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de Bono's Thinking Course

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In this updated edition of his popular guide, Edward deBono teaches how to think more clearly, effectively, and broadly. Dr. deBono covers every important aspect of thinking--from perception and analysis, to creativity and decision-making. This edition includes a new chapter on critical thinking. 40 line drawings. Index. Appendices.

208 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2009

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About the author

Edward de Bono

201 books1,070 followers
Edward de Bono was 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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5 stars
165 (28%)
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216 (37%)
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150 (25%)
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39 (6%)
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 52 reviews
Profile Image for Lubna.
72 reviews33 followers
March 15, 2012
Edward De Bono is regarded as the father of ‘lateral thinking’. He first invented this term ‘lateral thinking’ way back in 1967. Today this term finds a place in the Oxford English Dictionary.

What exactly is lateral thinking? On his official website the author states: “You cannot dig a hole in a different place by digging the same hole deeper”. This means that trying harder in the same direction may not be as useful as changing direction. Effort in the same direction (approach) will not necessarily succeed.

As we age, we become more rigid in our thinking process. We develop certain preconceived notions; we set our own boundaries when confronted with a problem or even with a situation.

Edward De Bono further explains: "Lateral Thinking is for changing concepts and perceptions". With logic you start out with certain ingredients, just as in playing chess you start out with given pieces. But what are those pieces? In most real life situations the pieces are not given, we just assume they are there. We assume certain perceptions, certain concepts and certain boundaries. Lateral thinking is concerned not with playing with the existing pieces but with seeking to change those very pieces. Lateral thinking is concerned with the perception part of thinking. This is where we organise the external world into the pieces we can then 'process'.

If I were to sum up, lateral thinking, I would call it: Breaking set patterns of thinking to arrive at an optimal solution or solutions.

In his book: “De Bono’s Thinking Course”, the author brings out the difference between ‘creativity’ which he states is a value judgement and ‘lateral thinking’. Lateral thinking is both an attitude of mind (willingness to try and look at things in different ways) and also encompasses a number of defined methods. Thinking (ie: Lateral Thinking), he says, is a skill that can be developed by everyone.

I thought I was a ‘thinker’ and there was no need to do anything more about it. But, after reading this book, I’ve realized that there was much more to learn about thinking. This book, which contained various 'thinking tools' definitely helped me to break out of my existing though-pattern and think differently and more efficiently.

A more detailed review is on my blog at:
Profile Image for Mahmoud.
202 reviews7 followers
July 14, 2017
ادوارد دوبونو را به عنوان نویسنده و متفکر می‌شناسند. عمده فعالیت‌های او در زمینهٔ شیوه‌های فکر کردن و آموزش تفکر خلاق است. او توانایی فکر کردنرا ی�� مهارت و در واقع مهم‌ترین مهارت انسانی می‌داند و معتقد است فکر کردن مهارتی آموختنی است و نباید آن را با هوش اشتباه گرفت.( https://goo.gl/cgyh3i)
«رمز» بهترین و سریع ترین راه ارتباطی است. ارتباط از طریق رمز تنها موقعی مؤثر و امکان پذیر است که قالب های پیش ساخته ای برای اجرای عملیاتی خاص موجود باشد. این قالب ها ممکن است بسیار پیچیده و مفصل باشند، اما فقط با انتقال عنوان رمز، کل اطلاعات مورد نیاز انتقال می یابد.در این کتاب اکثر رمزهای انتخاب شده همان «سرواژه ها» هستند. کلید موفقیت درس های تفکر دوبونو همین رمزها هستند، که هر چند در ابتدا غریب و ناملموس به نظر می رسند، ولی پس از آشنایی کامل با این رمزها بزودی فواید بسیار و شگرف آنها بر شخص آشکار می گردد. (https://goo.gl/ykPtmE)
Profile Image for Barrett.
358 reviews5 followers
Want to read
August 26, 2008
recommended by Stefan Sagmeister. 'nuff said.
Profile Image for Rich.
83 reviews38 followers
September 25, 2011
"Edward de Bono is considered by many to be the leading authority in the world on the direct teaching of thinking as a skill." Few will argue against the fact that de Bono is a pioneer of "thinking about thinking," as very rarely can you progress through a nexus of learning without acknowledging his vast contributions.

The best part of this text, which was required reading for my graduate degree, is how he gives the reader a glimpse into how their mind's eye truly works. However, with that being said, his tools are rather simplistic in nature. These are useful, especially for the under/graduate student who must learn the capabilities, patterns and pitfalls, and limitations of the mind. However, the concepts for dealing with uncertainty and shaping processes for success are rare here.

