Mindmaps – Litemind https://litemind.com Exploring ways to use our minds efficiently. Mon, 01 Jan 2018 20:43:29 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die https://litemind.com/made-to-stick/ https://litemind.com/made-to-stick/#comments Fri, 25 Sep 2009 13:55:58 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=124 Do you ever have the impression that no one takes your ideas seriously? It turns out that all ideas that spread like wildfire share some common principles. Learn how to apply them.

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Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die

Do you ever have the impression that no one takes your ideas seriously? Why is it so difficult to get our great ideas across while urban legends and conspiracy theories circulate so effortlessly?

It turns out these ideas and stories — the ones that spread like wildfire — all share some identical common principles. That means we can learn and apply these principles to make our own ideas more appealing and successful.

In this posting, Litemind reader Johan Dhaeseleer shares with us a mind map summary of the 2007 bestseller Made to Stick. The book presents the common traits of successful ideas, turning them into a simple formula we can use to make our own ideas stick.

From Great Ideas to Sticky Ideas

What’s the story with ‘sticky ideas’? According to the authors, Chip and Dan Heath, it means that “your ideas are understood and remembered, and have a lasting impact — they change your audience’s opinions or behavior”.

If you want people to do something — to actually use — your ideas, it doesn’t matter how great those ideas are: if you can’t get them across effectively, nobody will care about them. As obvious as it is, this is an error creative people make all the time: we care too much about developing our ideas and too little about communicating them effectively.

A Checklist for Successful Ideas

By analyzing numerous case studies, Chip and Dan show us the underlying principles that lead to ‘sticky’ ideas, noting that the more these principles are expressed in an idea, the more likely it is to become successful.

The formula is conveniently summarized by the acronym SUCCES, meaning:

  • Simple: What’s the essential core of the idea?
  • Unexpected: Does the idea grab people’s attention?
  • Concrete: Is the idea clear? Isn’t it abstract?
  • Credible: Will people believe the idea?
  • Emotion: Will people care about the idea?
  • Story: Does the idea inspire people? Will they act on it?

A Quick Example

To understand how the formula works, let’s take a look at one of the case studies in the book: You do know Jared, the 425-pound fast-food dieter, don’t you?

If you live in the US you certainly know about him. For those who don’t, Jared is the central character in one of the most successful ad campaigns of the decade, created for fast-food chain Subway. The ad campaign is about how Jared shed almost 100 pounds (45 kg) in just 3 months by eating mostly at Subway. (You can check the original ad here).

So, how did the ‘Jared’ ad campaign become so immensely successful? Here’s how it fits in Made to Stick‘s SUCCES formula:

  • Simple: Eat sandwiches and lose weight.
  • Unexpected: A guy lost a lot of weight by eating fast food!
  • Concrete: He shows his oversized pants, mentions specific sandwiches.
  • Credible: We can see how a guy who used to wear 60-inch pants and XXXXXXL shirts is now slender.
  • Emotional: We care more about an individual — Jared — than about a faceless person in a crowd.
  • Story: The protagonist overcomes big odds to triumph. He inspires the rest of us to do the same.

If you think about this formula, you’ll see that you can use it to make just about any idea more appealing.

Book Summary

Find below the summary of Made to Stick in mind map format.

The mind map is courtesy of Litemind reader Johan DHaeseleer, and is Johan’s second contribution to our growing gallery. (Make sure you check his previous mind map on Brain Rules — another truly amazing book.)

Made to Stick Book

Get the mind map for Made to Stick:

A Short Digression on Mind Map Formats: Introducing XMind

A while ago, another amazing Litemind reader, Bruno Unna (round of applause, please), recommended the XMind mind mapping application. After playing with it for a while, I was impressed.

XMind is free, open-source, multi-platform, portable and much easier to use than Freemind (not to mention that the resulting mind maps are much more elegant!)

Although my primary mind mapping application of choice continues to be MindManager, XMind now comes as a close second.

I always like to offer open, platform-independent mind maps to readers — that’s why I’ve been including mind maps in Freemind format. If I don’t find any showstoppers, I’ll share them using XMind from now on.

