brainroads-toward-tomorrows mental patterns


pyramid to dna

Think before it’s too late


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  • Author’s Note

  • Introduction

  • 1. Creativity

  • 2. The Formal Tools of Lateral Thinking

  • 3. Judgement Not Design

  • 4. Knowledge and Information

  • 5. Language

  • 6. Democracy

  • 7. Universities

  • 8. Schools

  • 9. The Media

  • 10. Perception

  • 11. Critical Thinking and Criticism

  • 12. Art and Thinking

  • 13. Leadership and Thinking

  • 14. Conflicts and Disagreements

  • 15. Twenty-three Reasons Why Thinking Is So Poor

  • 16. What Can I Do?

  • 17. What Can You Do?

  • 18. What Can Society Do?

  • 19. Values

  • 20. The Right to Think

  • Epilogue

  • Index

  • De Bono Thinking Systems

  • The Edward de Bono Foundation





I want to repeat, yet again, that I have no quarrel with our existing thinking systems.

They are excellent and do their work very well.

'Excellent but not enough' has been the theme of this book.

We need to supplement our existing thinking methods with some additional thinking software.

We need a method for formal creative thinking: that is the lateral thinking methods.

We need a method for exploring a subject when argument is inefficient and inappropriate: that is the Six Hats method.

We need to pay a great deal more attention to perceptual thinking: that is the CoRT program and the DATT program.

We need to look at values more directly: that is the Six Value Medals program.

There is also a book of mine about the Six Action Shoes that seeks to clarify different types of action. 

I have not covered this method in this book.

There is also the new method of the Septine.

All these provide additional software for areas and uses that are not adequately covered by existing thinking software.

With computers, software is designed for a purpose so is it with these additional methods.

No amount of logical searching for the truth will produce a new idea.

Our existing thinking is simply not good enough.

While we are rightly concerned with the environment and with problem areas, we are far too complacent about our thinking which is by far the most important of all areas.





“Why is ‘thinking’ important? awareness — seeing the road ahead

Because without thinking we can only act in the following ways:

1. Act purely on instinct like insects.

2. Repeat the usual routines.

3. Do what someone else > decides > and orders.

4. Follow the emotion of the moment.” — Edward de Bono


If you don’t design your own life THEN someone else will do it for you!!!

The Alternative to Tyranny

Dealing with risk and uncertainty


Everyday thinking is what fills in the time when you are neither asleep nor dead.


Thinking is that waste of time between SEEING something and “knowing” what to do about it.


Knowing what to do


The purpose of thinking is to deliver to you the values you seekcontinue


“If you do not care
to understand something
then you must borrow an explanation
from someone else (and they will deceive you)
or do without one.” continue


Dealing with risk and uncertainty

What thinking is needed — now or later? ↑ ↓

Now and then the ‘edge effect’




Edward de Bono interview (12+ minutes) #audioplayback

Wisdom is largely about broadening perception

to know something important … (#sda on memo)


Finding and selecting the pieces

Connect, connect, connect

Getting a broader view !!! helicopter



Most of the mistakes in thinking are mistakes in perception. an exploration #sda


star-red-16x16 SEEING only part of the situation — insufficient #information


Topics vs. realities ::: larger view




Three types of broad — width, depth, richness



Once you see something you can’t unsee it

JUDGEMENTAttention-directing frameworks


mental patterns



harvest and implement

Now and then the ‘edge effect’

It’s easy to get lost without a map

Creating a better “map”


bluebox10 The patterning system of the mind — the NEED for MANY competing patterns


bluebox10 Finding and selecting the pieces of the puzzle

“Alternatives don’t have to show themselves” ↓


bluebox10 A big really picture

A smaller element ↓



star-green-10x10 “The terms knowledge industries, knowledge work and knowledge worker are nearly fifty (sixty, seventy, eighty) years old.

They were coined around 1960, simultaneously but independently— the first by a Princeton economist, Fritz Machlup, the second and third by this writer.

Now everyone uses them, but as yet hardly anyone understands their implications for human values and human behavior, for managing people and making them productive, for economics, and for politics.” — PFD

star-green-10x10 The Second Curve — missing the turn to the future

star-green-10x10 The World: A Brief Introduction

star-green-10x10 Books by Walter Wriston

star-green-10x10 Technology is about work: the specifically human activity by means of which man pushes back the limitations of the iron biological law which condemns all other animals to devote all their time and energy to keeping themselves alive for the next day, if not for the next hour.

star-blue-10x10 “A change as tremendous as … doesn’t just satisfy existing wants, or replace things we are now doing.

