‘We have to stop bothering about who is right and who is wrong, and ask instead, what will make a difference.’
Edward de Bono was born in May, 1933, and died in June, 2021. The man who coined the concept of lateral thinking and showed the world how to do it, was a prodigy. He went to University at 15 and qualified as a doctor at 21. A year later he went as a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford and by the time his first book, The Use of Lateral Thinking, was published in 1967, he was Assistant Director of Research in the Department of Investigative Medicine at the University of Cambridge. Education and Business picked up his methodology through Six Thinking Hats in 1985. It is now his most popular book worldwide. Today, a global network going by the name of ‘de Bono Thinking Systems’ links over 300 certified trainers in 72 countries through 22 affiliate authorised distributors on six continents.
Piers Dudgeon had the good fortune to come to know him well, first in the late 1960s and '70s as a reader of his books, then from the early 1980s as his publisher and friend and, finally, as his biographer. Lateral thinkers, he discovered, are more than a bit like Edward. They have the ability to be thoughtful and provocative at the same time. They tend to be detached and self-possessed and like making things happen. They are naturally curious and inventive. They never accept that there is only one way a thing can be. They enjoy especially the punch line in humour and above all the ‘Eureka!’ moment of insight. But unlike de Bono, they are not all born to it. Nor, thanks to his thinking tools, is there any need to be.
De Bono's first book, which introduced lateral thinking to the world, was in tune with the liberating ethos of the late 1960s. He was a free thinker at a time when we all wanted to be just that. Today, when the thought police are out in force, he will be especially missed.
'An inspiring man with brilliant ideas. De Bono never ceases to amaze with his clarity of thought.' Richard Branson