Buzan completed his undergraduate studies at the University of British Columbia and was a charter student at Simon Fraser University in 1965-1966 where he spent a year as a graduate student and the inaugural president of the Simon Fraser Student Society.
Buzan popularized the idea of mental literacy and a thinking technique called Mind Mapping, earlier used by Leonardo da Vinci and others He is an alumnus of Kitsilano Secondary School in Vancouver, where he was Head Boys" Prefect 1959-1960. During his time at Simon Fraser University, Buzan became very involved in Mensa.
He is a promoter of mnemonic systems and mind mapping techniques.
He launched his own software programme to support mind mapping called iMindMap in December 2006. The Buzan Organisation holds trademarks on the phrase "mind map" in the context of self-improvement educational courses in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Germany.
The trademark does not appear in the records of the Canadian Intellectual Property Office. Following his 1970s series Use Your Head for the British Broadcasting Corporation, many of his ideas have been set into his series of five books: Use Your Memory, Master Your Memory, Use Your Head, The Speed Reading Book and The Mind Map Book.
He has since authored or co-authored over 100 books that have appeared in 30 languages.
As a popular psychology author, Tony Buzan has written on subjects relating to the brain, "genius quotient (Gentlemen’s Quarterly)", spiritual intelligence, memory, creativity and speed reading. Critics have called mind mapping pseudoscience, questioning the existence of evidence supporting the technique and the usefulness of mind mapping. However, a meta study about concept mapping concluded that concept mapping is more effective than "reading text passages, attending lectures, and participating in class discussions".
The same study also concluded that concept mapping is slightly more effective "than other constructive activities such as writing summaries and outlines".