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Edward de Bono – why thinking must change


The most important tool any manager has available – and which every manager should use constantly and knowingly – is thought.

Edward de Bono has long been arguing that the traditional modes of thinking are not enough.

The passage below shows you just how valuable his own thinking about thinking has become and why you neglect his teaching at your great peril.

The inadequacy of our traditional thinking culture may be pinpointed as follows:

  • We need to shift from a destructive type of thinking to a much more constructive type
  • We need to change from argument to genuine exploration of a subject
  • We need to lessen the esteem in which we hold critical thinking and to place it below constructive thinking
  • We need to match skills of analysis with an equal emphasis on the skills of design
  • We need to do as much idea-work as we do information-work. We need to shift from an obsession with history to a concern for the future
  • We need to emphasize ‘operacy’ as much as knowledge. The skills of doing are as important as the skills of knowing
  • We need, for the first time, to realise that creative thinking is a serious and essential part of the thinking process
  • We need to move from our exclusive concern with the logic of processing to the logic of perception (from rock logic to water logic)
  • We need to shift from cleverness to wisdom. Perception is the basis of wisdom

This important passage comes from Edward de Bono’s ‘I am Right, You are Wrong’, a book whose title attracted much misunderstanding. Careless reviewers thought Edward was saying that he was right and everybody else wrong. Actually, that’s what most of us profess when we use the traditional process of argument. Our way has to be the right way, which means that their way must be wrong. If that’s what you truly believe, how wrong you are!

Robert Heller