Saturday, November 04, 2006

An Unwanted Journey: Day 0346 - The Cancer Code

I've been using mind mapping software for almost as long as I have used Microsoft Office software. If you aren't familiar with mind mapping, it's a technique for note taking in which graphics and the free flowing of ideas are paramount. Mind mapping has been around since the 1960s when Tony Buzan began popularizing using diagrams with an image in the centre of a page and ideas radiating from that centre. Buzan claims that he began taking notes using the "radiant" graphic approach in his university days out of frustration with the traditional note-taking approach. The idea was that key words, images, colours, and associations work far better than simple lists and pages of elaborate text.

Personally, I have used mind maps for note-taking, brainstorming, agendas, teaching, strategic planning, presentations, and hyperlinking of documents in various formats. But because most of my work involves computer use, I quickly sought and found software to do what was traditionally conceived as a manual, almost artistic, endeavour. MindJet's MindManager quickly became my desktop mind mapping software of choice.

The connection between mind mapping and cancer is not a personal one. Instead, it is about the originator of MindManager, Michael Jetter. In his book The Cancer Code: How a journey through leukemia led to software that changed the way people work, Mike and Bettina Jetter document how his personal battle with cancer coincided with a lifework project to create software enabling mind mapping on the desktop. Today, with over 500,000 customers world wide, MindJet's Chief Technology Officer is Mike Jetter. This is a book I recommend, especially if you have an interest in inspirational cancer survivor stories as well as an interest in productivity software.

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