Conclusion

What I enjoy the most about Made to Stick is that Chip and Dan practice what they preach: the book is packed with great stories and examples, so it’s not only very informative but a great and fun read.

That’s probably why it became a successful, ‘sticky’ hit, and has been on many “must read” book lists (like in Jack Covert’s compilation 100 most influential books of all time and many others).

If you’re interested in Made to Stick, you can get more information in the official website or buy it directly from Amazon.com.



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Brain Rules: 12 Principles for Surviving and Thriving at Work, Home, and School https://litemind.com/brain-rules/ https://litemind.com/brain-rules/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2009 12:24:09 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=95 Brain Rules is a fascinating book that explores twelve simple principles to help us make the best use of our brains, enabling us to become better teachers, students, parents and business leaders. Check out the full scoop.

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Brain Rules

Brain Rules is a fascinating book that explores twelve simple principles to help us make the best use of our brains, enabling us to become better teachers, students, parents and business leaders.

Find below a short review of the book, along with a mind map summary created by Litemind reader Johan D’Haeseleer.

The 12 Brain Rules

The 12 principles describing how our brain works best, which form the core of Dr. John Medina’s book Brain Rules, are:

  1. Exercise. Exercise boosts brain power.
  2. Survival. The human brain evolved, too.
  3. Wiring. Every brain is wired differently.
  4. Attention. We don’t pay attention to boring things.
  5. Short-term memory. Repeat to remember.
  6. Long-term memory. Remember to repeat.
  7. Sleep. Sleep well, think well.
  8. Stress. Stressed brains don’t learn the same way.
  9. Sensory integration. Stimulate more of the senses.
  10. Vision. Vision trumps all other senses.
  11. Gender. Male and female brains are different.
  12. Exploration. We are powerful and natural explorers.

For a more detailed explanation of each of these rules, including videos, check out ‘The 12 Rules‘, on the Brain Rules website.)

Although many of us may already intuitively know at least some of these principles, Dr. Medina explains the science behind each of them in a clear, accessible and often very funny manner, bringing along many entertaining stories and practical ideas we can use in classrooms, corporations or in any work environment. The principles are also explained in several, often hilariously funny short videos, to help reinforce each chapter’s concepts (the book ships with a companion DVD).

The main idea of the book — which also serves as a big call for action — is that most of what’s in our world ignores these rules. As Dr. Medina points out, if you wanted to create an educational environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at doing, you would probably design something like a classroom. And the examples go on and on, from business presentations to office cubicles.

The good news is that we have an incredible amount of room for improvement in practically everything we design, if only we would consider the brain rules when designing the world around us.

No Mumbo-Jumbo

Throughout the years, I gradually lost interest in reading ‘brain facts’ articles. Things like “Humans use only 10% or less of their brain“, or the idea that “listening to Mozart makes you smarter” being passed as scientific truths started to really annoy me.

And that’s what I really like about Brain Rules: it’s based on real science. It’s backed up by peer-reviewed studies, often replicated many times. So when I say science, I mean it. And, surprisingly to many people, that doesn’t mean the book is boring, not by any means. In Dr. Medina own words, “I’m a nice guy, but a grumpy scientist.” Refreshing!

Getting Help from an Engaged Litemind Reader

For ages I wanted to mention Brain Rules on the blog, but never got around to doing it. Reader Johan D’Haeseleer lent me a hand and generously sent a mind map he created, making up for my procrastination.

Johan has been a work simplifier for a big part of his life. In chatting with him, I discovered that we share many ideas, including the belief that we can treat almost anything as processes that can be learned, simplified and optimized — an idea that I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. (Johan’s website is in Dutch, but for the curious, non-Dutch-speaking types there’s always Google Translate.)

The Mind Map

And here’s Johan’s mind map, which joins Litemind growing book summary gallery. Enjoy!

Brain Rules Book

Get the mind map for Brain Rules:

More Resources

I would have included several links to Brain Rules materials and reviews, but the official Brain Rules website already acts as a great hub for all related information floating around. So, just head over there and browse around — there’s a blog, many videos, audio excerpts and much more to keep you entertained.

If you like what you see, don’t forget to come back here and buy your copy.



