S I X T H I N K I N G H A T S
I N T R O D U C T I O N
"Edward de Bono has spent much of his life trying to teach people how to think."
When I first heard de Bono's work described this way, I thought it was incredibly arrogant. Who does this de Bono character think he is, presuming to tell me that I don't think clearly? If he's some genius, isn't it rude to assert that?
I did some research. And it turns out that, while he may not be the world's most gifted thinker, de Bono is right to say that most people can learn to think better. In many cases, this means learning new styles of thinking. And that is something from which all of us--myself included--can benefit.
For example, it was de Bono who popularized the concept of "lateral thinking," in which problems are not solved head-on but approached from novel angles. Such an approach doesn't make us smarter; it simply makes more efficient use of whatever intelligence we have.
And so it is for another of de Bono's concepts: the notion of six different "thinking hats." According to de Bono, there are six distinct styles of thinking. While most of us tend to prefer one or two styles, de Bono makes the case that problems can be solved most readily by applying all six styles.
THE SIX HATS DESCRIBED
In de Bono's scheme, each of us owns six imaginary hats of different colors. Each hat represents a different style of thinking, which can be referred to by observing that one is "putting on" a hat of a particular color.
These colors are:
THREE GROUPS OF OPPOSITES
THE SIX HATS IN DETAIL
Each of the six hats has its own distinct kind of reasoning associated with it. To learn more about a particular kind of thinking, click on the hat or its name.
De Bono, Edward -- Six Thinking Hats, Little, Brown, 1985. The origin of the "division into six" by de Bono. Although directed at white-collar business professionals, rational persons will find in this book plenty of suggestions that can improve their creative thinking and decision-making.
Edward de Bono's "Six Thinking Hats" another discussion of the Six Thinking Hats.
The Thinking Page a site dedicated to helping individuals and organizations think better.
Problem Solving Techniques a fascinating compilation of problem-solving techniques and concepts.
Discussions of Lateral Thinking a link to the de Bono/Lateral Thinking list server.