Edward De Bono biography, quotes and books

Edward de Bono - Toolshero

Edward De Bono (1933 – 2021) was a physician, writer, inventor and consultant. Edward De Bono was the originator of the term lateral thinking and had developed the famous decision making methods like the Six Thinking Hats, Parallel Thinking, Lateral Thinking and Linear Thinking. This article covers his biography, quotes and publications.

The biography of Edward De Bono

Edward De Bono was born into a Maltese aristocratic family. His father was a renowned physician and his mother was an intellectual journalist, He studied at St. Edward’s College in Malta and, nicknamed ‘genius’, he graduated at the age of 15. Edward De Bono then obtained a medical degree from the University of Malta.

He was a Rhodes Scholar at Christ Church, Oxford where he obtained a Master’s Degree in psychology and physiology. He also holds a Ph.D. degree and a D. Phil degree in medicine from Trinity College, Cambridge a D. Des degree (Doctor of Design) of the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), and an LL.D. degree from the University of Dundee.

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He was a member of the Medical Research Society and the exclusive Athenaeum Club. Edward De Bono had held faculty positions at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Harvard. He was professor at Malta, Pretoria, Central England and Dublin City University. Edward De Bono had a Da Vinci Professor of Thinking Chair at the University of Advancing Technology in Phoenix in the USA.

He was one of the 27 ambassadors for the European Year of Creativity and Innovations 2009. He was nominated for the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2005. Edward De Bono established the Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT). He has written 82 books that have been translated into 41 languages.

In 1995, he created the futuristic documentary film ’2040- Possibilities by Edward De Bono’, a lecture designed to prepare an audience of viewers released from a cryogenic freeze for contemporary society (2040).

Edward De Bono had a range of ‘deliberate thinking techniques’– that emphasizes thinking as a deliberate act. Some famous theories and techniques are the Six Thinking Hats, Parallel Thinking, Lateral Thinking and Linear Thinking. Edward De Bono’s techniques are still used in organizations such as IBM and Dupont.

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Famous quotes

  1. “Humour is by far the most significant activity of the human brain.”
  2. “Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.”
  3. “Logic will never change emotion or perception.”
  4. “Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.”
  5. “A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.”
  6. “Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way the car is driven.”
  7. “If you wait for opportunities to occur, you will be one of the crowd.”
  8. “The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas.”
  9. “Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.”
  10. “We need creativity in order to break free from the temporary structures that have been set up by a particular sequence of experience.”
  11. “Creative thinking is not a talent, it is a skill that can be learned. It empowers people by adding strength to their natural abilities which improves teamwork, productivity and, where appropriate, profits.”
  12. “Intelligence is something we are born with. Thinking is a skill that must be learned.”
  13. “The quality of our thinking will determine the quality of our future.”

Books and Publications by Edward de Bono et al.

  • 2016, 1999. Six Thinking Hats. Back Bay Books.
  • 2016, 1992. I Am Right You Are Wrong. Penguin Books.
  • 2016, 2009. How to be More Interesting. Penguin Books Ltd
  • 2016. Bonting: Thinking to Create Value. Kite Group Ltd.
  • 2016. The Happiness Purpose. Ebury Digital.
  • 2016. Parallel Thinking. Ebury Digital.
  • 2015, 1994. Teach Your Child How to Think. Penguin Books.
  • 2015, 1990. Teach Yourself To Think. Penguin Books Ltd.
  • 2015. 1976. Mechanism of Mind. Penguin Books.
  • 2015. Simplicity. Penguin Books Ltd.
  • 2013, 1993. Serious Creativity: Using the Power of Lateral Thinking to Create New Ideas. Harperbusiness.
  • 2010. Think!: Before It’s Too Late. Random House UK.
  • 2009. Lateral Thinking: A Textbook of Creativity. Epenguin.
  • 2008. Creativity Workout: 62 Exercises to Unlock Your Most Creative Ideas. Ulysses Press.
  • 2005. The Six Value Medals: The Essential Tool for Success in the 21st Century. Ebury Press.
  • 2004. How to Have a Beautiful Mind. Ebury Press.
  • 1996. Textbook of Wisdom. Penguin Putnam~childrens Hc.
  • 1995. Sur / Petition – Going Beyond Competition. Harpercollins Publishers Ltd.
  • 1992. Teaching Thinking. Penguin Books.
  • 1992. Opportunities: A Handbook of Business Opportunity Search. Penguin Books.
  • 1992. The Happiness Purpose. Penguin Books.
  • 1991. Six Action Shoes. Longman Higher Education.
  • 1990. Po: Beyond Yes and No. Intl Center for Creative Thinking.
  • 1981. Atlas of Management Thinking. Gower Publishing Ltd.
  • 1967. The Use of Lateral Thinking, introduced the term “lateral thinking”. Intl Center for Creative Thinking (June 1967).

How to cite this article:
Van Vliet, V. (2011). Edward de Bono. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/toolsheroes/edward-de-bono/

Original publication date: 05/12/2014 | Last update: 06/05/2024

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Vincent van Vliet
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Vincent van Vliet

Vincent van Vliet is co-founder and responsible for the content and release management. Together with the team Vincent sets the strategy and manages the content planning, go-to-market, customer experience and corporate development aspects of the company.


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