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A Whole New Mind https://litemind.com/whole-new-mind/ https://litemind.com/whole-new-mind/#comments Wed, 21 Jan 2009 14:33:58 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=83 The rules of the game are changing: in order to thrive in this new era of abundance of cheap processing capabilities, we must acquire a new set of skills. Although “left brain skills” continue to be useful, they’re not enough anymore.

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A Whole New Mind

“The last few decades have belonged to a certain kind of person with a certain kind of mind — computer programmers who could crank code, lawyers who could craft contracts, MBAs who could crunch numbers. But the keys to the kingdom are changing hands.”

This starts and sets the tone for the thought-provoking best-seller A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel Pink. In an easy-to-read way, Dan outlines the changes that are underway, as well as how to develop ourselves in order to thrive in this new era.

Half-a-Mind Is Not Enough

A Whole New Mind is based extensively on the classic left/right brain metaphor — and I must say it’s a very useful one in making the point of the book.

In the last few decades, most of the thriving professionals were those who excelled in “left-brain thinking” — information processing, sequential thinking, analysis, logic, organization, numeric ability and attention to detail.

Lately, however, information is getting easier and easier to acquire. Knowledge that was once locked behind hard-to-earn degrees is becoming widely and cheaply available. In this new world, a great deal of the information processing we performed can now be cheaply automated or assigned to high-qualified professionals overseas — for a fraction of the cost.

Although “left brain skills” continue to be useful, they’re not enough anymore. The rules of the game are changing.

Right Brain Rising

In order to thrive in this new era of abundance of cheap processing capabilities, we must acquire a new set of skills. These skills are usually associated with “right brain characteristics”, such as holistic thinking, synthesis, intuition, estimation and emotional literacy. This paragraph from the book sums it up well:

“The capacity to detect patterns and opportunities, to create artistic and emotional beauty, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into something new. The ability to empathize with others, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in one’s self and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian in pursuit of purpose and meaning.”

If this sounds a bit fluffy for you, that’s exactly the point. They only sound like that because we’re too much in the habit of using only our ‘sharp’, left-brain mind. We’ve been using much less brainpower than we can. That’s a luxury we can’t afford anymore.

A Framework for Thriving in This New Era

The good news is that those “right brain skills” are already natural to humans — they only got atrophied.

In the book, Dan groups these skills in six aptitudes, exploring each one of them in detail. And this is what I most enjoy about the book: you can use the six aptitudes as a framework for developing and assessing how your skills measure up.

Here are the six aptitudes:

  1. Design (not just function). Create solutions that go beyond providing the desired utility, but that are enriched with significance and pleasantness.
  2. Story (not just argument). Create compelling narratives, enriching dry facts with emotion.
  3. Symphony (not just focus). Synthesize and put pieces together, combine seemingly unrelated ideas and be able to see the big picture.
  4. Empathy (not just logic). Be in the other guy’s shoes and learn to intuit feelings and read emotions.
  5. Play (not just seriousness). Blur the solid line between work and play and embrace well-being, lightheartedness, laughter, games and humor.
  6. Meaning (not just accumulation). Transcend the quest for material accumulation and pursue more significant desires. Find meaning in life and develop your intuition.

Contrary to what I initially thought, as ‘soft’ as these aptitudes look, you can methodically develop them. At the end of each chapter, Dan proposes exercises and provides additional resources so you can further pursue each one of them.

Downloadable Book Summaries

As I usually do with great books, I summarized it using mind mapping. Mind mapping is, in itself, a ‘whole-brain activity’, so it was particularly fun creating one for this book. Enjoy!

A Whole New Mind Book

Get the mind map for A Whole New Mind:



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How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci https://litemind.com/how-to-think-like-leonardo-da-vinci/ https://litemind.com/how-to-think-like-leonardo-da-vinci/#comments Tue, 09 Sep 2008 14:33:20 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=55 How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci does a superb job of capturing the essence of Leonardo’s genius and laying it out in a practical framewor. Here are the 7 key areas that shaped Leonardo’s genius and which you can use for your own self-improvement.

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How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci - Mind map

In this post, I present a summary of the mind-expanding bestseller How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day, along with some thoughts about Leonardo and the book. (To skip directly to the summary, click here.)

