The one-sentence summary
Our current way of thinking is not good enough – perceptual and exploratory thinking are more powerful than critical thinking.
- Our current way of thinking is not good enough, and here’s what we can do about it.
- While our methods are excellent when applied to science and technology, when we attempt to tackle more human issues like climate change and war, we make no progress at all.
- PO stands for Provocative Operation, and can also be linked to possible, hypothesis, pose, potential etc. Interjected into conversations, PO has the power to push thinking along faster and more productively.
- Operacy is as important as literacy and numeracy. It’s the skill of operating or getting things done, but schools only concentrate on the first two.
- There are many types of important thinking:
- Perceptual thinking is more powerful than logic in changing behaviour
- Exploratory thinking is more likely to achieve progress than argument
- Critical thinking, as espoused by the Greek Gang of 3 (Socrates, Plato and Aristotle), is excellent but not enough. It is fine for destroying ideas but not for creating new ideas in the first place.
WHAT’S GOOD ABOUT IT
- He argues that those who claim that the term ‘problem-solving’ covers everything suggest that ‘anything you want to do’ forms a problem, which includes any mental activity. This is misleading and dangerous because it excludes all other forms of thinking.
- The Septine is a new concept in which you write down seven different thoughts about a situation. There is no logical sequence and it is not analysis. They are merely scattered elements that could lead to better thoughts.
- In business there is an obvious need for new thinking, because in business you can argue till you are blue in the face that you are right, and still go bankrupt a month later.
- A ‘proto-truth’ describes something we hold to be true, providing we are trying to change it. This can be more creatively fruitful than the belief that we already have the true answer.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO WATCH
- As with many de Bono books, he reworks many of his old techniques, so you may have seen some of them before.