As The Mind Map Book goes to press, the world stands on the brink of a major revolution: the discovery that intelligence can understand its own nature, and in so doing can enhance and nurture itself. Simultaneously, we are realising that our main asset is our intellectual capital.
National Olympic squads are currently devoting as much as 50 per cent of their training time to the development of mental strength and stamina, while the top US information technology companies alone spend hundreds of millions of dollars on developing the Mental Literacy skills of their employees.
In 1992 alone, interest in our brain power exploded into the popular domain, as an increasing number of national and international newspapers and magazines ran major feature articles on the workings of the brain.
• Fortune magazine splashed 'Brain Power' across its cover, claiming that 'intellectual capital' was becoming society's most valuable asset.
• Omni magazine (twice) featured 'The Brain and Ageing' and a 'Brain Diet'.
• Stern in Germany wrote on 'The Development of Mental Fitness'.
• Synapsia magazine featured 'The Development of a Global Brain'.
• Newsweek explored how science was opening new windows on the mind and featured Mental Literacy in an article that generated a record response.
• Time magazine discussed drugs and the brain.
• US News produced a special double issue featuring creative thinking and another issue headlining the relationship between mind and body.
• The New Scientist produced a cover illustration featuring twenty brains!
• The Times newspaper in England investigated the neuro-scientific revolution.
• The Wall Street Journal popularised research into the brain cell.
• The September 1992 issue of Scientific American was totally devoted to 'Mind and Brain', featuring memory and learning.
Coinciding with this accelerating media coverage, we are seeing a new breed of superstar emerging on the international stage - the Brain Star.
The twentieth century started with film stars, and rapidly moved on to singing stars, rock stars, pop stars and sports stars. This century will end and the next begin with Brain Stars who demonstrate the principle of a healthy mind in a healthy body. Already Gary Kasparov, the athletic and dynamic World Chess Champion, has millions of children around the world pinning posters of him on the walls of their rooms and dreaming of becoming international chess Grandmasters and champions.
Similarly, the charming young Hungarian girl Judit Polgar, the youngest ever chess Grandmaster, is becoming a cult figure. Dominic O'Brien, the first World Memory Champion, who uses Memory Mind Maps to help him recall record-breaking amounts of data, now regularly appears on international television. And then there is Raymond Keene, game master and world record holder for books written on games and thinking (75+!). Through his Mind Maps, articles, books and television presentations (see pages 257-60) he has built up a following of 180,000 people who stay up until 1 a.m. to watch his programmes.
Other members of this growing 'Charge of the Bright Brigade' include Carl Sagan, famous astronomer and leader of the billion-dollar-plus search for extraterrestrial intelligence; Omar Sharif, whose brilliance as a bridge player is now outshining his career as an actor; Edward De Bono, who travels around the world speaking to vast audiences about lateral thinking; Bobby Fischer, the weight-lifting American chess genius who resurrected the game in the public's consciousness, and who recently returned at the age of 50 to beat Boris Spassky; and Stephen Hawking, the Cambridge physicist, whose book A Brief History of Time has, to date, been on the bestseller lists for longer than any other book in the history of publishing.
These Brain Stars and mental athletes were recently joined by the extraordinary polymath and Professor of mathematics, 65-year-old Dr Marion Tinsley, the World Draughts/Checkers Champion. Tinsley, disproving all the myths about age and mental abilities, has been the world number 1 since 1954, during which time he has lost only seven games. He recently beat the world's new number 2 player, Chinook, a computer programme. Stating that he was using only a small part of his brain's Radiant Thinking abilities, Tinsley crushed a computer that could calculate three million moves a minute, and which had a database of over 27 billion positions!
Paralleling this trend is the growing popularity of intellectual quiz programmes such as Brain of Britain and Mastermind, and the establishment of prizes such as the Brain Trust's 'Brain of the Year', most recently awarded to Gary Kasparov for mental games, Chiyonofuji for physical exploits, and Gene Roddenberry for his work in engineering media.
A recent survey by David Levy, the man who became famous in 1968 for challenging computers to beat him at chess, and who held them all off for 20 years, has shown a staggering global interest in mental sports. Over 100 million people play Trivial Pursuit and Monopoly, while 200 million play Scrabble and do crosswords. As many as 60 million play bridge, 250 million play draughts/checkers, and over 300 million play chess.
As a result of this astronomical growth in interest, the first Mental Olympic Games will be held in 1994, the year of publication of The Mind Map Book. The Games will feature competitions in all forms of Radiant Thinking, including all the major mental games, memory competitions, creative thinking competitions, and Mind Mapping competitions. Why not enter? Use The Mind Map Book as your basic training manual!
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The pace and intensity of our lives, both at work and at home, leave several of us feeling like a person riding a frantically galloping horse. Our day-to-day incessant busyness too much to do and not enough time; the pressure to produce and check off items on our to-do list by each day’s end seems to decide the direction and quality of our existence for us.