Leonardo is my Childhood (and Adulthood) Hero

Since my childhood, I was utterly fascinated by the figure of Leonardo da Vinci and his achievements. It never ceased to puzzle and amaze me how a single person could be a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer.

Fast forward many years, it was when visiting Leonardo’s exhibition in the Milan Science and Technology Museum that I decided to have him as a permanent source of inspiration for life. Being able to get in touch with his mastery of both science and arts captivated me for good.

Leonardo is not only probably the greatest genius ever: he’s the one that most fully embodies the ‘Renaissance Man‘ ideal. Pursuing that ideal means being focused not on excelling on a single knowledge domain, but on having a holistic view of excellence in life. It means much more than just intellectual achievement, it means full realization of human potential in every aspect.

Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (detail)

A Framework for Genius

In How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci, author Michael Gelb does a superb job of capturing the essence of Leonardo’s genius and laying it out in a practical framework for self-improvement. Here are the 7 key areas that shaped Leonardo’s genius and which you can use as a framework for your own self-improvement:

  1. Curiosità: An insatiably curious approach to life and an unrelenting quest for continuous learning.
  2. Dimostrazione: A commitment to test knowledge through experience, persistence, and a willingness to learn from mistakes.
  3. Sensazione: The continual refinement of the senses, especially sight, as the means to enliven experience.
  4. Sfumato: A willingness to embrace ambiguity, paradox, and uncertainty.
  5. Arte/Scienza: The development of the balance between science and art, logic and imagination. “Whole-brain” thinking.
  6. Corporalitá: The cultivation of grace, ambidexterity, fitness, and poise.
  7. Connessione: A recognition of and appreciation for the interconnectedness of all things and phenomena. Systems thinking.

In the book there’s a thorough explanation of how each of these seven key areas applies in Leonardo’s life. More importantly, it’s packed with practical advice and dozens of exercises you can start doing immediately to develop your thinking skills in many unconventional ways. For a reference to the exercises, check the free book summary below.

Book Summary

This mind map summary focuses on the practical exercises contained in the book, so it’s intended to be more of a reference you can come back to from time to time than a complete replacement of the book. (If you enjoyed the article 120 Ways to Boost Your Brain Power, you’ll recognize that some of those tips came from this book, but you’ll also find a wealth of new tips which aren’t in that article.)

How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci Book

Get the mind map for How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci:

As a side note, I found it rather amusing to summarize this book using mind mapping, since How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci was one the first references I came across when learning about the technique.

Conclusion

About a decade later, after having bought it in 1998, I still use How to Think like Leonardo da Vinci regularly as a reference for inspiration and personal growth. This book ended up becoming one of the most influential for me, solidifying my choice of Leonardo as a role model and presenting a very useful framework that I use for self-development up until today.

…Which made me curious. Do you have one or more role models in life? Who inspires you the most to reach your full potential? Share in the comments!

La Scapigliata (detail)



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The Medici Effect https://litemind.com/medici-effect/ https://litemind.com/medici-effect/#comments Wed, 18 Jun 2008 11:53:09 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=48 In The Medici Effect, author Frans Johansson explores one simple yet profound insight about innovation: in the intersection of different fields, disciplines and cultures, there’s an abundance of extraordinary new ideas to be explored. Click and check the full book summary.

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The Medici Effect - Mind Map

In this post, I present a mind map of the book The Medici Effect: Breakthrough Insights at the Intersection of Ideas, Concepts, and Cultures, along with a quick review of the book (to skip directly to the mind map, click here).

Step Into the Intersection

In The Medici Effect, author Frans Johansson explores one simple yet profound insight about innovation: in the intersection of different fields, disciplines and cultures, there’s an abundance of extraordinary new ideas to be explored.

Putting together ideas from different areas — ideas that were always seen as completely apart — can easily generate an explosion of new ideas. And since the best way to have great ideas is to have lots of ideas, the best chances for innovation are at those intersections.

The book makes a case for learning broadly and the importance of keeping a curious attitude. This comes as an inspiring invitation to explore other areas than our own and as a reminder to always pursue our ‘side’ interests.

