The De Bono Code Book
Amazon link: The De Bono Code Book
By Edward de Bono (includes links to many of his other books)
Language has been the biggest help in human progress.
Language is now by far the biggest barrier to human progress.
If language has indeed been the biggest help to human progress, how can it now be the biggest barrier?
Language has enabled the human species to move ahead of primates even though there is only a tiny difference in genetic DNA.
Language has allowed communication and therefore cooperation.
Language has allowed the storing of knowledge, so that future generations can benefit from the learning and wisdom of past generations.
Language allows the formulation and expression of thoughts.
Language allows competent and subtle descriptions.
So how can language now be the biggest barrier to human progress?
Any self-organising system like human thought and human language reaches a stable equilibrium state (sometimes called a local equilibrium).
It is very difficult to budge from this state because any change seems inferior.
So we are sucked back to the equilibrium state.
That is why changes in language are so slow and so difficult.
Purely on this system basis it is inevitable that language will reach a complacent 'stable' state and will become more and more inadequate at describing an increasingly complex world.
So language may indeed have been the biggest help towards human progress up to this point in time.
It may also be the biggest barrier to further progress.
A child's clothes are important and suitable, but the child eventually grows out of them.
The clothes remain wonderful, but their value is changed.
Trainer wheels on a bicycle are essential until you learn to ride the bicycle — but a hindrance thereafter.
The apparent contradiction can also be resolved in another way.
Language as a general concept remains as valuable as it has always been.
At the same time, our current language is a barrier to progress.
That is why my book (The De Bono Code Book: Going Beyond the Limits of Language) needed to be written.
Language is an encyclopaedia of ignorance.
Words and concepts enter language at a state of relative ignorance (relative to our current knowledge.
These perceptions are frozen into permanence with a language word.
So we are forced to perceive the world in a very old-fashioned way.
It is for precisely this reason that language has become a barrier to human progress.
For example, the perception of 'profit' has severely limited the social development of business and value creation in society.
Why, then, have we not been able to develop the new concepts and perceptions that are needed?
The answer to this question is the key element in the book, which is published by Viking this month.
We have not developed new perceptions or complex perceptions because our ability to describe in words is so superb that we feel we can describe any situation perfectly well with the existing language.
This is a dangerous and fatal mistake because description and perception are two different things.
As I mentioned in a previous book of mine, some Inuit languages in Canada have one word which says 'I like you very much, but I would not go seal-hunting with you'.
You can look across a table and 'see' someone through that perception.
This is totally different from saying after the meeting: 'Joe is a good fellow and I like him, but I would not want to go seal-hunting with him'.
Description after the event is not at all the same as perception at the time.
NOT GOOD ENOUGH
As a matter of fact I think this powerful Inuit word is not good enough.
Two words are needed:
1. 'I like you very much, but I would not want to go seal-hunting with you because you do not pull your weight (make holes in the ice, lug the seals, etc., etc.)
2. 'I like you very much, but I would not want to go seal-hunting with you, because we would be spending hours together on the ice, and you are very boring company!'
Imagine the following shape: there are three lines; at each of its ends one line joins another line to form an angle; the three angles so formed enable the three lines to enclose an area completely.
Would it not be very much simpler if we had the word 'triangle'?
Description is not perception.
Imagine a huge chest with lots of drawers.
Each drawer contains one type of word.
Whenever we want to describe anything, we open the appropriate drawers and take out the required words.
When we have finished, we return the words to the drawers.
What has been described has an existence only while we assemble the words to describe it.
Description follows perception.
But what guides that perception?
Australia, Thailand, USA, Argentina, Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuwait, Copenhagen, London was the itinerary of a recent trip of mine.
The itinerary exists only when the travel agent has put it together.
Contrast that with the concept of 'Amsterdam'.
That immediately conjures up canals, practical easy-going people, window-shopping for sex, brown cafes, etc.
A concept has its ramifications and suburbs — just like a town.
A concept or a word has its own 'locus' (or place) in the nerve networks of the mind.
From this locus we move more easily to other places.
