One of the most important books which we shall be soon making available on www.tonybuzan.com is Tony Buzan’s offical biography written by chess grandmaster Ray Keene OBE. Ray worked closely with Tony for almost thirty years. Together they wrote The Book of Genius, The Book of Mental World Records and many more.
This book, which we shall be reissuing both in physical and e-book form was based on the insight that the work of many creative minds seemed to improve with age. Tony was very enthusiastic about the theme of the ageing brain getting better and was always outraged by images of people with walking sticks or Zimmer frames to depict those of advanced years.
The Biography covers Tony’s struggles and triumphs from his first years, when he realised that definitions of who was, or was not, intelligent were often illogical, his epiphany that a manual explaining how the brain works had not yet been written, and his invention of The Mind Map (with its subsequent literature) to plug exactly that gap.
To fit Tony Buzan into one box is impossible. He was many persons in one: an Olympic rowing coach, expert rower, poet, artist, gourmet, confidant of Michael Jackson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson of ABBA fame, loyal friend of royalty, aristocracy, Prime Ministers and Presidents worldwide, inventor of Mind Maps and founder of Academies and Mind Sports world championships. Most importantly, he allowed us to unlock the infinite potential of our brains.
The biography of Tony Buzan is an epic roller coaster of one of history’s great minds! Here is a small excerpt from the biography which explains Tony’s own initial thoughts on the importance of learning how to learn and how it changed his life:
“Tony Buzan – Stuck in a Rut?
In my second year at University, I strode purposefully into the library, and asked the librarian where I could find a book on my brain and how to use it. She immediately directed me to the medical section of the library!
When I explained that I did not wish to operate on my brain, but to use it, I was politely informed that there were no such books.
I left the library in astonishment.
Like others around me, I was going through the typical student’s ‘pilgrims progress’, the slow realisation that the volume of academic work is increasing and that the brain is starting to buckle under the strain of all the thinking, creativity, memory, problem-solving, analysis and writing required. Again, like others, I had begun to experience not only diminishing returns but accelerating non-returns. The more I took notes and studied, the less, paradoxically, I seemed to succeed!
The logical progression of either situation led me to catastrophe. If I cut down my studying, I would not absorb the necessary information and would consequently do progressively badly; if I were studying harder, making more notes, putting in more time, I was similarly spiralling into failure.
The answer, I assumed, must lie in the way I was using my intelligence and thinking skills – thus my visit to the library.
As I walked away from the library that day, I realised that the ‘problem’ of not being able to find the books I needed was actually a blessing in disguise. For if such books were not available, then I had happened upon virgin territory of the most staggering importance. I began to study every area of knowledge I felt would help shed light on the basic questions:
• How do I learn how to learn?
• What is the nature of my thinking?
• What are the best techniques for memorising?
• What are the best techniques for creative thinking?
• What are the best current techniques for faster and efficient reading?
• What are the best current techniques for thinking in general?
• Is there a possibility of developing new thinking techniques or one master technique?
As a consequence of these questions, I began to study psychology, the neuro-physiology of the brain, semantics, neuro-linguistics, information theory, memory and mnemonic techniques, perception, creative thinking and the general sciences. Gradually I realised that the human brain functioned more effectively and efficiently if its various physical aspects and intellectual skills were allowed to work harmoniously with each other, rather than being divided.
The tiniest things produced the most significant and satisfying results. For example, simply combining the two cortical skills of words and colours transformed my note-taking. The simple addition of two colours to my notes improved my memory of those notes by more than 100 per cent, and perhaps even more importantly, made me begin to enjoy what I was doing.
One young girl whom I had taught, Barbara, had been told that she had the lowest IQ her school had ever registered. Within a month of learning how to learn, she raised her IQ to 160, and eventually graduated as the top student from her college.
By the early 1970s artificial intelligence had arrived and I could buy a megabyte computer and with that computer I could receive a 1,000-page operating manual. Yet, in our supposedly advanced stage of civilisation, we were all coming into the world with the most astounding complex bio-computer, quadrillions of times more powerful than any known computer, and where were our operating manuals?”