Johansson shares many interesting stories of cross-pollination between disciplines, as he does in his blog. Ecologists helping logistics experts to plan truck routes more efficiently, or astronomers unintentionally unraveling old ecology mysteries: the intersections are literally everywhere.

Idea Generation and Execution

What I really like about this book is that it doesn’t focus solely on the dynamics of generating innovative ideas: it goes on to discuss the implementation of ideas. All of us have great ideas every now and then. However, a great idea alone is never enough for true innovation: the bottleneck for innovation usually lies in executing your ideas.

And that is largely because there are many psychological barriers associated with pursuing novel ideas: fear of failure, social rejection, or risking one’s reputation — just to mention a few. Discussing these barriers and giving tips to overcome them makes the book even more practical and useful.

Interested? Get It All for Free.

Great news: Nicely for us, author Frans Johansson made the full book available as a free download in his website. If you don’t mind reading on the computer screen, you can’t miss the opportunity to read a great book for free.

As for the book summary, here it is in three flavors:

The Medici Effect Book

Get the mind map for The Medici Effect:

Next Book, Please?

I usually get positive feedback for the book summaries I present here, so I will keep posting them. I have some books in my reading queue and since I’m not quite sure what to read next, I figured I should ask my readers.

Let me know what to read next by taking the poll below. These are the books I currently have in my reading queue — let’s hope they’re good enough to deserve a summary: if you have another suggestion, please let me know in the comments and I could maybe add it to my next Amazon shipment. Thanks!

[poll id=”3″]



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Study Matrix Mind Map Showcase https://litemind.com/study-matrix-mind-map-showcase/ https://litemind.com/study-matrix-mind-map-showcase/#comments Wed, 07 May 2008 14:19:45 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=41 Recently, from a comment in blog, I found Adam Sicinski’s IQ Matrix Blog. What a wonderful surprise! The website has a wealth of amazing, beautifully-crafted mind maps about various topics relevant to personal development. Check it out.

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5 Keys to Improving Your Memory

I usually visit the website of those who leave comments in my postings. Recently, from a comment in the article Journal to the Self, I found Adam Sicinski’s IQ Matrix Blog.

What a wonderful surprise! The website has a wealth of amazing, beautifully-crafted mind maps about various topics relevant to personal development — such as accelerated learning, life success principles, cognitive psychology, memory enhancement, time management and many others.

Mind Map Showcase

Adam Sicinski’s maps are perfectly aligned with Litemind’s mission, so following I present 5 selected mind maps on the topics of: learning, time management, memory, stress management and advanced mind mapping.

Click on the thumbnails to see a larger view of the mind maps. Below each thumbnail is also a link to the original article in Adam’s blog. These articles contain detailed explanations about the mind maps’ contents, as well as links to the full, downloadable maps (in both wide-screen and standard formats). Enjoy!

5 Keys to Improving Your Memory

5 Keys to Improving Your Memory

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6 Keys to Learning

6 Keys to Learning

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5 Keys to Effective Time Management

5 Keys to Effective Time Management

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6 Keys to Stress Management

Keys to Stress Management

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Advanced Mind Mapping Strategies

Study Matrix 101

[ larger image | original post ]

Get More

This is not a sales pitch, sponsored post or anything like that — I am posting these links because I was amazed with the detail and the attention that went into creating them, and how they really express the essence of the ideas.

Browse around the IQ Matrix Blog and the companion IQX Shop, and check how Adam is quickly developing many great learning resources. Some are paid (such as study aids recreating Shakespearean literature classics), but most of them are free.



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Journal to the Self: 13 Tools to Make Journaling Work for You https://litemind.com/journal-to-the-self/ https://litemind.com/journal-to-the-self/#comments Tue, 08 Apr 2008 15:27:13 +0000 http://litemind.com/?p=39 In this post, I present 13 specific journaling tools you can start using immediately, along with a mind map of the great book Journal to the Self.

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Journal to the Self - Mind Map

In this post, I present 13 specific journaling tools you can start using immediately, along with a mind map of the book ‘Journal to the Self: Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth‘.

Journaling is perhaps the most effective and direct way to get a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you. By putting your thoughts in writing, you trigger some unique mental processes that often lead to invaluable new insights.

