Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono (born 19 May 1933) is a Maltese physician, psychologist, philosopher, author, inventor and consultant. He originated the term lateral thinking, wrote the book Six Thinking Hats and is a proponent of the teaching of thinking as a subject in schools.
Edward Charles Francis Publius de Bono was born in Malta on 19 May 1933. Educated at St. Edward's College, Malta he then gained a medical degree from the University of Malta. Following this, he proceeded as a Rhodes Scholar to Christ Church, Oxford, where he gained an MA in psychology and physiology. He represented Oxford in polo and set two canoeing records. He also has a PhD degree in medicine from Trinity College, Cambridge, an honorary DDes (Doctor of Design) from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, and an honorary LLD from the University of Dundee.
De Bono has held faculty appointments at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Harvard. He is a professor at Malta, Pretoria, Central England and Dublin City University. De Bono holds the Da Vinci Professor of Thinking chair at University of Advancing Technology in Tempe, Arizona, US. He was one of the 27 Ambassadors for the European Year of Creativity and Innovation 2009.
De Bono has written 57 books with translations into 34 languages. He has taught his thinking methods to government agencies, corporate clients, organizations and individuals, privately or publicly in group sessions. He promoted the World Center for New Thinking(2004-2011), based in Malta, which applied Thinking Tools to solution and policy design on the geo-political level.
In 1976 de Bono took part in a radio debate for the BBC with British philosopher A.J. Ayer, on the subject of effective democracy.
In 1995, he created the futuristic documentary film, 2040: Possibilities by Edward de Bono, depicting a lecture to an audience of viewers released from a cryogenic freeze for contemporary society in the year 2040.
In 2005 he was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Economics.
Schools from over 20 countries have included de Bono's thinking tools into their curriculum, and he has advised and lectured at board level at many of the world's leading corporations.
Convinced that a key way forward for humanity is better language, he published The Edward de Bono Code Book in 2000. In this book, he proposed a suite of new words based on numbers, where each number combination represents a useful idea or situation that currently does not have a single-word representation. For example, de Bono code 6/2 means "Give me my point of view and I will give you your point of view." Such a code might be used in situations where one or both of two parties in a dispute are making insufficient effort to understand the other's perspective.
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In 2000, de Bono advised a UK Foreign Office committee that the Arab-Israeli conflict might be due, in part, to low levels of zinc found in people who eat unleavened bread (e.g. pita flatbread). De Bono argues that low zinc levels leads to heightened aggression. He suggested shipping out jars of Marmite to compensate.
Edward de Bono argued that companies could raise money just as governments now do - by printing it. He put forward the idea of private currency as a claim on products or services produced by the issuer. So IBM might issue "IBM Dollars" - theoretically redeemable for IBM equipment, but also practically tradable for other vouchers or cash. To make such a scheme work, IBM would have to learn to manage the supply of money to ensure that--with too many vouchers chasing too few goods--inflation does not destroy the value of their creations. But companies should be able to manage that trick at least as easily as governments do, particularly as they don't have voters to cope with.
The following two published critiques of de Bono's work emphasize the lack of evidence to support his proposals.
Equally damaging to the scientific study of creativity, in our view, has been the takeover of the field, in the popular mind, by those who follow what might be referred to as a pragmatic approach. Those taking this approach have been concerned primarily with developing creativity, secondarily with understanding it, but almost not at all with testing the validity of their ideas about it. [...] Perhaps the foremost proponent of this approach is Edward De Bono, whose work on lateral thinking and other aspects of creativity has had what appears to be considerable commercial success.
[he] is more interested in the usefulness of developing ideas than proving the reliability or efficacy of his approach. There is sparse research evidence to show that generalised improvements in thinking performance can be attributed to training in the use of CoRT [Cognitive Research Trust] or Thinking Hats tools. An early evaluation of CoRT reported significant benefits for Special Educational Needs (SEN) pupils.... However, in a more recent study with Australian aboriginal children (Ritchie and Edwards, 1996), little evidence of generalisation was found other than in the area of creative thinking.
The views of de Bono on language have been challenged by some philologists (Marco Ferri, 1994) who regard his view of language as the biggest barrier to human progress as superficial. Ferri argues that a lack of human critical judgement should be held responsible for the transmission of out-of-date ideas.
Summarising de Bono's 1985 work in Conflicts: A Better Way to Resolve them, M. Afzalur Rahim states: "De Bono's approach to total elimination of conflict is no different from the approaches of the classicists. This approach to dealing with conflict is completely out of tune with modern thinking and, therefore, unsatisfactory."
A partial list of books by de Bono includes:
Dr Edward de Bono, lateral thinker, 78
De Bono's approach to total elimination of conflict is no different from the approaches of the classicists. This approach to dealing with conflict is completely out of tune with modern thinking and, therefore, unsatisfactory.
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