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Lateral Thinking

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  3,693 ratings  ·  221 reviews
THE classic work about improving creativity from world-renowned writer and philosopher Edward de Bono. In schools we are taught to meet problems head-on: what Edward de Bono calls 'vertical thinking'. This works well in simple situations - but we are at a loss when this approach fails. What then? Lateral thinking is all about freeing up your imagination. Through a series o ...more
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 1st 1991 by Penguin UK (first published January 1st 1970)
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  3,693 ratings  ·  221 reviews

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Tharindu Dissanayake
"Limits are usually self-imposed."
"Often even a minor change in the way a thing is looked at can make a huge difference."

Lately, I find myself looking at self-help books more and more skeptically, especially when titles tend to make bold declarations. 'Creativity Step by Step' is one of those titles, but after having Lateral Thinking for a long time on my TBR shelf, I finally decided to give this a try. Though I'm having some mixed feelings now, I'm happy to say, overall, it was time well spent.
Nen Simmons
Apr 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
Firstly, putting my status as finished is a fib, because I only got half way through before I had to abandon this book. It is so boring I fell asleep reading it when I wasn't even tired. 90% of the content is a smug, self-congratulatory ramble about how great lateral thinking is, using different metaphors to explain exactly the same thing. The remaining 10% actually describes ways to use lateral thinking, but the dullest manner imaginable. I know improving your lateral thinking skills requires m ...more
To me, the crux of this book might be summed up in an epigram that appears in the book. I don't remember it exactly, but the basic premise is that logic can dig a very deep hole--but you won't strike water until you use lateral thinking to decide where to PUT the hole.

It reminds me of my experiences with school systems that encourage rote learning. When I first went to such a school, I was extremely impressed by how quickly and thoroughly most of the students were able to memorize things. I've a
Oct 22, 2007 added it
I've always wanted to improve my lateral thinking skills. I guess some childish part of me was hoping for instant gratification, read this book and bing! you're a lateral thinker. Of course not. It's something you need to work on everyday, even for 5 minutes a day (add that to the list of things you should be doing everyday even for five minutes, stretching, meditating, napping, etc). I guess the book was OK, got a little bored wading through the exercises [these are suggestions for a tacher, an ...more
Howard Y
Dec 14, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: unfinished
Only read this if you want to verbalise De Bono congratulatorily masturbating to himself.
Renato Besen
Apr 15, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
Interesting book, offering some processes to generate ideas and solve problems.

To me, the main point of the book is to see problems and solutions as patterns, so after you recognize a pattern you can break/rearrange to form new patterns (or new solutions).

The author argues that ideas should not be discarded, no matter how ridiculous they seem. Even the most outrageous ideas can provide insights about a problem. It's not important to be right all along the problem solving process, it's only impor
Moayad Taibah
“How do I love thee, let me count the ways”... apparently, there were a lot of ways for this author to explain Lateral Thinking and its techniques over and over and over...and over. I feel if this book was shorter by 100 pages it would’ve delivered the same content, sheesh...

Lateral thinking is an alternative way of thinking that leaves some room for incorrect ideas to surface without being judged or shut down before their time. We tend to think in a structured way in order to find the correct p
Apr 18, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology, coaching
This book starts with a dilemma faced by a pretty merchant's daughter confronted by her father's nasty creditor. The creditor says he will settle the issue with a game of chance. Where they stand are white and black stones. he will put two stones in a bag and she will draw one out. A white stone means the debt is settled, a black stone means the debt is settled but she must marry the money-lender. Our heroine notices that the money lender puts two black stones in the bag. So whatever she chooses ...more
Manikandan T S
Oct 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
Everyone is born creative. Creativity can't be learned, but it involves unlearning some of the approaches we learned as part of education.

This book explains the process which helps in improving creativity. This is must read for professionals who solves many technical problems day to day and also for college students to have a successful career.
Abe Hanara
May 31, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The basis of Edward De bonos theory of thinking 'lateral' or in essense, more broadly. This was one of the first of Edward De bono's books that I read. Great read. In his efforts to explain complex theorys, he uses insightful abstract comparisons that his theorys have with tangible objects. Love it ...more
Mar 25, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Being creative is a process, seeing through different lenses and different ways of using information. Also most importantly practice. Good one.
Dec 25, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was one of the most valuable books I read all year. It has certain problems (one of which is the author's inability to [see the rest of this review on my book review site.] ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The idea could potentially help you to 10X your current performance because it will help you to zoom out and break/surpass what is holding you back.

A very interesting read on a different way of thinking. If you consider yourself a logical thinker you might hate this or you might find this one of the best reads of your life. It is designed to help teachers but does also give students and beginners plenty of material to work with.