That said, this is a useful introduction into thinking and learning.
2 reviews3 followers
Currently reading
July 26, 2010
این کتاب برای من حتما باید بیش از یک مرتب خوانده شود
Profile Image for Rik.
532 reviews5 followers
March 10, 2012
For me it is a novel idea that you can be taught how to think, but having read this book I now agree with the authors main point. I read this as a library book, but I think to get the best out of it I would need to own a copy, and deliberately go over the material repeatedly, to make better thinking a natural part of my life. Some of the authors examples seemed a little biased, especially where he says that God cannot have a sense of humour as he already knows the punchline. Some things are funny even though you can see them comming, or you can be amused mearly by others laughing, so I felt the authors dig at God was not as well thought out as he would like to think! I guess, as with all books like this, you eat the meat and spit out the bones.
Profile Image for Iman xodafard.
47 reviews10 followers
September 20, 2011
زمین اسکی برای اسکی بازی زمین تنیس برای بازی تنیس و پیست اسکیت برای اسکیت بازی تعبیه شده برای فکر کردن به عنوان یک مهارت چه جای و زمانی درنظر گرفته شده؟ معما و جدول کلمات متقاطع تنها بخشی از مهارت تفکر را در بر می گیرد. اما تفکر به عنوان یک مهارت باید زرنگی متفاوت است و متفاوت است با خودمحوری ها در تفکر اعم از باهوشی یا کودنی... این یک بند کلی است برای قلقلک دادن ذهن تا به تفکر به مانند دارو نگاه نکند. دارو را تنها هنگامی می خوریم که بیمار باشیم. اگر شنا کردن را هنگام غرق شدن بیاموزیم چندان لذت بخش نیست همچنین است دربارهء تفکر. خواندن این کتاب را پیشنهاد می کنم!
84 reviews8 followers
August 9, 2020
I've read the 1982 version.

Quite a surprising read, as I've never considered "thinking" as being a skill, which is the main point of the book. The book teaches various techniques for generating alternatives, exploring ideas, considering others' view points, and arriving at a satisfactory result.

The author introduces over a dozen of acronyms and invented words for his concepts. At the end of the book, I barely remembered one or two of them. I feel this book is best used as a textbook, with plenty of exercises done to inculcate each of the concepts it teaches. It should be read more than once.

Yet still, even after going through the book without doing any exercises, I feel I gained a lot of value in improving my thinking. I expect doing the exercises will have even more benefit.

Pretty good book.
9 reviews10 followers
February 20, 2016
All De Bono's work I've read is like alluring brain food. I just want to sit on a dead camel and begin reading Jiddu Krishnamuti's 'The First and Last Last Freedom' again.

NB: As far as reviews are concerned; personally, it was an honour reading it. In fact, I was truly overjoyed to the degree that tears of euphoria ran down my ass cheeks jubilantly. 4/5
Profile Image for Dr. Phoenix.
185 reviews587 followers
August 19, 2021
Hello! I started this review yesterday and will complete it today

I started this title back on February 27, 2014, but never felt motivated enough to complete it. This was my second stab at it and I breezed through in 4 days. It is possible to read much quicker, but I am an diligent note taker and highlighter and obsessed with reading in depth.

I am currently teaching a course on problem-solving and decision-making and found some of the tools, exercises, and insights quite useful.

Edward De Bono is well known for his thoughts and writings, including the 6 -hats theory, the concept of lateral thinking and other thinking related works and models. Dr. De Bono passed away only last June but his system and thinking have impacted many internationally. His thoughts and techniques are often either admired or reviled there seems to be little middle ground. At the end of the day he tried his best to provide others with his insight and knowledge and for that he certainly cannot be faulted. To be continued...


Critiques. I personally foiund much to critique and it appears I am not alone as Dr. De Bono points out himself. My first observation matches that of many other individual readers, namely the artificiality of the use of his numerous acronyms. Despite his emphatic defense of his methodology, I found it a chore and an exercise in semantics to cope with his different acronyms, as well as questioning their constructive usefulness in many cases.

I did find his premise of the PMI analysis: Positive, Minus and Interesting...well, interesting and rather useful as well as the concept of lateral thinking - to an extent; others I found mush less so, and even to the point that they created a fog in the mind and an necessary cognitive burden, To his advantage De Bono wrote in a clear and concise way making the material easily accessible to the lay reader... albeit with some quite frivolous and annoying exceptions I will point out later.

