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Worthwile compendium of thinking tools
on 6 February 2013
I've always had mixed feelings about Edward de Bono's books, ever since he spun so much mileage out of "lateral thinking", which to me, was just an everyday thinking skill, to which de Bono had coined a new label. I find hiss writing style rather tedious; his books seem devoid of humour. A lot of his explanations are badly phrased and thus awkward to follow. He often takes a simple idea (such as 'lateral thinking' and 'six thinking hats') and spins it out into a whole book, where it could have been adequately described in just one succinct chapter. You could probably distil all of his useful ideas into one good book. However, he has chosen to write as many different books as possible based on his few, mostly-not-very-original ideas. So, his various books tend to cover a lot of common ground. Indeed, I consider deBono to be more of a book-writing machine than a gifted innovator.
"Thinking Course" does, at least, pack a lot of different concepts into one worthwhile manual. When I first looked at this book, about 20 years ago, I thought the concepts covered in this book were rather elementary, but cooked up to look cleverer than they really were. However, on re-reading this book, more carefully in 2013, I find that my cognitive skills were improved by reading it with increased focus and reflection. Perhaps I was due for a thinking refresher-course!
De Bono was born into aristocracy, in Malta, which may explain why his writing seems just a little alien at times. There is no doubt that he's well-educated. The amount of benefit you gain from his books will probably be largely down to how well you can find ways to utilize the ideas therein. Even if you already know the ideas covered in this book, it may benefit you to revisit them - especially if some time has passed since you last explored a book of creative-thinking tools.