Want to know what a book is all about without having to read all of it? Here’s a cool way of using mind mapping to grasp the content of a book. It doesn’t take long and can even be done without speed reading. I call this the keyword map. It can be applied to a whole book or a section of a book, such as a chapter. Here’s how it works.
Step 1: Speed read chapter
Use a reading guide and read in images as you go through the content. Forming images is crucial so that you have pictures in your head with which you can build further associations. ( A detailed section on speed reading is outlined in the book ‘The Yellow Elephant’)
Step 2: Identify the keywords
As you are speed reading, write down or underline the important words. This will help you to visualise and develop a logical sequence of keywords.
Step 3: Mind map keywords
Once you have finished reading, create a mind map using the keywords you identified. If you find this difficult, repeat steps 1 and 2 again. You will find once you start mind mapping that it gets easier and easier to see how keywords fit onto branches to create a pattern of information. Practise regularly and you’ll soon find it comes easily.
Step 4: Add own knowledge and experience
Once you have finished your mind map, you may be able to expand it by adding related knowledge or ideas from other sources-perhaps you have experience with the particular topic or it reminds you of something else. Doing this will create greater emotional connection with your mind map, thus involving you more deeply in your own learning.
I’ve used this process when studying, and it has saved me lots of time. I was expected to complete around three to four hours of reading a week for each subject at university. If I did three subjects in a semester, that was twelve hours of reading. However, using speed reading, keywords and mind mapping, I could complete all my reading for all subjects in around two hours, with much greater comprehension and recall.
An even greater benefit is that my notes took up much less space. I didn’t end up with hundreds of pages of notes, as happens for so many students. If a subject had thirteen lectures, I simply ended up with thirteen mind maps full of knowledge, instead of hundreds of pages of notes.
(Excerpt from The Yellow Elephant)