A description is an itinerary which visits one place after another.
In neurological terms the two are totally different.
The brain can only see what it is prepared to see.
If the brain contains complex concepts, then we can perceive the world through these concepts.
This is perception.
So how are we going to create the new words that are going to allow us to see the world in a much richer and much more powerful way?
To create the new concepts and perceptions, we use numbers to create codes.
This is not much different from using a telephone number.
For example, 10/15 means: 'I am upset and not pleased in a general sense.
I am not happy with the way things are going.
There is no one person or event about which I am unhappy.
It is a general response to what I see happening'.
This is a 'mood' code.
There are 17 other types of 'B' code listed in the book.
In order to make much fuller use of the capacity of the human brain, there is an absolute need to move to a higher-order language.
This might happen gradually over time.
But there is no reason why it should not happen sharply — as with my book.
For convenience, only part of the full codes are included in the book.
Once the coding system has been established, it becomes possible to create new codes for new situations and new concepts.
The door is open.
- Something of the sort is going to happen sooner or later
- Language has been the biggest help in human progress
- Language is now by far the biggest barrier to human progress
- The barrier
- Description is not perception
- Grotesque and bizarre
- To create the new concepts and perceptions we use numbers
- Shock, Horror and Outrage
- Benefit 1: International
- Benefit 2: Perception
- Benefit 3: Complex Concepts
- Benefit 4: New Concepts
- Benefit 5: Precision
- Benefit 6: Expectations
- Benefit 7: Avoiding Awkwardness
- Benefit 8: Saving Time
- Benefit 9: Information Management
- Benefit 10: Uniformity
- Benefit 11: Calm
- Benefit 12: Locus
- This book contains two codes
- Pronunciation Usage
- Part 1 De Bono Code B
- Overview of the Codes From De Bono Code B That Are Included in This Book
- Code 1: Pre-Code
- Code 2: Attention Directing
- Code 3: Action Code
- Code 4: Difficult Situations
- Code 5: Response Code
- Code 6: Interaction (Frantic) Code
- Code 7: Information Code
- Code 8: Youth Code
- Code 9: Meetings
- Code 10: Mood Code
- Code 11: Distance Code
- Code 12: Relationships Start
- Code 13: Relationships Continue
- Code 14: Relationships End
- Code 15: Negotiation
- Code 16: Assessment
- Code 17: Project Status
- Code 18: Travel Code
- Code Details
- Pre-Code Code 1
- 1/1 This is a friendly greeting. There is no request attached to it
- 1/2 This is a request for information on the matters indicated
- 1/3 I need very specific and very detailed information on the matter indicated
- 1/4 This is a request for your response and your reaction to what is indicated here
- 1/5 Please expand on this
- 1/6 I simply do not understand the following matter
- 1/7 I want to draw your attention to the following matter
- 1/8 This is a request that you lay out your action plans for the matter specified
- 1/9 This is a request that you carry out the action specified here
- 1/10 I am putting forward a proposal or suggestion for your consideration
- 1/11 I want to register a complaint. I want to bring this to your attention because
- 1/12 This is a direct response to your request (specified)
- 1/13 I wish to register a disagreement
- 1/14 This is the information which you requested
- 1/15 Here is some information. This communication contains information
- 1/16 This is a schedule, plan, timetable, action sequenceetc. This is information you need
- Attention Directing Code 2
- 2/1 Direct your attention to the PMI points. Tell me what you see
- 2/2 Direct your attention to the future
- 2/3 What are the factors involved here?
- 2/4 What is the objective? What are we really trying to do?
- 2/5 What are the views of the other people involved?
- 2/6 What are the alternatives?
- 2/7 What are the priorities?
- 2/8 Direct your attention to the key values involved
- 2/9 Direct your attention to the matters on which we agree/disagree/irrelevant
- 2/10 Can you recognize this as a standard situation?
- Action Code Code 3
- 3/1 I want in. I want to take part in this
- 3/2 I am very interested
- 3/3 Thank you, but no thank you. I am not interested
- 3/4 I want out. I want to get out of this
- 3/5 Let's move right forward to action
- 3/6 What is the problem? What is the hold-up?
