Come on down and solve that budget

You have to admit that Tony Buzan has balls, and he demonstrated how to juggle them before an audience of education's great and good. Possessed of all the charm and sincerity of a television game show host, he had us come on down to St Andrew's College to learn How to Work Smart, Not Hard.

With his tanned complexion, grey hair, grey slacks and blazer with a gold heart pinned on the lapel, Buzan looks like a representative from one of the more reputable holiday companies. But you would be wrong because he is one of the world's leading authors and has advised everyone from businessmen to Government departments, or so his publicity says.

He is an expert on thinking and the brain, and he shared profound insights that he has gleaned from deep study of Newsweek, Time, US Today and other popular magazines. He told us that the human race "is becoming very aware of its brain". We also learnt: "What research discovered is if you train yourself well in any area it helps other areas."

Spellbound we were told: "Research shows that the left side of your cortex deals with lists, logic, lines, words, number and order." The right side deals with "rhythm, space, day-dreaming, imagination, colour and global".

Global? Global what? Buzan had moved on to relate that "everybody is a born mathematician. You would die without being a genius in maths - because if you can cross a busy street, you can get a degree in maths."

It was time for the master to get his juggling balls out. Anyone can learn to juggle or be a top-flight athlete or have a fathomless memory. Clearly inspired, a senior Ayrshire official said: "That's just the sort of skill you need to deal with education budgets."

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