Book Recco: Edward de Bono’s Masterthinkers Handbook

I have three Edward de Bono books – Masterthinkers Handbook, Tactics and Lateral Thinking. While the last of these is his most famous work, the first is the only one that I have read a substantial part of. I’ve read bits of the others, but completed none. None of these are self help books – more like guidelines for developing structured ways of thinking, analysis and ideation. Textbooks, maybe.

I read Masterthinkers Handbook almost eight years ago, and the structures and the ethics of objective analysis that de Bono has discussed, have contributed to my thinking process. I just came across a passage from that book, here. Some excerpts (which I don’t remember reading, but agree with):

– A masterthinker admits an error at once since his or her concern is for objective thinking. The fear of making a mistake keeps some intelligent people from putting forward speculative or creative ideas because these might turn out to be wrong. Such people do not like taking risks with their thinking. Taking risks is at times a necessary part of thinking.
– Perhaps the biggest danger is that many highly intelligent people (especially when young) tend to be very arrogant about their thinking. This is unfortunate since there are no grounds for arrogance about thinking at any time.

Now I shall go and read Tactics

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  1. I have one of his books and managed to read a few chapters and then got bored and tossed it over to my sister, who hasn’t even opened it.

    Several years later…

    Sister still hasn’t read it, don’t really know if she’s opened it.

    Conclusion: Bono as a writer is not entertaining enough, though he is one helluva thinker. I think living in places like Cyprus aids contemplation and profound thing.

    Happy New Year!!!

  2. Perhaps too didactic? Almost instructive, yes. If you’re talking about ‘The Six Thinking Hats’ or ‘how to have a beautiful mind’ – I haven’t recco’ed those. Cant read stuff like that.

  3. Self-help books such as De Bono’s are strangely popular in India. One can rarely find such spiritual-sounding titles on the bookshelves in the UK (where we excel in dieting, fashion, cooking and such self-help books – to each his own poverty, eh?).

    More often than not such self-professed ‘gurus’ are regurgitating the philosophy of some or the other organised wisdom movement. Did you know Stephen Covey’s philosophy is all Mormon?

    As for those specific comments you mention here –

    What about the master doer?

    Academics, oh and consultants, who make careers and money out of trying to be seen as ‘master thinkers’ rarely admit mistakes! It has less to do with individual integrity than with the environment which encourages, rewards or punishes such intellectual honesty..

    The second one distinctly sounds like a grumpy old person complaining about young people. Truly intelligent people, esp at a young age, become so by continually refining what they know and absorbing like sponges from their surroundings/ books/ people/ whatever. I have known several and most of them instead suffered from insecurity that comes from knowing that while one knows a lot, and can think through much, one really does not know everything.

    Think about it: how many truly intelligent people do you know, who are arrogant?

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