- 3/7 We need to design a way forward
- 3/8 We need some creative thinking here
- 3/9 There are no problems but nothing seems to be happening
- 3/10 What is the immediate next step?
- 3/11 We need to think about this
- 3/12 what has been happening? What is the feedback? Where is the action report?
- Difficult Situations Code 4
- 4/1 Lack of the necessary resources
- 4/2 Lack of management at all levels or at some levels
- 4/3 Low morale. Low motivation. A workforce uninterested in what they are doing
- 4/4 Lack of leadership
- 4/5 An organization that is rigid and old-fashioned
- 4/6 Lack of Vision. Lack of mission. Survival is enough
- 4/7 4/7 The world outside is tough. Everything takes time and a great deal of effort
- 4/8 Situations which are 'locked' in
- 4/9 Fights, factions, disputes and far too much internal politics
- 4/10 Too much corruption, cheating, nepotism, etc. An organization with rather low morals
- 4/11 Coasting. A once-successful organization, group or even country coasts on its reputation
- Response Code Code 5
- 5/1 I am sorry, this matter is not of interest to me
- 5/2 Here is the information that you wanted
- 5/3 This is some of the information that you requested. I am not able to supply the rest of it
- 5/4 I am not able to provide you with the information that you requested
- 5/5 You are asking for far too much information
- 5/6 I could be interested in what you have suggested but I would need much more information
- 5/7 I am going to have to think about this matter and will then get back to you
- 5/8 Thank you for your proposal. Here are my reactions to your proposal
- 5/9 With regard to your suggestion of a meeting I would like to have in writing
- 5/10 Thank you very much for your comments
- 5/11 I accept your invitation and will be happy to be there
- 5/12 I regret that I am unable to accept your invitation owing to a prior engagement
- 5/13 I am sure you are entitled to your opinion no matter how you arrived at it
- Interaction (Frantic) Code 6
- 6/1 What exactly is the matter? Spell out the problem directly and simply
- 6/2 You give me what you think my point of view might be and I shall give you
- 6/3 There are things we do need to discuss here. Let us find time to discuss them
- 6/4 Give me space. Don't crowd me. Don't pressure me
- 6/5 Calm down. There is no need to be frantic or aggressive
- 6/6 Don't take yourself so seriously. Don't overreact
- 6/7 Cut the crap, what do you want? Never mind the preamble and background
- 6/8 Things are becoming too emotional. I suggest we take a break
- Information Code Code 7
- 7/1 This information is purely factual. It is comprehensive and not selective
- 7/2 These are administrative details
- 7/3 Instructions, operating procedures, laws, regulations, etc
- 7/4 This information is intended to be an honest, objective description of or comment on some matter
- 7/5 This is a subjective category, description or review
- 7/6 This is a dishonest review or commentary
- 7/7 This is advocacy or case-making
- 718 This indicates material that is of an advertising and selling nature
- 7/9 This is also 'selling' information but the information is put forward in a neutral way
- 7/10 This indicates chat or conversation
- 7/11 This is the fine print. These are the 'footnotes'.
- 7/12 Proposals, propositions, suggestions, offerings, etc.
- 7/13 This indicates hate, bigotry and a strong emotional outpouring
- 7/14 This indicates advice, help, motivation, self-help, training, etc
- 7/15 This indicates 'forms to fill in. Forms of any sort come into this category
- Youth Code Code 8
- 8/1 I am in trouble and I need your help. I do not want a lecture
- 8/2 I am having difficulty making a decision
- 8/3 I am confused. I am in a muddle. I need clarification
- 8/4 There is something that I need to talk about
- 8/5 I would like an honest and direct answer to the question that I am going to ask you
- 8/6 This thing is really very important to me. You may not think so
- 8/7 This is something I really, really want to do
- 8/8 Sure, let's talk. Let's discuss things. I am willing to listen without judging
- 8/9 What is troubling you? What is the matter? Tell me the problem
- 8/10 What do you really think and feel about this?
