Six Thinking Hats

Thinking is the Ultimate Human Resource

Edward De Bono

Six Thinking HatsIn brief:
Can you really change the effectiveness of your thinking!
In January 1985 Time magazine chose as “Man of the Year” the person who was ultimately responsible for the superbly successful Los Angeles Olympic Games: Peter Ueberroth. The usual pattern of such games is that they lose hundreds of millions of dollars. Even though the city of Los Angeles had voted not to spend any municipal funds on the games, the 1984 Olympics actually made a surplus of $250 million. The extraordinary success of the games depended heavily on new concepts and new ideas, which were put into practice with leadership and efficiency.

What sort of thinking was needed to generate these new concepts?
In an interview in the Washington Post on September 30, 1984, Peter Ueberroth explains how he used lateral thinking to generate new concepts. Lateral thinking is a technique which I developed many years ago. I have written many books about it. Peter Ueberroth had come to a one-hour talk I had been invited to give to the Young Presidents’ Organisation nine years previously.

There are hundreds of other examples of how a deliberate thinking technique has had a powerful impact. I can only design the techniques and put them forward. It is up to individuals like Mr. Ueberroth to pick up on the techniques and to put them to work.

Thinking is the ultimate human resource. Yet we can never be satisfied with our most important skill. No matter how good we become, we should always want to be better. Usually, the only people who are very satisfied with their thinking skill are those poor thinkers who believe that the purpose of thinking is to prove yourself right – to your own satisfaction.

If we have only a limited view of what thinking can do, we may be smug about our excellence in this area, but not otherwise. The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too ‘much at once. Emotions, information, logic, hope and creativity all crowd in on us. It is like juggling with too many balls.

What I am putting forward in this book is a very simple concept which allows a thinker to do one thing at a time. He or she becomes able to separate emotion from logic, creativity from information, and so on. The concept is that of the six thinking hats. Putting on any one of these hats defines a certain type of thinking. In the book I describe the nature and contribution of each type of thinking.

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You may also be interested in Edward de Bono’s The Mechanism of Mind: Understand how your mind works to maximise memory and creative potential

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