The second point I found extremely annoying was his use of hand drawn and largely incomprehensible drawings to illustrate the points he made. They just did not --illustrate the points he made.

De Bono Mentions the term "Clash" to represent different forms of adversarial binary conflict yet fails to adequately define or describe it properly.

The author has strewn shameless commercial plugs throughout the work, we deter from its informative value. Much of the work makes no reference whatsoever to other sources or research and this is a weakness which, in fact, works against the very principles he espouses.

There is an annoying trend of I, me, my self-indulgence that grates on the nerves. His experience with the Japanese culture is telling and influences his analysis if a biased manner.

Pp. 38-39 was largely useless gibberish that I saw no usefulness in and was frustrated trying to follow his train of thought (which others has also questioned). I saw absolutely no purposes in this so-called experiment.

PP47 - 48 was less than useless to me, and a waste of time, as the manner in which it was explained escaped my comprehension.

P.88 There is a clear inference that anyone who dared challenge his perspectives was classified as having a mediocre mind.

Most of the chapter on perception (pp. 35-51) was poorly constructed and provided l little information of real value. Drawing a circle of dots and an arrow does not even come close to explaining the importance of and relationship between external stimuli, perceptions and cognitive processing in its richness.

P.117. The Easy Way out Technique, is actually poor advice as it is one of the classic traps of poor strategic thinking. The easy way out is little more than the lazy person's heuristic -- best avoided.

P.118. De Bono provides a shopping list of interesting and useful techniques that redeem weaknesses in other sections.

P. 127. Here De Bono makes a very good and solid point. He underscores the importance of establishing clear goals with reference to decision-making and implementation of the solution. A good goal setting analysis such as a SMART (Specific -Measurable - Achievable - Relevant -and Time-bound) is a sine-qua-non for effective decision-making.

P. 151 the 5-minute think was not worth 4 minutes and 59 seconds of thought.

Summary: The book has merit, if you consider the plus versus the minus and balance these with the interesting -- in other words apply de Bono's own method to it. I would recommend it particularly for those with an interest in problem-solving and decision-making, both concepts that I teach at the university level to senior leadership. At the end of the day we need to ask ourselves a simple question once we turn the final page and that is -- did I learn or achieve anything from this effort? This is particularly true in the case of a reference work such as this. I do believe the title has merit, but it is starting to show its age and like an aging structure or dwelling is sags in certain areas.

If you are like me, you might be put off at first, but if you come back refreshed you can get through this title in a very short clip of 3 -4 days. I tend to take a little longer reading reference titles since I take copious notes along the way.

Whatever you do, it should be enjoyable and meet your intended objectives.

Wishing you an enjoyable read.

Profile Image for Anne Marie.
118 reviews10 followers
July 30, 2011
Truly mind-expanding. Read at 12 years of age - made the grey matter even sharper (in my humble opinion! LOL!)
Profile Image for Adam.
173 reviews4 followers
June 3, 2021
One of the few books I've ever recorded notes on. The huge takeaways are: critical thinking is not the only way to think better; humor can be seen as taking an alternate view of thinking of a thing; alternative thinking is what you should be seeking, which is known as lateral thinking. Lastly, he argues that the gut feeling should be used at the END of thinking, not as a substitute for thinking. I highly recommend reading this book, however, I offer a caution, which is, if you don't actually do the things he talks about, are you really doing anything for your thinking? After reading this book you need to deliberately put into force many of his tactics or you have done nothing more than waste your time (and you're better than that, right?).
Profile Image for Cat Rayne .
464 reviews3 followers
March 29, 2018
Good thinkers aren’t born; they’re made.

Dr de Bono’s work on building skills to improve critical thinking, broaden perceptions and be more effective in problem solving transcends generations.

In our hopelessly divided nation, many of these tools in the book could build not just consensus, but valid solutions to a myriad of problems inherent to the 21st century. Reducing everything to either/or, one side or the other is hopelessly intellectually dishonest and fails..

A book written over 40 years ago but tools and training worthy for today.