My friend who suggested this told me to read it over a few years.
Deepu Shibu
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
As much as we think logically and vertically in life, there comes a time when those techniques just won't be good enough to solve your problem.
Enter lateral thinking. This book gives am idea on what lateral thinking is, how it alongside vertical thinking is the most deadliest tool an individual can have in solving any problem.
This book and it's concepts should be introduced in our primary education system and kids should be taught to inculcate lateral thinking in heir day by day world.
A good boo
Amiruddin Nagri
Jul 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Creatives
Shelves: creative, book
Reading Notes :

1 the way mind works
2 difference between lateral and vertical thinking
3 attitudes towards lateral thinking
4 basic nature of lateral thinking
5 the use of lateral thinking
6 techniques
8 generation of alternatives
9 innovation
12 dominant ideas and crucial factors
13 fractionation
14 reversal method
Jul 19, 2020 rated it really liked it
At school, the emphasis has always been on logical sequential thinking, while creativity is vaguely encouraged but mostly perceived as a mysterious, innate talent. In this book, the author creates a clear distinction between logical and lateral thinking. He emphasises on the importance of lateral thinking in problem solving and in generation of new ideas. The book teaches some practical techniques that can be used in idea generation process and enhance creativity.

The most valuable lesson for me
Kaushal Jain
Sep 19, 2020 rated it did not like it
To be honest, I didn't understand anything from the beginning what the author is trying to describe. From the very beginning, the concepts starts repeating and it turns out to be baffled. It was a mere waste of time. It would be great if the author must have described the terms in a quite relevant way. The language of the book is written in a very mechanical that confuses you to not getting what the book is itself trying to convey. So, I had rated it as 1/5 star. ...more
Manish Nigam
Sep 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thought provoking.
Sandeep Date
May 17, 2021 rated it really liked it
An eyeopener for a logical thinker. Learnings are to create more alternatives, challenging assumptions, building innovative ideas, rearranging patterns, postponing decision making. Important tools of brainstorming, using analogies, and techniques of attention areas and entry point as well as random stimulation are worthy to implement. Will be extremely useful for driving continuous improvement, idea management, problem solving for R&D function.
A great book for introduse yourself in the lateral thinking methods. Quite straightforward and all the techniques are backed up with exercises.
Javery Axel Mann
What was with the forty or so pages describing the word "po" and the correct grammatical use of this made-up word in a sentence? ...more
Nikolai Iakimov
Mar 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
I have recently noticed that I started to stumble upon really simple, but still brilliant ideas that can change my life for the better. But I am coming up with those ideas rather accidentally, in a haphazard way. So, I wondered if there's a way to find a distinct pattern, a sort of well-proven technique to pull off "eurekas" every single day.

In De Bono's "Serious Creativity", which I read a couple of weeks ago, the author dwells upon his concept of "Six thinking hats" and some other thinking too
Antonia Rapheal
Nov 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A brilliant book that taught me how to think outside the box. As a child of the 80s education system that was all rote and assembly line methodology. This book really showed me how to step out of that mold and helped me break down the walls that I was so used to. Taught me to think on an infinite plane, it is daunting trust me!
Jaimin Dave
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
The book is really written using Lateral Thinking. The things explained to explain Lateral Thinking are from so many different things that your mind swings here and there often which gives you headache. Change is painful and to think out of the box is also very tough. Bringing things that are not relevant to the context to think innovative needs practice and Edward De Bono has explained it so well that anybody who reads the book will change the way they think when it's time to think of something ...more
Mar 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book "lateral thinkin'" was really unusual and evoked new thoughts and new insights in me.But after flippin' few pages I bit felt that points are repeated in different manner.Illustrations provided with diagram are self explanatory.Another con I wud put forward is, this book for most part was crafted for school teachers or group working. Altogether I can call this book good read. ...more
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Edward de Bono is always great, but my rating actually was about my expectation. I looked to have some hands on or answers for the how questions, while the book answers the what & why questions. I read almost the first quarter of it and when I did not find my target I flipped most it searching for them but I did not. Again I love Edward but this is about what I'm looking for. ...more
Jun 13, 2015 rated it liked it
This was a ground breaking book when it was published. The author Edward de Bono is a pioneer inlateral thinking and brought in new terms like Po into common usage. This book is meant to be read and re read to get its full benefits. Having said that the concepts are as of date quite common and much advancement has happened over the last twenty years. Still worth a try.
Kendy Madisha
Aug 14, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
Best book on exploring the way we think. Very usefull in making one conscious of the thinking patterns followed and how to brake away from a stalled thinking pattern to see a problem different and to come up with possible solutions.
Nov 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
I poured over this for the past few months and renewed it at the library numerous times. I think that I would rather have had it taught to me as is refferred in the book. But non the less some practical idea's that I have already put to use in my every day life. ...more
Joaquin Peloso
Jun 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I think that even though it's meant to be used as a book for a teacher, reading it helped me finding new ways and trying my best to be more open minded. If you are having problems finding solutions you might want to check it out, it might give you a hand even if you don't realize it at first. ...more
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Edward de Bono is a Maltese physician, author, inventor, and consultant. He is best known as the originator of the term lateral thinking (structured creativity) and the leading proponent of the deliberate teaching of thinking in schools.

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