Sunday, November 14, 2010

Book review- Edward de Bono- Six Thinking Hats

Edward de Bono is a famous thinker, author and physician who is credited with inventing the tern 'Lateral thinking'. His books mostly revolve around thinking processes, patterns and methods. He developed the six hats thinking method which has been very successful. It is used in board meetings and schools to promote fruitful thinking and get maximum results in minimum time.

This is the first time I read a book of this nature (non fiction and thinking). Other non-fiction books I read were all the books by Linda Goodman. This is quite different from those. The review might be a little biased because I am not used to reading such books.

The six thinking hats are six ways of thinking about the same thing. They prevent argument and save time. Edaward de Bono explains in the beginning how the six hats method has helped reduced time alloted to board meetings and solve problems quickly with effective results. Here is a summary of the six hats.

White hat- It is a way of thinking objectively- merely stating facts without bringing in emotions.
Red hat- Considered a pair with white hat. It is thinking on basis of feelings.
Black hat- It is counting the cons and negetive aspects of things. It is used for caution. This hat is often overused.
Yellow hat- The opposite of black hat. It is seeing the brighter side of things- counting pros. However, it can sometimes be unrealistic.
Green hat- Green means fertile land. It signifies the growth of ideas.
Blue hat- Like the blue sky that covers us all below it, a blue hat thinker is mostly the manager or the head of the meeting who triggers all kinds of thinking.

The books is factual and theoritical in nature. CEOs and other managers and office employees might find it useful. Though these methods of thinking are interesting, the book focuses more on applying these in board room meetings, schools etc. rather than encouraging individuals to use these hats in appropriate situations. Like a white hat view, the book states facts- the qualities of each of the hats. It doesn't bias the reader or help in using these in daily life. Even the examples in the book are taken from board room meetings.
It is a little disappionting that the book endorses this method only for CEOs. Common people can benefit a lot by using these hats. The book however doesn't speak about the micro level.

The book also talks about how ego gets in the way of parallel thinking, another concept brought out by Edward de Bono.

While the six hats thinking method was interesting, it really didn't help much. As an individual, I found no use of reading the book. It is focused on boardroom meetings and gatherings where decision making is required. Though it is a nice way of decision making, the author could not tell what use it has for an ordinary person who doesn't atttend board meetings.

Overall, a rather theoritical book. It states facts objectively. It is about Edward de Bono's new method- something like a textbook with examples. It is rather short- around 180 pages with lots of spacing and big print. I really don't know how to give a score to this book because I usually read fiction and the non fiction I read is completely different from this book. I'll leave the score upto you.


Creative idea
Detailed explanation


Of no use to an individual
Does not teach to use principles in real life situations-impractical
Contains references to previous books


  1. I found on line what I needed to share with my class about the Six Thinking Hats and brought in a hat of each color and went from there. I used the lifesaver example with my students. I found it to be a quite compelling way to help my middle- schoolers think about thinking. We use it for classroom situations and with problem-solution reading passages.

  2. I am currently reading De Bono's "Teach Your Child How to Think." As far as your cons, I feel that this book would better address your concerns as it speaks directly to how to incorporate the idea of the six hats into the daily lives of children, thus how you could apply it to your own life. It is less focused on the business world, and more focused on the task and importance of thinking in real life.

  3. The second image you have on this thread is my intellectual property and is stolen. It has not been properly referenced as my resource photo from and I request that you remove it immediately. You are in breech of copyright laws.
    Thank you,
    Andrea @

  4. Dear Andrea,

    I would like to apologise for putting up the image. Sorry for any inconvinience caused. It has been removed.

  5. Six thinking hats used with well-defined and explicit Return On Investment success in corporations worldwide, Six Thinking Hats is a simple, effective parallel thinking process that helps people be more productive, focused, and mindfully involved. A powerful tool set, which once learned can be applied immediately. Find these Six Thinking Hats Techniques to learn more.