In the book Journal to the Self, Kathleen Adams presents many tools that make the process of journaling much easier and enjoyable, presenting plenty of choices to make journaling work for you.

Regardless of your writing style (or even if you see yourself as someone who doesn’t enjoy writing at all), you’ll find tips to make your self-discovery journey more effective and enjoyable.

Journaling Tools

The Journaling Toolbox is the meat of Journal to the Self. It’s a set of 13 specific tools you can use to spice up that old-fashioned journal of yours or start a brand new one. Here they are, in a nutshell:

  1. Springboards: These are ready-made phrases that answer the question "What should I write about?". They can be questions, statements, quotations — anything that helps you to get started.
  2. Character Sketch: Describe another person (or yourself) from the other person’s point of view. Great to use when you’re in conflict with someone or want to know or others (or yourself) in a more intimate way.
  3. Clustering: This is journaling in mind map format. This debunks the myth that a journal needs to be a long and verbose piece. You journal can be made of mind maps, drawings or just doodles if you like!
  4. Captured Moments: "The Captured Moments journal technique allows you to celebrate and savor, preserving in prose the glory and anguish, the serenity and sorrow, the pleasure and pain of your life" […]. A great candidate to be sent in a time capsule to the future.
  5. Dialogue: Due to its flexibility, this is called the Swiss army knife of the journal toolbox. Contrary to what you may think, a journal doesn’t need to be a boring monologue. Also, writing in true conversational style unlocks many different and interesting thoughts.
  6. Lists: This is where the great List of 100 technique came from. This is the most amazing problem solving technique I know. If you haven’t used it yet, do yourself a favor and check it out now.
  7. Stream of Consciousness: Very intuitive in nature, this is also called ‘meditative writing’. Here you just let yourself be guided by your subconscious. You will be surprised where you may end up. You may use aids like visual imagery as well, such as in a mental sanctuary.
  8. Steppingstones: This is about listing the main milestones of your life — those moments when you said to yourself "My life will never be the same again from now on". Explore your steppingstones’ many different aspects, either positive or negative.
  9. Time Capsule: Slightly different than the Time Capsule I am used to, this tool focuses on regularly writing and combining time-sensitive journals to help you pinpoint your own cycles, patterns and rhythms.
  10. Topics Du Jour: Each day of the month, focus on a different, pre-defined aspect of your life and quickly journal about that. An amazing personal development tool to monitor each area of your life. I’ve written about it in more extensively here.
  11. Unsent Letters: Great for expressing deep emotion, such as anger or grief. Communicate your opinions, hostilities, resentments, affections or controversial points of view in a safe, nonthreatening atmosphere.
  12. Perspectives: Allow you to explore the roads not taken in your life. Step into the future or the past and glimpse the world as it might have been for you or other people.
  13. Dreams and Imagery: Dreams can provide great insight into your life, and this technique makes sure you pay attention to them and put them to good use.

Note: Although the subtitle of the book is ‘Twenty-Two Paths to Personal Growth’, there are only thirteen tools that I could count. There are twenty-two chapters, yes, but I found the title needlessly misleading for that reason.

Now to the Full Book

When it comes to book summaries, mind mapping is usually my preferred choice, and this time it’s no different. Enjoy.

Journal to the Self Book

Get the mind map for Journal to the Self:



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Getting to Yes https://litemind.com/getting-to-yes/ https://litemind.com/getting-to-yes/#comments Mon, 28 Jan 2008 13:50:25 +0000 http://litemind.com/getting-to-yes/ Learning to better negotiate is more useful than you would probably think. Here's a summary of the book Getting to Yes, which presents the great concept of principled negotiation, useful in many life situations. Check it out.

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Getting to Yes - Mind Map

In this post, I present a mind map with the summary of the book Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher, William Ury and Bruce Patton. (To skip the rest of the post and go directly to the online mind map, click here.)

First Things First

Like it or not, you are a negotiator.

We tend to have a mental image of negotiation as being something restricted to executives in large corporations or politicians arranging complex deals. But negotiation is a skill that everybody uses every day; not only when buying a car or asking for a raise, but in a myriad of trivial situations such as when agreeing with somebody on which restaurant to go or which movie to watch.

Learning to better negotiate is more useful than you would probably think.