- 8/11 What are your intentions? What are you plans? What are you going to do?
- 8/12 You are behaving like a spoiled brat. You are being very selfish
- 8/13 Show some manners and respect. Don't behave in that boorish and oafish manner
- 8/14 For some reason you are in a difficult and cranky mood. Could you snap out of it?
- 8/15 Don't sulk. It won't get you anywhere
- 8/16 Clean up the mess. Tidy Up. Put things away
- 8/17 Be nice to your brothers and sisters
- 8/18 It would be nice if you could help. It would be nice if you could contribute
- 8/19 Let's have some peace and quiet. Stop that racket or go somewhere else
- 8/20 Don't be unreasonable
- 8/21 I need attention. Don't ignore me
- 8/22 Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate what you are doing or have done
- 8/23 That is fine. That is just right. That is perfect. I like that very much
- Meetings Code 9
- 9/1 I am confused. I am lost. I cannot follow you. Please repeat. Please clarify
- 9/2 Do not assume that we know the current situation. Please spell it out
- 9/3 Get to the point. What do you propose? What do you want to see happen?
- 9/4 Could you summarize what you have been saying? Could you repeat the main points?
- 9/5 More information is needed at this point. I need more information.
- 9/6 What are the benefits? Why is this worth doing? Why is this a good idea?
- 9/7 What is the downside? What are the risks? What are the drawbacks?
- 9/8 This is a weak case. I am doubtful. I am not convinced. I do not agree with the argument
- 9/9 I fully agree. I am convinced. I have followed your line of reasoning and I agree with you
- 9/10 This stuff is irrelevant. This stuff has nothing to do with the main point or
- Mood Code Code 10
- 10/1 Would you like to tell me what your mood is today? What is your mood right now?
- 10/2 I am happy. I am in a happy mood. Things are going well
- 10/3 The mood is neutral and normal
- 10/4 This is the broad, generic 'unhappy' response
- 10/5 I am overworked. I am very busy. There is far too much to do
- 10/6 I am under pressure. I am being hassled. There are many demands to be met
- 10/7 I am tense. For some reason I feel tension. It may be a combination of factors
- 10/8 I am just very tired. I have been doing a lot lately
- 10/9 I am depressed. I am going through a phase of depression. This is no one's fault
- 10/10 I am unwell. i am not feeling well. I think I may be il
- 10111 I am worried about something. I am anxious about something
- 10/12 I am preoccupied. I am thinking about something
- 10/13 I am in the best of moods. I am at the top of my form. I am full of energy
- 10/14 I am annoyed and upset about a particular individual or action
- 10/15 I am upset and not pleased in a general sense
- 10/16 I am furious. I am very angry
- 10/17 I am becoming increasingly unhappy about the way this project is going
- 10/18 I am disappointed. I expected better
- 10/19 I am stressed out at the moment. There are a lot of things going on
- 10/20 I congratulate you. I applaud your success. What you have done is wonderful
- 10/21 Thank you. Thank you very much. I appreciate what you have done for me
- 10/22 I feel frustrated. I feel thwarted. I feel blocked
- 10/23 I am feeling full of energy. I feel able to do anything
- 10/24 I am in a creative mood. I feel creative. I feel inspired
- Distance Code Code 11
- Code 11 Distance Code
- 11/1 Do you know how to use this code? Do you use this code?
- 11/2 I like the look of you and I would like to meet you. Is this a good idea?
- 11/3 Fine. Let's meet. Let's meet halfway
- 11/4 Yes, we can meet. I do want to meet. But not right now
- 11/5 The answer is 'no'. I am not interested. Don't pester me. Keep away
- Relationship Codes Code 12,13 and 14
- Code 12 Relationships Start
- 12/1 I am looking forward to the development of this relationship
- 12/2 I have no hidden agenda or dark intentions. I like you and want to know you better
- 12/3 Let's try it out and see how we get on
- 12/4 Where do we go from here? What is the next step?
