New Think by Edward de Bono

New Think - In this classic, Edward de Bono presents an accessible, practical handbook on how to generate new ideas or lateral thinking. His original book Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step is excellent, but a bit difficult to get through. New Think is quite the opposite. It's an easy, informative read. Below are my notes. New Think by Edward de Bono

Below are notes from Edward de Bono's book New Think.


Hallucinogenic drugs alter our perceptions, the direction of our gaze, our focus. Many drugs alter perceptions. Funny. Altering perceptions is the goal of lateral thinking, too. Techniques of lateral thinking are like hallucinogenic drugs. And this, the 100th birthday of LSD's creator, Albert Hofmann.

Is the way we try to solve a problem, part of what makes the problem difficult to solve?

Lateral thinking seeks to re-form patterns....break patterns up, and re-assemble into new patterns.

Lateral thinking is an attitude...and skill, but can become an attitude, a willingness to break old patterns, leave behind old patterns, discard old patterns, venture off in new direction.

How you see the problem (a la Covey) is the problem -- even more, it defines the problem.

The problem of girl and the two pebbles.

Vertical thinking must be right every step of the way.

Lateral thinking can be wrong along the way (toward a solution?) Indeed, "wrong" ideas are often the path to "right" ideas. Vertical thinking cannot tolerate a wrong step. Lateral thinking encourages "wrong" steps for the new ideas, new patterns, new connections they can generate.

Lateral thinking is not really about "problem solving," but about new ways of looking at something. The value of lateral thinking is in its newness, novelty, in the fresh point-of-view.

Vertical thinking is high probability thinking. The goal is to act, to recognize a pattern and act on it. The goal is to stop thinking....

Lateral thinking is low probability thinking. The goal of lateral thinking is more thinking, more ideas, more and different points of view. Our mind operates to find patterns, to move toward bias. We are prejudice for patterns we are familiar with. Because of this tendency, we need lateral thinking techniques to break out of existing patterns.

In vertical thinking, logic controls the mind.

In lateral thinking, logic serves the mind (generating ideas).

Logic is used on the products of the mind (the new ideas) to evaluate if they are useful--after the lateral thinking mind has created/discovered them.

Vertical thinking is led by logic. Lateral thinking is served by logic after the fact.

New ideas can come from or can be stimulated by new information, but new info is not necessary. New ideas, new perceptions can come in an instant--it's not about hard work. In fact:

hard work may entrench the mind, hindering new perceptions.

New ideas can come in an instant, the development of new ideas can take a lot of hard work.

Easier to study stupidity and see what's lacking, than to study intelligence and find what's extra or clever.

Vertical thinking digs same hole deeper. Lateral thinking digs new holes. Hard to get out of a deep hole, difficult emotionally to let go of the investment.

Very hard to ignore something if no (obvious) alternative exists.

Education is about learning about existing holes, not about digging new ones. Education is communicative, not creative. Originality is not a goal of education.

Dissatisfaction with hole is easy for outside critic, but difficult for those who dug it because of the investment, attachment, etc.

Where to dig is more valuable than digging for its own sake.

There are as many experts as there are disagreements about the hole.

Laziness makes it hard to get out of old ideas.

Situation - all that is accessible to immediate attention. When attention directed to part of situation, that is perception.

Describing situation forces perception - forces a choice of where to look.

Description forces perception?

Most problems are problems of perception. Control perception, and you control your emotions. How do you control perceptions?

Not easily.

New Think by Edward De Bono
I Lateral Thinking: Creativity Step by Step
I Am Right You Are Wrong: From This to the New Renaissance: From Rock Logic to Water Logic

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