It creates new wants and makes new things possible.”

star-green-10x10 Knowledge and technology

star-green-10x10 No surprises

star-blue-10x10 Long years of profound changes

star-blue-10x10 The Five Deadly Sins

star-green-10x10 A FREEDOM brainroad

star-green-10x10 T. George Harris — civil rights, politics, business, psychology, careers, self-development, health and spirituality

star-green-10x10 Celebrating the life of Peter Druckeraudio by Rick Warren

star-green-10x10 Things don’t alway work out as expected. What are the implications for those impacted?

star-blue-10x10 The voyage of the St. Louis 1939

star-blue-10x10 The really bad guys don’t always get what they deserve

star-blue-10x10 The good guys don’t always carry out their obligations


bluebox10 Intelligence, information, thinking

star-green-10x10 If you never change your mind, why have one?

Have a sign on your desk which says:

‘Same thinking as yesterday, last year or ten years ago.’ — life experience

star-green-10x10 Parallel Thinking

star-blue-10x10 Water Logic — what does something lead to?

star-green-10x10 Think! Before It's Too Late

star-green-10x10 Practical ThinkingThe black cylinder experiment and the world surrounding you

star-green-10x10 Textbook of Wisdom — if you can SEE the road ahead …

star-green-10x10 Attention directing frameworks — a place in the mind

star-green-10x10 Intelligence ::: Information ::: Thinking combo pdf

star-green-10x10 Three types of intelligence

star-green-10x10 Dealing with risk and uncertainty

star-green-10x10 Information: Search not Think

star-green-10x10 Windows of Opportunity

star-green-10x10 Information and Decisions

star-green-10x10 What Everybody Knows Is Frequently Wrong

star-green-10x10 Time-life Navigation Insights

bluebox10 The memo THEY don’t want you to see

bluebox10 Why bother?

star-green-10x10 How can the INDIVIDUAL survive?

star-green-10x10 The INDIVIDUAL in entrepreneurial society

bluebox10 Managing Oneself — a REVOLUTION in human affairs

star-green-10x10 More than anything else we are responsible for our own self-development and allocating our lives

star-green-10x10 The second half of one’s life

star-blue-10x10 Who you really are and who you might become!?


star-red-16x16 Jumping to conclusions

see above

altenative paths toward judgement

bluebox10 “Most people make the mistake of believing that because something is simple, obvious and sensible we do it all the time.

This is not so at all.

We do not usually do even the simplest of things.” EDB

bluebox10 Assumptions


star-red-16x16 Misinterpretation caused by feelings

bluebox10 What about feelings and values?

bluebox10 What about beliefs? It is also true that beliefs can stand in the way of progress

bluebox10 Doing a PMI

bluebox10 Social ecologist

bluebox10 Sixteen different angles

bluebox10 Broad





Perception provides

the ingredients for thinking ↓ #pta


↑ “If our perceptions are wrong
then no amount of logical excellence
will give the right answer.” ↓


Your thinking, choices, DECISIONS are

determined by

what you’ve “SEEN
↑ …



“It is only our lack of complete information
that makes it necessary for us to think”

The traditional notion in education that information is sufficient is old-fashioned and dangerous



“In addition to information

we need #ideas.

Ideas are
the spectacles
through which
we look
at information



‘An #idea
can never
make the best use
of available information
information trickles into the mind
over a period of time
the idea patterns set up
cannot be as good
as if
all the information
arrived at once.’ continue




“One does not pay attention to everything.


And one acts
only upon what one is
paying attention to.


(A Century of Social Transformation)


The reaction may be #thinking or it may be action (which is only thinking that passes through our mouths or our muscles instead of our minds).

The world around is full of a huge number of things to which one could pay attention.

But it would be impossible to react to everything at once.

So one reacts only to a selected part of it.


The choice of attention area
the action or thinking
that follows.


The choice
of this area of attention
is one of the most fundamental
aspects of thinking.”

Very powerful ::: TLN Insights ::: #adt #edb


The thinking
to get things done

Getting the RIGHT things done and avoiding the four realities of an executive’s situation that push them toward futility

Is it a problem or an important decision?

Career Performance or trivial pursuit

objectives, priorities, alternatives,
other people's views,
creativity, decisions, choices, planning,
consequences of action operacy






“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence;

it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker



The shift from manual workers
who do as they are being told
either by the task or by the boss —

TO knowledge workers
who have to manage themselves

profoundly challenges social structure


Managing Oneself (PDF) is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” …

“It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities:
Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life),

and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context



More than anything else,

the individual
has to take more responsibility
for himself or herself,
rather than depend on the company.”


“Making a living is no longer enough
‘Work’ has to make a life .” continue

finding and selecting the pieces of the puzzle


The Second Curve




These pages are attention directing tools for navigating a world moving relentlessly toward unimagined futures.



What’s the next effective action on the road ahead


It’s up to you to figure out what to harvest and calendarize
working something out in time (1915, 1940, 1970 … 2040 … the outer limit of your concern)nobody is going to do it for you.

It may be a step forward to actively reject something (rather than just passively ignoring) and then working out a plan for coping with what you’ve rejected.

Your future is between your ears and our future is between our collective ears — it can’t be otherwise.

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