The Negotiation Dilemma

I was always averse to the whole idea of negotiation (just like I was to business networking). I always saw it as a contest of wills, where one side tries to win by subduing the other — either by exerting power or by using manipulative techniques. No wonder I tried to avoid it as much as I could.

This mindset makes many of us face a dilemma: without knowing any better, we end up having to choose between the only two forms of negotiation we know: soft or hard.

From the book:

[…] The soft negotiator wants to avoid personal conflict and so makes concessions readily in order to reach agreement. He wants an amicable resolution; yet he often ends up exploited and feeling bitter.

The hard negotiator sees any situation as a contest of wills in which the side that takes the more extreme positions and holds out longer fares better. He wants to win; yet he often ends up producing an equally hard response which exhausts him and his resources and harms his relationship with the other side. (p. xvii)

Enter Principled Negotiation

The solution to this dilemma is to avoid the hard and soft positioning altogether by using a third alternative called Principled Negotiation. This method, which is described in detail in the book, is based on four principles:

  1. Separate the people from the problem
  2. Focus on interests, not positions
  3. Invent options for mutual gain
  4. Insist on using objective criteria

To have a quick overview on how these four principles apply in practice, compare the attitudes involved from the point of view of soft, hard and ‘principled’ negotiators:

Negotiation Strategies
Soft Hard Principled
Participants are friends. Participants are adversaries. Participants are problem-solvers.
The goal is agreement. The goal is victory. The goal is a wise outcome reached efficiently and amicably.
Make concessions to cultivate the relationship. Demand concessions as a condition of the relationship. Separate the people from the problem.
Be soft on the people and the problem. Be hard on the problem and the people. Be soft on the people, hard on the problem.
Trust others. Distrust others. Proceed independent of trust.
Change your positions easily. Dig in to your position. Focus on interests, not positions.
Make offers. Make threats. Explore interests.
Disclose your bottom-line. Mislead as to your bottom-line. Avoid having a bottom-line.
Accept one-sided losses to reach agreement. Demand one-sided gains as the price of agreement. Invent options for mutual gain.
Search for the single answer: the one they will accept. Search for the single answer: the one you will accept. Develop multiple options to choose from; decide later.
Insist on agreement. Insist on your position. Insist on using objective criteria.
Try to avoid a contest of will. Try to win a contest of will. Try to reach a result based on standards independent of will.
Yield to pressure. Apply pressure. Reason and be open to reason; yield to principle, not pressure.

What If the Other Side Doesn’t Collaborate?

“All nice in theory”, you might say, “but what if the other part I’m negotiating with doesn’t give a damn about this ‘principled negotiation’ thing?”

That’s exactly what I thought when reading the book for the first time; and exactly what the book promptly dealt with (don’t you love when authors read your mind?). The questions “What if they’re more powerful?”, “What if they won’t play nice” and “What if they use dirty tricks?” each get their own chapter with specific techniques you can use to tame the hard bargainer.

Full Book Summary

Find below the links to the mind map with the full contents of the book.

As usual, this summary was created so I could quickly recall the book as well as pass the knowledge along to others. I loved this book and hope you enjoy it too!

Getting to Yes Book

Get the mind map for Getting to Yes:



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The Now Habit https://litemind.com/the-now-habit/ https://litemind.com/the-now-habit/#comments Tue, 20 Nov 2007 15:53:54 +0000 http://litemind.com/the-now-habit/ Since its publication back in 1988, The Now Habit has become well-known among chronic procrastinators looking for ways to overcome this crippling condition, and for very good reasons. Check out this summary with all ideas from this great book.

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The Now Habit - Mind Map

In this post, I present a mind map with the full summary of the book The Now Habit: A Strategic Program for Overcoming Procrastination and Enjoying Guilt-Free Play.

Despite a cover that reminds me of the “remarkable” Windows 3.1 ‘Hot Dog Stand’ color scheme, I don’t have much to say about The Now Habit other than it’s one of the most useful books I’ve ever read.

Since its publication back in 1988, it has become well-known among chronic procrastinators looking for ways to overcome this crippling condition, and for very good reasons.