4 stars for the sheer entertainment in gaining valuable skills I can use in my next conversation, or problem solving need.
Profile Image for Micke Sandlin.
233 reviews4 followers
October 4, 2018
Som de flesta Edward de Bono böcker en blandning av illustrationer som beskriver något som samtidigt är enkelt att förstå som svårt att fullt ut sätta sig in i för att förstå. I djusa stunder är de Bono med hans lateralt tänkade och färghattar långt före sin tid. Andra gånger blir de olika knep som boken fylls med överkurs och invecklat. Men när det gäller att tänka kretativt kommer han alltid att vara i framkant. Dock inte en bok för alla.
January 22, 2021
The book is a series of thinking exercises. It tries to be as practical as possible, which is nice and proposes that thinking, like swimming or cooking, is a skill that must be practiced in order to become better at. For this, he invented a bunch of methods, mostly on the idea of looking for different perspectives upon things and focusing our attention to the problem in a structured way. It was a pretty enjoyable and light read.
Profile Image for Harry Van Der Velde.
9 reviews3 followers
May 2, 2021
I think I read this in 1986 and introduced met into thinking as a skill instead as a given talent. Using my brain deliberately as a tool felt like a reassuring way to look at my thinking. Social and emotional insecurity obstructed my initiation of a thinking club, but for myself I used most of the tools to deeply unpack and understand many many topics. The book is a little gem and I wish this would be standard material in any school where people come to use their brains.
Profile Image for Fabrizio Poli.
Author 11 books25 followers
May 1, 2021
I am a fan of both Edward De Bono and Tony Buzan and I think their work goes hand in hand in helping us to use our brains more effectively. This is a quick read with lots of tools to help reason through and make difficult decisions easier to make. A great little reference book for anyone seeking to do their best in life.
September 6, 2021
De Bono has loaded the book with great sets of tools on creative thinking. There is a set pattern to the choas in your head, thats what the fruit I got from him. We all are conditioned and nurtured by our surrounding and family background which channels our thinking which again influences our decision.
This book helped me to become aware of these filters I have when I measure the situation.
Profile Image for Ray Savarda.
394 reviews1 follower
April 19, 2023
A fairly short, concise overview of Dr DeBono's techniques for improving the quality of "thinking", and methods and mechanisms for getting better decisions, and more creative solutions to particular problems.
I liked the briefness of his descriptions, he doesn't belabor the points like so many other self-improvement books do (probably just to bulk up the page count) .
Profile Image for Diana Sandberg.
777 reviews
June 28, 2020
It seems many people find this book inspiring, but I didn't make it very far in. The frequency with which he references others of his volumes really got up my nose. Reads like an infomercial.
Profile Image for sara.
4 reviews
January 5, 2011
I read this book because, print designer, Stefan Sagmeister recommended it in a Q&A—De Bono's 'Thinking Course' shows many exercises on how you can improve your thinking. The brain, by necessity is very good at thinking automatically. But when it comes to creative ideas, the brain also wants to think in repetition. So DeBono shows you some ways to trick the brain out of thinking in repetitions, to throw it out of its regular paths. I think ALL designers (or anyone) should read this book. DeBono also developed a much used system where you start thinking about an idea from a randomly chosen word from the dictionary—he offers awesome techniques to further your thinking capability.
13 reviews11 followers
September 8, 2011
Edward De Bono has written many books and each book has something special to each of them. This book could be considered as a concise version of everything what De Bono has taught over several years in several books. It's concise so it could feel truncated as well. I liked it but I wonder how an absolute beginner to De Bono's work would find it. It should have been a bit more comprehensive in case of exercises in after each chapter.
Want to read
February 21, 2022
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Profile Image for David.
559 reviews7 followers
December 12, 2012
how about instead of thinking like a wanna be wisecrack..how about just be, I mean, just be a person who is willing to dwell on finding out the truth..go to the library, go on to a subject, focus and focus and find out more about certain subjects both sides of the coin...but finding out the truth, one sees better at 360 degrees..no particular extra power or perceptions needed..
Profile Image for Palsay  .
259 reviews28 followers
January 27, 2009
saat berkunjung ke rumah di kampung, tak sengaja menemukan buku ini. Sering dengar bukunya, ga nyangka ternyata kakak pernah punya...hihihi..
*lengkap dengan bau lembap dan titik-titik hitam jamur di beberapa halamannya...hiiiyyh..*
15 reviews3 followers
February 10, 2009
One of the books I read on and off... too much to absorb, certainly too much to remember and spew forth, the kind of book that reminds and instructs anew.
It's about thinking, how do to it, and what it's not and what is not thinking
Profile Image for Nicki.
1,317 reviews
March 1, 2012
This is definitely a book that you need to sit down and mull over and do all the exercises to get anything out of it. I did a few with my husband and let him carry on reading it himself. You do have to persevere with it as its not a a light flick through book.
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