Edward de Bono in conversation with Richard Aedy - Happy + Well : Happy + Well

Edward de Bono in conversation with Richard Aedy

Written by on October 29, 2015 in Learning with 1 Comment

edward“Very few people have thought more about thinking than Edward de Bono,” Richard Aedy says.

RA: Why is thinking important?

EdB: Without thinking, there’s not much you can do but repeat, repeat and follow instructions.

RA: What are some of the errors in our thinking?

EdB: For 2,400 years, we have loved argument. Why? Because argument allows the ego to show off or prove someone wrong. Argument is a very inefficient way of exploring a subject. In argument, the mood is negative, destructive – trying to prove the other person wrong. Only the negative parts of the brain are switched on during argument.

RA: Why is parallel thinking important?

EdB: Parallel thinking is thinking alongside someone’s ideas. That’s the where the six hats come in: six different modes, six moods. Everyone does their best to think from each of the different hats. It’s much faster than arguing and more efficient – meeting times can become reduced a tenth of the usual time.

The most significant behaviour of the brain is humour. This indicates the brain is working in a patterning system. That’s what lateral thinking is based on – the patterning system.

RA: Lateral thinking was a big turning point.

EdB: In the past, we devoted thinking to finding the truth, in science and religion. A lot of people still think that truth is the main aim of thinking. A few years ago I invented the word ‘EBNE’: excellent but not enough. Argument is EBNE.

RA: Syria might be the most intractable problem there is in the world, currently.

EdB: Yes, for a very simple reason. A caveman would respond to a standard problem in a standard way, and this is the pattern humans have followed in their problem-solving to this day. If something comes along that is not standard, which is Syria, noone knows what to do. For Syria, there is a simple solution: a dual government system. One government that focuses on stability, and one that allows them to focus on welfare.

RA: But that’s not going to happen.

EdB: It could.

RA: How satisfied are you with your work?

EdB: The six hats are taught around the world, there’s a big following in China.


Edward de Bono is a Maltese physician, psychologist, author, inventor and consultant. He originated the term lateral thinking, wrote the book Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject in schools.

Richard Aedy is an Australian journalist. He currently presents the Australian Broadcasting Corporation’s ABC Local Radio program Sunday Profile. 



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  1. whiteleycho says:

    Great ideas from great thinkers. I love the idea that laughing promotes better thinking. I am a great believer in happiness and its benefits. Happiness not only helps thinking, but also health, productivity and relationships. Let happy days reign supreme in our way of living.

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