Tony BuzanTony Buzan was a true master of memory.

And although he passed away far too young, Tony Buzan mind maps, both his own and those created by many others, will help you think more clearly.

Even better, they’ll help you accomplish more goals, and of course… remember anything you want much better.

As the co-founder of the World Memory Championships, Tony Buzan was born in Palmers Green, Enfield, Middlesex.

For a Canadian like myself, it was exciting to learn that my mind mapping and memory improvement hero went to school in Vancouver (even if only for a brief while).

Buzan actively promoted memory skills along with mind mapping in a wide range of books and software programs.

Because he focused on both traditional and new media, he was able to help a lot more people than most authors in accelerated learning. Even Michael Jackson once sought him out in order to gain deeper insights into his creativity and mental abilities.

And I did too.

No doubt about it:

Tony Buzan was amazing to meet in person!

Anthony Metivier with Tony Buzan

Anthony Metivier with Tony Buzan

My Favorite Tony Buzan Books

The most famous Tony Buzan books (and also my favorite) include:

* Use Your Perfect Memory
* Master Your Memory
* Use Your Head
* The Speed Reading Book
* The Mind Map Book
* Mind Map Mastery

For more memory improvement books I recommend, check out these memory improvement resources for learning and remembering.

Why Tony Buzan Mind Maps Improve Memory And Creativity So Quickly

Buzan was not only only a prolific author. He was a living demonstration of his own techniques. Although I’m not personally into speed reading, Tony Buzan was a master of that topic.

(In case you’re curious, here’s how I read faster. And here are what I think are the best speed reading books, if you still want to go in that direction.)

First of all, as the co-author of numerous books, these have been translated into more than 25 languages. In fact, Tony Buzan ranks high in my list of top memory improvement books:


In addition to memory, speed reading and mind mapping, Buzan talked about spiritual intelligence, creativity and GQ (genius quotient).

These contributions are huge, especially when it comes to developing mastery with mind mapping.

Tony Buzan has also influenced many memory competitors who have become friends of mine, like Mark Channon who came on my podcast to talk about how to remember anything.

For more on these matters and my FREE Memory Improvement Kit with videos, check this out:

Tony Buzan’s Major Mind Map Guidelines

Buzan’s approach to the mind map is characterized by several guidelines:

1. The mind mapper should use at least three different colors and start in the center of the map with an image of the word or subject rather than the word itself.

2. Symbols and codes should form the material of the mind mind with words being used only sparingly (though words are in some sense nothing more than symbols and codes that have become what Carl Jung called “imago,” or images hyper-charged with meaning).

3. Words that do appear in the mind map should be keywords only.

Weekend a Siviglia - Mind Map
4. Words should rest on a line in the map and be as isolated as possible, probably so that the eye can follow the path by which the words are reached with ease.

5. The lines on the map should start out very thick when they project out from the center and become thinner and thinner.

6. Lines are said to be especially effective when they are only as long as the words they underline, but lines can also be broken to effectively thread a number of keywords together.

Tony Buzan with butterfly drawing by Anthony Metivier

7. Colors are good for more than just stimulating your mind as you look at the map. They can also help group ideas together or codify them.

8. Each mind mapper should work to develop an individual style using these guidelines.

9. Highlighting, underlining and bold colors should be used to emphasize more important ideas.

10. Mind maps should be as clear as possible, which suggests that a very good mind map will always be a second version of an initial draft.

Whether or not mind maps have the impact that Buzan claims has been called into question, here’s the most important point:

Arguing against the value of such intensive creativity is counterproductive. Mind maps clearly engage both the mind and the hands and focus attention on the generation of knowledge. This takes you beyond just memorization and recitation.

There’s really no arguing against the fact that using multisensory learing, which mind mapping reports, can be anything but a good thing. Now that’s using your head.

Tony Buzan Book Cover for Use Your Head

The Ultimate Tony Buzan Biography

In addition to these matters of the mind, Raymond Keene lists many of Buzan’s other activities in The Official Biography of Tony Buzan: The Man Who Introduced the World to Mind Maps.

It is a very good read and it is worth noting that Raymond Keene is a master of many mind activities himself, including being a senior Chess Grandmaster and correspondent for many newspapers. Keene has apparently written over 100 books and has won many awards. He is also the co-founder of the World Memory Championships with Tony Buzan.

Anthony Metivier with Tony Buzan and Phil Chambers

One thing that I’ve always wondered about is this:

Can Tony Buzan’s mind mapping software can be used in conjunction with a Memory Palace?

Or even as a Memory Palace?

I’ve done some experiments, and recently I’ve experienced some huge breakthroughs, despite the somewhat linear properties of the Mind Map technique in terms of construction and Recall Rehearsal.

One reason I’ve seen such great advancements is thanks to Tony Buzan’s work and influence on Mind Maps with Memory Palaces through the lens of my discussion, How To Combine Mind Mapping And Memory Palaces With Phil Chambers.

Phil has an amazing little book about using Mind Maps better. Check it out:

If you want to know how to mind map, I can’t recommend that book highly enough – provided you’ve read Tony Buzan’s original material on this powerful technique.

Phil Chambers Mind Map for World Mind Map Day


On a personal note, Tony Buzan has inspired me to do more than just mind map.

I’ve also taken what I’ve learned from his BBC days and other media appearances to the streets.


Because, like Tony Buzan, I want to help make accelerated learning techniques like the mind map and Memory Palace more visual. More concrete and tangible so more people can understand what they are, how to use them and why they should.

If you found that resource interesting and helpful, here are 7 more mental exercises for the brain from around the world.

More Tony Buzan Mind Map Resources

The Dirty Truth About How to Mind Map

My Interview With Tony Buzan On The Magnetic Memory Method Podcast

2 Responses to " Master of Memory and Mind Maps Tony Buzan "

  1. Eric says:

    Am I right in guessing that Mr Buzan never referred to Memory Palaces, and if so, have you any idea why? Surely he must have heard of them. As far as I can tell, his main mnemonic method was an extendable 3 digit Major System

    • No, he talks about the Memory Palace in many of his books. He uses the term Roman Room and Memory Palace more or less interchangeably in The Memory Book.

      He also discusses the technique in Mind Map Mastery.

      SEM3 is the extendable Major System, something that is premised in Giordano Bruno, and to some extent much earlier in Llull’s Memory Wheels.

      Note too that I created a Memory Palace with Buzan once at Henley-on-Thames. Thanks for bringing to mind a great memory!

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