How Tony Buzan’s books improved my memory

As a young adult I remember being intrigued by adverts in the national papers for improving your memory. I dismissed them though, as I did other adverts for things like hair-restoring, improved sex drive and how to win friends etc., as just money-making schemes or scams. In my early 20s (I estimate around 1982), my sister showed me a book she had been reading about improving your memory. It was written by Tony Buzan. I was impressed by her quick demonstration of how his memory systems worked involving a very useful memory trick. Even as a young man, I have always had the reputation of being extremely forgetful, but within weeks I was able to perform all kinds of memory tasks, including the unlikely feat of being able to memorise a complete deck of 52 playing cards in order.

Ironically, I’m unable to remember the name of the book, and as he has written so many, I am only able to narrow it down to two or three of the books on his website. I would imagine, though, that it was one of the first (if not THE first) of his books. Although I’d use the memory systems mostly for fun and the occasional party trick, I would sometimes use it for going shopping without having to write a shopping list. In later years, I bought one of his Mind-Mapping books. A local business man invited me to do a talk to some of his colleagues about something completely unrelated. As I only had about two weeks to prepare, I decided to give this mind-mapping a test. The result was phenomenal. I was able to do a forty-minute talk with no notes whatsoever, not forgetting a single thing that I had planned.

The biggest barrier between people and learning the memory systems is that it all seems to be too good to be true. It is something that should be taught as a part of the national curriculum in schools at a young age throughout the world. The concept is actually quite simple to both understand and to implement. I would certainly have achieved more academically if I had been introduced to the brain powers that we all have unknowingly harnessed within us.

Somebody on Twitter asked me about these memory systems just recently. In my own book, I refer to memory systems and how I was teaching them to some nurses while I was in hospital after my brain haemorrhage. She had read my book and recommended it to others on Twitter. When I thanked her for it, she asked me if I could tell her more about the memory systems. So I explained a little to her. It is this that has inspired me to write this blog about Tony Buzan’s books. I have since had the privilege of communicating with the great man himself on Twitter. It seems that we both have so much to share with the world.

In recent years I have taken up 1950s-style swing dancing and lindy hop. It is a form of social dancing involving “leads” and “follows”. The lead traditionally, though not always, is the male, while the female follows. It is the lead’s responsibility to think of a move and to guide the follower into the correct position, step and whatever the move entails. The problem that leads have is that when they are on the dance floor their minds may go blank and they cannot think of anything other than a few moves. It is common to return to your seat and think, “Oh, why didn’t I do that move,” but it’s now too late. It can be frustrating or boring for the follower to be led the same moves over and over again with no variety. However, I have been able to adapt Tony Buzan’s memory systems to enable a constant stream of different moves to come into my head. More than 30 years on after my sister introduced me to it, I am still finding uses for it. It has had a very significant impact on my life.

Click on the link below to visit his website. He has written books for adults and for children. If you have just half an interest, go into it with an open mind and prepare to be amazed.

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