Sunday, June 21, 2009


Brainstorm has been around for a long time. It is a "deceptively simple idea-organizing tool for Windows, with a long history on DOS." Though it is often referred to as an outliner, strictly speaking it does not belong into that category. "BrainStorm was invented before the first commercial outliners came on the scene." However, "if you are already an outliner user, you will find both familiarity and difference in BrainStorm."

This short review of the program in the New York Times from many years ago still correctly characterizes the strengths of Brainstorm as a program and its problems in the market place.

Perhaps its elegance and its "geekiness" are essentially related. But, however that may be, I still like it.

What I like about it:
  • it allows you to capture things easily without paying attention to how things might be ordered later; hence the name

  • it's the best list manager I know; and in the end all organisation starts with lists

  • it also allows you effectively to order the listed materials later

  • when the time comes to start elaborating your ideas, it allows you to concentrate on one thing at a time, keeping everything else out of focus

  • it plays nice with other programs: you can easily import and export to other programs; if you want to work on the structure in Mindmanager or another Mind mapping program just paste a text file written from Brainstorm to the clipboard into that program; it also allows you to launch other programs and files easily

  • it works well with Connectedtext; you can easily copy its URLs into Brainstorm and launch the appropriate topics from it

Here is a picture of the Mindmanager file on Luhmann's card index as a Brainstorm model:


davidtebbutt said...

Very kind of you to say nice things about 'my baby'. Thank you.w0rth1ng

MK said...

It would be kind, if it wasn't justified. But it's the truth. One of the all time greats.