Six Thinking Hats Book Cover

Six Thinking Hats

Publishing Year: 1985
Reading time: Key takeways: Quotes:

What’s inside

“The Six Thinking Hats” by Edward de Bono gives us an insight into our thought process. It helps us understand how to clear-up our messy minds. The book is important for every individual, but particularly so for the ones who work in teams. It is useful for us at a personal level too, as it teaches us how to have difficult conversations in a simple way. We also learn how to take tough decisions in the shortest of time, and with minimal efforts.

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Lesson 1. Introduction.

In The Six Thinking Hats Edward de Bono dives right into the basic psychology of humans. How we make use of our thinking faculties is still a mystery to most of us. We imagine ‘thinking’ as a random process, and never try to really study it. Today, we will!

The book gives us insights about the natural perspectives that we all hold, unknown to ourselves. It’ll help us be more matured in discussions, be it personal or professional. It’ll give us a wider sense of the conversations we participate in. We’ll be able to understand others better, and avoid heated arguments.

The author presents us with a simple idea to understand this. It is as simple as wearing a hat! That’s all we have to do. But first, let’s understand what these “hats” are, and how to wear them. We will also learn when and where to use which hat. These hats will solve most of our problems in life in mere minutes.

So what are we waiting for then? Let’s get to it!

Lesson 2. Problem with Conversations.

We, as humans, tend to be biased in our discussions. We have a point-of-view on a matter, and are reluctant to change it. This is why we are pulled into unnecessary arguments all the time. Arguments are a waste of time and energy, and we must learn to avoid them altogether.

More often than not, this becomes a major problem. It results in poor professional performance and unhealthy relationships. There’s no end to the harm that bad conversations can cause, intentionally or otherwise.

The different parts of our brain are like completely different people. One part is really emotional and sensitive to others’ feelings. While another part is void of any feelings, and thinks based only on facts. Some parts are really shy to come out, while another is excited to present its ideas. This causes chaos. One must learn to control the behavior of their brain. We must command the different personalities hidden inside, and not let them command us.

The idea is to observe a single problem from multiple perspectives. It is just like viewing an object from different angles. You have to change your position with every hat, and see only from that angle. It’ll make all the things simple to process. Think of a cube that is colored differently on each face. Now, what color is the cube? If you try to answer it, you’ll get confused. Now, if someone asks what color is side 1 of the cube? You immediately answer, “red!” because

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  1. Structured Thinking: The Six Thinking Hats method provides a structured way to think about problems and make decisions. It helps in organizing thought processes in a more comprehensive and effective manner.
  2. Parallel Thinking: The concept of parallel thinking is central to the Six Thinking Hats method. It encourages people in a group to think in the same direction at the same time, rather than having confrontational arguments. This leads to more harmonious and productive discussions.
  3. Multiple Perspectives: The method emphasizes the importance of looking at a problem from different perspectives. Each hat represents a different style of thinking, which allows a more rounded view of a situation.
  4. Emotional Intelligence: The Red Hat acknowledges the importance of emotions and intuition in decision-making. It legitimizes the expression of feelings and gut reactions as part of the thinking process.
  5. Creativity and Innovation: The Green Hat focuses on creativity, encouraging the generation of new ideas, alternative solutions, and innovative approaches. It fosters a mindset of looking beyond the obvious and conventional.
  6. Positive and Negative Analysis: The Yellow and Black Hats work together to balance optimism and critical judgment. The Yellow Hat helps in identifying the value and benefits, while the Black Hat is used to analyze the risks and problems.
  7. Information Management: The White Hat focuses on the available data, facts, and information needed for decision-making. It emphasizes the need for objective analysis and helps in identifying gaps in knowledge.
  8. Process Control: The Blue Hat is about managing the thinking process. It guides the use of the other hats and ensures that the rules of the Six Thinking Hats method are followed.
  9. Improved Communication and Collaboration: By using the Six Thinking Hats, groups can communicate more effectively. It reduces conflicts as individuals consider problems from multiple angles rather than defending a single point of view.
  10. Efficiency in Problem-Solving: This method streamlines the thinking process, making meetings and discussions more efficient. It helps in quickly generating a variety of perspectives and reaching well-rounded solutions.

  • "When thinking is clear and simple, it becomes more enjoyable and more effective." This quote emphasizes the power of focused and organized thought in achieving results.
  • "The only way to exert your ego with Six Hats is to be a good thinker." de Bono reminds us that true mastery lies in the ability to think effectively, not in boasting intellectual prowess.

  • "Thinking is the ultimate human resource." This quote highlights the potential of thought to solve problems, innovate, and drive progress.
  • "There is no reason at all for supposing that the first answer has to be the best one." Encouraging us to explore various options, de Bono emphasizes the value of deferred judgment in creative thinking.
  • "We may have a perfectly adequate way of doing something, but that does not mean there cannot be a better way." This quote encourages continuous improvement and challenges complacency in our thinking patterns.

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About the author

Edward de Bono Image

Edward de Bono invented the concept of lateral thinking. A world-renowned writer and philosopher, he was the leading authority in the field of creative thinking and the direct teaching of thinking as a skill. Throughout his life, Dr de Bono wrote more than ...

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Six Thinking Hats Book Cover
Chapter List
  • Lesson 1. Introduction.
  • Lesson 2. Problem with Conversations.
  • Lesson 3. What are Thinking Hats?
  • Lesson 4. The Clean White.
  • Lesson 5. The Honest Red.
  • Lesson 6. The Sceptical Black.
  • Lesson 7. The Optimist Yellow.
  • Lesson 8. The Fresh Green.
  • Lesson 9. The Overseeing Blue.
  • Lesson 10. The Effectiveness of Hats.
  • Lesson 11. Conclusion.
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In the summary of Six Thinking Hats book, there are 11 key lessons. These lessons include:

  1. Lesson 1. Introduction.
  2. Lesson 2. Problem with Conversations.
  3. Lesson 3. What are Thinking Hats?
  4. Lesson 4. The Clean White.
  5. Lesson 5. The Honest Red.
  6. Lesson 6. The Sceptical Black.
  7. Lesson 7. The Optimist Yellow.
  8. Lesson 8. The Fresh Green.
  9. Lesson 9. The Overseeing Blue.
  10. Lesson 10. The Effectiveness of Hats.
  11. Lesson 11. Conclusion.

Six Thinking Hats by Edward de Bono was published in 1985.

Once you've completed Six Thinking Hats book, We suggest reading out The Power of Paradox as a great follow-up read.

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In the printed version of Six Thinking Hats book have over 300 pages and usually takes 8-10 days to finish. However, with the Wizdom app, including its summary and audiobook, it can be completed in just 15 minutes.

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