Mind management

I accept the gospel of Santa Fe.  I understand that I am a little Complex Adaptive System.  I appreciate that noise is good, messiness is inevitable, disorder the name of the game. 

The question is how to manage this complexity.  Over the last 6 months, I have been using both PersonalBrain 4 by TheBrain and MindManager by Mindjet.  Both of them are good at making great tangles of information more orderly.  Both of them make me a better Complex Adaptive System.

But today, I am moving permanently to Personal Brain 4.  It wins because it manages hierarchies of information far better than MindManager.  Also, and oddly, the fluidity of the presentation style helps me think.  I found the swimming graphic style off putting at first.  If I wanted things to wander around in my mind’s eye, I thought, I could just live without an idea management software.  But then MyBrain colonized my brain, and everything was hunkydorey. 

It turns out my life sorts into just a few categories (as above).  Ah, that’s better. 


Beinhocker, Eric.  2006.  Origin of Wealth: Evolution, Complexity, and the Radical Remaking of Economics.  Boston: Harvard Business School Press.

Hannerz, Ulf. 1992. Cultural Complexity: Studies in the Social Organization of Meaning. New York: Columbia University Press.

Holland, John H. 1995. Hidden order: How adaptation builds complexity. Helix Book. Reading, Mass: Addison-Wesley.

Kauffman, Stuart A. 1995. At home in the universe the search for laws of self-organization and complexity. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lewin, Roger. 1992. Complexity: life at the edge of chaos. New York: Macmillan.

Taylor, Mark C.  2003.  The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture.  Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Waldrop, M. Mitchell. 1992. Complexity: The emerging science at the edge of order and chaos. New York: Simon & Schuster.

For more on MindManager, go to Mindjet here.

For more on PersonalBrain 4, go to TheBrain Technologies here

4 thoughts on “Mind management

  1. Michael Powell

    While I’ve been interested in delving into a program like this, I’ve been reluctant to—as if there’s some connected idea in the back of my head saying, maybe not. It’s not that everything’s not connected (I usually draw out maps like this on paper: http://frazer.rice.edu/%7Emgpowell/sitemap.html), it’s more so a matter of figuring out what exactly is the connection between all of these ideas. Ever get the sense that just establishing a connection between ideas is not quite enough in these programs? I’m very tempted to try PersonalBrain out though, especially after a good recommendation like this.

  2. niko

    actually you could flip that chart and use it as a personal brand benchmark.

    Helping clients get a grip of the bigger picture, via your “sales tool’s consulting, books etc.. is your thing, so with every activity you undertake you could ask, does this enforce my brand?

    perhaps a bit commercial thinking but that’s what that picture said to me.

  3. John A. Taylor


    Good choice!

    I’m a user of both PersonalBrain and MindManager.

    Both have their place in my arsenal of tools, but TheBrain is my personal choice for daily use because of its fluidity.

    A great tool for thought leaders.

  4. Ken

    Have been using Personal Brain for a few years – still using ver. 3.03.

    Couldn’t do without it now. Love the ability to link non-heirarchically stuff from all over the place: software applications, web sites, email, documents, spreadshhets, etc., etc.

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