Edward de bono


Nominated for the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2005, Edward de Bono is regarded by many as the leading authority in the field of creative thinking, innovation and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. He is equally renowned for his development of the Six Thinking Hats technique and the Direct Attention Thinking Tools. He is the originator of the concept of Lateral Thinking, which is now part of language and is listed in the Oxford English Dictionary. Dr. de Bono was born in Malta. He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, holds an MA in psychology and physiology from Oxford, a D. Phil. in Medicine and also a Ph.D. from Cambridge. He has held faculty appointments at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Harvard. Dr. de Bono’s background in self-organizing systems led him to derive an understanding which he then applied to the neural networks of the brain (see The Mechanism of Mind 1969 – Penguin books).

His instruction in thinking has been sought by many organizations: IBM, Prudential, GM, BT (UK), NTT (Japan), Nokia (Finland), Mondadori (Italy), Total (France), Siemens (Germany), Bosch (Germany), Ericsson (Sweden) and many others. His methods are now mandatory in the school curriculum in many countries and widely used in others.

He has written 70 books with translations into 38 languages and has been invited to lecture in 57 countries.

Dr. de Bono was chosen by a group of academics as one of the 250 people who had contributed most to humanity in the whole history of the human race.

The appeal of Dr. de Bono’s work is its simplicity and practicality. It can be used by four year olds and by senior executives; by Down syndrome youngsters and Nobel laureates.

Dr. de Bono is currently the chairman of the Council of Young Enterprise Europe, which has a membership of 1,500,000 youngsters across Europe, Israel and Russia, who set up mini-businesses while at school.

Dr. de Bono has established the World Academy of New Thinking™ (WANT) which is an association of those who believe in the need for new thinking and the importance of new thinking. ‘New Thinking’ means new perceptions, fresh alternatives, a change of emphasis and the generation and design of new concepts and ideas. The role of this Academy is specifically concerned with new thinking in conflict resolution, problem solving, economic development, education, health and most areas effecting daily life.

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A partial listing of his 70 books include; New ThinkMechanism of MindSix Thinking HatsLateral ThinkingSerious CreativityI Am Right-You Are WrongParallel ThinkingConflicts-A Better Way to Resolve ThemWater Logic, Simplicity, Teaching Thinking, New Thinking for the New MillenniumPO: A Device for Successful Thinking, and Future Positive.

Edward de Bono

19th May 1933 – 9th June 2021

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that Dr. Edward de Bono, 88, the originator of the term Lateral Thinking has passed away peacefully.

Edward de Bono lived an extraordinary life, inspiring, encouraging and enabling us to be better and more creative thinkers. He wrote in his book The Mechanism of Mind “A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen”. May the memory of Edward live on and inspire many future generations.

The funeral was on Saturday 19th June in Medina, Malta. ​There will be a memorial at a later date, 2022, in the UK, where we will celebrate his life.​



We are pleased to organize this page around three key content vehicles related to the work of Dr. Edward de Bono. The first is a set of six videos collected from the internet. They are what we consider six of the best. Each has a different slice of Dr. de Bono’s work.


Immediately following the videos are a listing of audio clips, and a completion form if you would like us to forward a DVD for your viewing. Please note we do not ship outside the U.S.


Next you will find a link to three separate interviews; the first is the need for a nation, Japan, to be more creative. We have listed this because we think it easily pertains to what we must do here in the United States in our efforts toward innovation. The next two interviews are more personal and related to Dr. de Bono’s decision to focus on teaching thinking, his family background and some of the best and worst moments along the way.

In Their Words

“I believe Dr. de Bono’s work in teaching people to think may be the most important thing happening in the world today.” – George Gallup

“If you haven’t heard of Edward de Bono or of Lateral Thinking, perhaps you have been too busy thinking in conventional ways.” – Forbes Magazine

“Six Hats systematically provides an opportunity for creativity in an environment that’s free of the criticism and confrontation we used to see. this means that everyone can collaborate and build on even the craziest of ideas to come up with creative solutions. it’s true, we had great results using Six Hats with qstar (an increase in the efficiency of the development process by 40%), but the long-term impact is even greater. we can repeat our success over and over because of these changed behaviors.” – Suzanne Wolfe, Human Resource Director, MDS Sciex

“You can do no better than to attend a de Bono seminar.” – Tom Peters

“By using Edward de Bono’s brilliant concept of ‘Lateral Thinking’ we were able to revolutionize the insurance industry through ‘living needs’ policies that allow people to benefit from their life insurance while they are alive.” – Ron D. Barbaro, President, the Prudential Insurance Company of America

“At DuPont, we have experienced the power of deliberate, systematic application of the de bono tools to practical problems with remarkable results. for example, Lateral Thinking led to a major breakthrough in process continuity at a fiber plant with a radical altering of basic equipment design, reducing the number of moving parts by 80%.” – David Tanner, Founding Director, Du Pont Center for Creativity & Innovation