- 12/5 There is no hurry. Let things evolve on their own
- 12/6 This seems to be getting a bit one-sided. I seem to be doing all the running
- 12/7 You are getting too intense. You are crowding me. Give me space or I shall back off
- 12/8 I am not going to ask you any questions and I do not want you to ask me any questions
- 12/9 I want you to e very honest with me about your status, commitments, baggage arid encumbrances
- 12/10 You seem to be becoming too possessive. I need space. I want to let you know how I feel
- 12/11 You are becoming very demanding. I find this difficult. I feel I ought to tell you this
- 12/12 I am in this as a romance, as an adventure, as a fling
- 12/13 I am looking for a long-term relationship or commitment
- 12/14 I like you very much and I want to be friends. Nothing more heavy than that
- 12/15 I just want a small place somewhere in your life
- 12/16 I love you for ever - or until next Monday
- Code 13 Relationships Continue
- 13/1 This relationship does not seem to be going anywhere
- 13/2 This relationship has stagnated. It is getting boring
- 13/3 Things are going very well. Things are getting better and better
- 13/4 we have become complacent. We seem to take each other for granted
- 13/5 Things seem to have changed. I have noticed a change in your behaviour
- 13/6 There are some important things that we need to talk about
- 13/7 What is the problem? What has gone wrong? What are you upset about?
- 13/8 This is just a temporary hiccup. This is a very minor problem
- 13/9 I am completely prepared to admit my fault over this matter. I am sorry
- 13/10 There you go again. Insisting on having your own way
- 13/11 I feel we are making real progress and moving forward to overcome the difficulties
- 13/12 You know I do not like that. It annoys and irritates me
- 13/13 Don't overplay the victim. Don't overplay the martyr role
- Code 14 Relationships End
- 14/1 it is no one's fault but I do not think we are compatible after all
- 14/2 This relationship has been dying for some time
- 14/3 People change. I may have changed or you may have changed
- 14/4 This relationship has been dead for a long time
- 14/5 This is a good relationship but I do not see any long-term future in it
- 14/6 You want commitment without commitment
- 14/7 I have come to the conclusion that I can't give you what you want from life
- 14/8 The present level of involvement is over
- 14/9 The plain truth is that I have met someone else
- 14/10 This has happened. I am mad at you. I am disappointed
- 14/11 The relationship has run its course
- 14/12 You are simply not the person I thought you were
- 14/13 We could both try harder to salvage the relationship
- 14/14 If there were an elegant and painless way to end a relationship
- Negotiation Code 15
- 15/1 Is this a genuine negotiation?
- 15/2 Could you please lay out your position?
- 15/3 You are asked to lay out what you think our position might be
- 15/4 What can we agree upon? What do we disagree upon?
- 15/5 What are the benefits that you are offering?
- 15/6 As it is, your offer is not attractive
- 15/7 These fears are real and do need to be addressed
- 15/8 What is your proposal (or counter-proposal)? Please spell it out again
- 15/9 What do you see as the alternatives and options at this point?
- 15/10 We have gone over the old ground again and again
- 15/11 How do you see the future unfolding? How do you see alternative futures?
- 15/12 More information is needed on the following matters …
- 15/13 At the moment I see this as rather one-sided
- 15/14 Are we treating this as an adversarial confrontation or are we seeking, together
- 15/15 What are the contingency arid fall-back positions?
- 15/16 Who are the people who really matter in this situation?
- 15/17 We are moving towards an outcome
- 15/18 Is this outcome going to be acceptable?
- 15/19 This is a stalemate
- 15/20 Are there matters which have seen left out?
- 15/21 Can we review what we have discussed and what seems to have been agreed?
- 15/22 Who is going to take responsibility for what? Who is going to do what, and when?
- 15/23 What is the next step? Where do we go from here?
