99-269. Mossberg’s conclusion: “If you want to improve your writing or planning process, MindManager is worth a try. It just might make you look smarter.”
I find a blank sheet of paper the most effective for thinking. A mix of doodling, writing and redrawing works well. Of course, the pre-requisite is thinking and generating the ideas in the first place.