The Procrastination Habit

As the title of the book suggests, procrastination is a habit — it’s not caused by lack of organization or lack of time management skills. If you’re looking for time management tools as a way to overcome procrastination, I suspect you may be getting yourself just another set of toys to play while you procrastinate.

Back in 2004, when implementing the David Allen’s Getting Things Done method, I fell exactly in that trap: tweaking my to-do lists, installing the latest software on my PDA and clearing my inboxes all worked as perfect excuses to avoid doing what I knew I was supposed to be doing instead!

Don’t get me wrong: I’m a big fan of Getting Things Done and other time management methods — they really work for me today. But if you’re caught in the procrastination habit, time management alone won’t have any lasting effect on your unproductive behavior.

That’s why when someone asks for my advice about implementing the Getting Things Done method, I can’t help but recommend Neil Fiore’s The Now Habit, which, at least for me, was the missing piece to make it work.

Book Contents

I intended the mind map below to be as thorough as possible; it doesn’t replace the book, of course, but you can get a pretty good idea of its entire contents. Also, if you already read the book you can use the mind map to quickly refresh it in your my mind at anytime.

The Now Habit  Book

Get the mind map for The Now Habit:

If, on the other hand, you’re interested in checking a summary in a more “conventional format”, there are many great ones floating around on the Internet. To get a quick glance of the tools and methods available in the book, this article in the MineZone Wiki has a bulleted, easy to read summary. Benjamin Ellis of WOWNDADI has also done a terrific job in a chapter-by-chapter summary.



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Never Eat Alone https://litemind.com/never-eat-alone/ https://litemind.com/never-eat-alone/#comments Tue, 16 Oct 2007 08:12:32 +0000 http://litemind.com/never-eat-alone/ In his insightful bestseller, Keith Ferrazzi makes the point that relationships are one of the most important keys to success. we all know relationships are highly significant – but Ferrazzi takes the concept to the next level, organizing his entire career and lifestyle around relationships.

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Never Eat Alone - Mind Map

In this post, I present a mind map with the full summary of the book ‘Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time‘. (To skip the rest of the post and go directly to the mind map, click here)

In his insightful bestseller, Keith Ferrazzi makes the point that relationships are one of the most important keys to success. Of course, we all know relationships are highly significant in our lives – but Ferrazzi really takes the concept to the next level, organizing his entire career and lifestyle around relationships.

Although the book is clearly business-focused, its concepts are equally applicable to our personal lives as well. For me, the focus on business relationships came to very good use, as it debunked many negative associations I had with the overall concept of business networking.

Networking? Yuck!

When I used to think about the word ‘networking’, the image that usually came to mind was of ambitious, fake-smiling jerks in suits – well-versed in all kinds of manipulative tactics, either trying to find innocent victims or bumping into each other in so-called “networking events”.

I had always seen business relationships as being completely different from personal relationships: on one side, there were friends; on the other, contacts. While friendships are warm and caring, business relationships always felt as being cold, artificial and shallow.

Never Eat Alone shows that this doesn’t need to be the case and that business relationships should also be rooted on friendship and generosity – and that, just like personal relationships, they can be based on authentic connection. The idea of blurring the distinction between business and personal relationships was the major lesson from the book for me, as it radically shifted my negative perception of business relationships to a much more positive and productive one.

Many Gems

Never Eat Alone Book

Never Eat Alone is really packed with insights and practical tips. It shows, among other topics, that mastering small-talk is extremely important (which I always regarded as empty and unnecessary), as well as useful pointers on numerous topics, such as how to behave in conferences and how to build your personal brand – without becoming a networking jerk.

To get the full picture of the contents, I recommend you check out the book summary below. It is in mind map format, and just like the other book summaries I’ve done, I created it with the intention of easily revisiting the full contents of the book later.

For another comprehensive summary of the book, I recommend 106 Tips to Become a Master Connector, where Donald Latumahina of Life Optimizer presents a great list of tips from the book.

Especially if you’re not a natural connector, you may think that Keith is a bit too hardcore about networking sometimes, but the merit of the book lies exactly in that: by reading it, you become so immersed in this relationship-based way of thinking that you’ll inevitably pay more attention to your relationships and find opportunities to apply the tips from the book to improve your life.



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