“The head of research at 3m, an innovative corporation, said that a 90 minute talk by Edward de Bono, ten years before, has had more effect on the thinking of their entire research staff than anything they had done before.” – Business Press

“Our key professionals have embraced de bono’s creative thinking techniques. they are having a profound impact on the quality of our thinking at IBM.” – Jack Smulowitz, IBM

“…I have become a convert. in ‘Lateral Thinking’ our normally haphazard way of thinking is replaced by a deliberate method that, in a prescribed and systematic way, solves the problems.” – Ivar Giaver, Nobel Prize for Physics, Renssalear Institute

“Sad to think how much harm has been caused by the brutal arrogance of rock logic.” in a comparison of the rock logic of the present to the water logic of perception proposed by Dr. Edward de Bono in his book, I am right you are wrong: from rock logic to water logic – Professor Dudley Herschbach, Harvard, Nobel Prize for Chemistry 1986

“Lateral thinking helps us to leap from a well traveled neural rut to a more productive side-track whose benefit is seen only in hindsight. his (de bono’s) thinking tools are designed to lead us from the vicarious ‘why didn’t I think of that before?’ to the triumphant ‘eureka.'” I saw the system work in action at an impasse during a seminar of nobel laureates. when a random word was injected into the discussion (a de bono thinking tool), the problem was quickly solved.” – Sheldon Lee Glashow, Nobel prize for Physics, Harvard

“…our culture is suspicious of any kind of thinking that works in ways other than through logic; and, to a very large extent, logical thinking is the only kind of thinking that is encouraged in our educational system. dr. de bono does well to expose so clearly the faults in a system that places exclusive reliance on one aspect of the mind alone. one hopes that this book (i am right-you are wrong) will be studied and appreciated by those to whom it will be of the most value. – Dr. Brian David Josephson, Nobel Prize in Physics, Cambridge

More Reports About Results

ABB in Finland used to spend 30 days on their multi-national discussions. Today, they do it in two days, using the parallel thinking tools of Six Thinking Hats.

In the United Kingdom the government has the new deal program for unemployed youngsters. teaching these youngsters thinking, directly, for just six hours increased their employment rate 500 percent.

Xerox in the United Kingdom tells how using the thinking techniques enabled them to achieve in less than a day what would otherwise taken a week.

In the Karee platinum mine in South Africa there used to be 210 fights a month between the workers there. the fighting, thought to be related to the seven different ethnic cultures the miners came from, made for an very difficult work environment. when “thinking” was taught directly to the miners, who had never been to school- even for one day, the number of fights per month dropped to just 4.

Channel 4 television in England said that as a result of the training they had generated more ideas in two days than they had in the previous six months.

A lateral thinking employee at DuPont eliminated nine steps in their manufacturing process for Kevlar and saved the company 30 million dollars a year.

Three More Powerful Stories


  1. In 1976 the Olympics were held in Montreal and cost so much the remaining debt was only paid off by 1993. The financial load on the city was enormous. After that no city or country wanted to host the Olympics. they were held in Russia in 1980, but of course they had a different accounting system. The International Olympic Committee was having trouble finding a city and country host for 1984. When the city of Los Angeles decided they would act as host, stipulation was made that no local funds would be used. Peter Ueberroth, as person in charge of the Los Angeles games, developed a totally new way of thinking about financing the Olympics. For the first time in history, the Olympics made money. Asked how he came up with these new ideas, he attributed the results to Edward de Bono’s lateral thinking tools.
  2. Life insurance is a very traditional industry controlled by tradition and regulations. One day Ron Barbaro, then Chief Executive of Prudential Canada, visited a friend who had a terminal illness. His friend indicated he had an insurance policy of $20,000 but it was of little use. Barbaro, a strong advocate and user of the Lateral Thinking tools, and concerned about the fate of others like his friend developed a whole new form of insurance using provocation, one of the Lateral Thinking tools. The provocation he used led to the development of ‘living benefits’; any policy holder who falls sick with a terminal illness is immediately entitled to 75 percent of the benefits that would normally be payable on death. The concept was a big success in the industry and imitated by many. it turned life insurance partially into catastrophic health insurance. Ron Barbaro was soon chosen to be President of Prudential Insurance (USA).
  3. In 1983 Australia was about to challenge the United States in the America’s Cup, the famous international yacht race. The United States had held the cup for 130 years having never been defeated. John Bertram, head of the Australian syndicate and skipper of the Australian yacht used Dr. de Bono’s lateral thinking tools to redesign the keel and sails of the challenging boat as well as the training methods of the crew. The Australians won! Bertram also indicated in the next challenge race four years later, the Australians did not use the Lateral Thinking methods. they lost!