- 15/24 That was constructive. That was good. I think we made a lot of progress
- Assessment Code 16
- 16/1 This is highly competent. I cannot find fault with it
- 16/2 This is more than competent. This is excellent
- 16/3 This is both competent and highly creative
- 16/4 This is great on creativity but not so good on competence
- 16/5 This is very patchy. Some parts are good and other parts are not good enough
- 16/6 Barely adequate. This is the bottom rung
- 16/7 This is a mediocre performance. It is not bad and it is certainly not good
- 16/8 This is a disappointing performance. You are capable of a much better performance
- 16/9 There is a great deal of room for improvement. This performance is not good enough
- 16/10 Good but full of careless errors. May carelessness or lack of concentration
- 16/11 Good performance but locking in sensitivity and people skills
- 16/12 This is not a good performance at all. Perhaps there are reasons for this?
- 16/13 This is simply a poor performance. It is not acceptable in any way
- 16/14 This is a truly shocking performance
- 16/15 You may well have misunderstood what you were supposed to do
- Project Status Code 17
- 17/1 What is the time status of the project? Is it on time or what?
- 17/2 The project is behind schedule because of a number of … which could have been foreseen
- 17/3 There are major problems and obstacles which are holding things up
- 17/4 We need help in solving the following problem or problems
- 17/5 This project is resource-starved as indicated here
- 17/6 There is some doubt about the quality of management on this project
- 17/7 This project has been poorly planned. We need to replan the whole project
- 17/8 The project is in crisis. We need to see how we can rescue it
- 17/9 What is the way forward?
- 17/10 How do you see the future scenarios?
- 17/11 The project seems to be running low on energy
- 17/12 What can I do to help? What sort of help would be most useful?
- Travel Code Code 18
- 18/1 I am feeling very ill. I need to see a doctor or get to a hospital. Can you help me?
- 18/2 I have been robbed or am otherwise in trouble. I need to call the police. Can you help me?
- 18/3 I am in difficulties and I need help. I need to get in touch with my embassy or consulate
- 18/4 Can you take me to … ? The place is indicated by one of the following additional numbers
- 18/5 Can you tell me how I can get to the following place, as indicated by the number given
- 18/6 I need to find accommodation. I want you to recommend a place or to take me to such a place
- 18/7 I need to find a bank or a place where I can change money. Can you help me?
- 18/8 I need to make a telephone call. Where Carl I find a telephone?
- 18/9 I need to make an international phone call. Where can I do that?
- 18/10 I need to connect up with my e-mail or the Internet. How can I do that?
- 18/11 I need to send a letter or postcard to the following country.
- 18/12 Where can I find a toilet? Where is the nearest toilet?
- 18/13 Would you like to join me for a coffee, a drink, a meal or a walk?
- 18/14 I need to get a ticket to this destination. What do I need to do?
- 18/15 I have this ticket, or this address, or this situation (pointing to something). What do I do?
- 18/16 Do you speck English (or other specified language)? Does anyone here speak English?
- Part 2 De Bono Code A
- De Bono Code A
- The Meaning of the Numbers
- Change (Input, Change, Output)
- System Values (Positive/Negative values)
- The People Factor
- The Time Factor
- Existence and Presence
- Absence, Not Present
- The Grid
- The Use of De Bono Code A
- Overlap and Addition
- Familiarity, Reference and Use
- Code meanings
- 7: Present / This
- 5: Absent / Missing
- 1: Situation / Input/ Starting Position
- 2: the Change Process
- 6: Output / Outcome / Result
- 8: System Positive
- 4: Negative / Harmful / Unfavourable / Bad
- 3: the People Factor
- 9: the Time Factor
- Codes A and B: Duplicate and Parallel
- International Numbers
- De Bono Code B summary
- Code 1 // Pre-Code
- Code 2// Attention Directing
- Code 3// Action Code
- Code 4// Difficult Situations
- Code 5 // Response Code
- Code 6 // Interaction (Frantic) Code
- Code 7// Information Code
- Code 8 // Youth Code
- Code 9 // Meetings
- Code 10 // Mood code
- Code 11 // Distance Code
- Code 12 // Relationships Start
- Code 13 // Relationships Continue
- Code 14 // Relationships End
- Code 15 // Negotiation
- Code 16 // Assessment
- Code 17 // Project Status
- Code 18 // Travel Code
- Overview of the Codes From De Bono Code B That Are Included in This Book
The De Bono Code Book is published by Viking