Edward de Bono, the academic and doctor who developed global fame for his thinking methods, died on Wednesday. He was 88.
Born in 1933 and educated at St Edward’s College, de Bono graduated as a doctor from the University of Malta before studying physiology and psychology at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar and a Phd at Cambridge.
De Bono, who held faculty appointments at Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard universities and served as professor at many others, was an authority on creative thinking with an interest in the mind and its method of organising information.
De Bono’s more than 85 books were translated into 46 languages, and his Six Thinking Hats method was taught across continents. A term he originated, lateral thinking, now forms part of the Oxford English Dictionary.
Edward de Bono on Creative Thinking
Edward De Bono’s revolution began in 1967 with his book The Use of Lateral Thinking:
Imagine that a money lender claims a merchant’s daughter in lieu of her father’s debt. The merchant and daughter concoct a compromise. The money lender will put a black stone in one bag and in the other, a white. If the daughter chooses the black stone, she will be doomed to marry the money lender and the debt cancelled; if the white she will stay with her father and the debt be cancelled. But as the trio stand on a pebble-strewn path, she notices the money lender putting a black stone in each bag. What should she do to avoid a nightmarish fate?De Bono, E., (1971), The Use of Lateral Thinking
This is where lateral thinking – ie, employing unorthodox means to solve a problem – comes in. De Bono suggested the daughter should pick either bag, but fumble and drop her stone on to the path. “Since the remaining pebble is of course black, it must be assumed she picked the white pebble, since the money lender dare not admit his dishonesty.”
“Edward de Bono lived an extraordinary life, inspiring, encouraging and enabling us to be better and more creative thinkers,” said a post on his website that announced his death.