Book Review: Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono (3/5)

19 Jul

OK, I have to start off by saying that I’m so excited to have a book review to write! But I’m so out of habit that I forgot to write it ahead of time like I normally do so I’m squeezing this in the night before. It’s kind of nice to be back. This was a book that came up in another book and made me think, “That sounds like an interesting thing to read.” I knew it would be a while and I knew it would be a slow read and I’m thankful to have finally finished this one.


Cover image via Amazon

Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono

Summary from Amazon:

The first practical explanation of how creativity works, this results-oriented bestseller trains listeners to move beyond a “vertical” mode of thought to tap the potential of lateral thinking.

I found parts of this book to be more useful than others. Some of it is written for teachers, who can teach lateral thinking to their students. That wasn’t as helpful but there were parts for practical application that were still useful. I did feel like the book was stretched a little thin in places. There were some concepts that I didn’t feel merited their own chapter or as long of an explanation as they got. There are useful techniques to the lateral thinking method, but some of them don’t need six examples. I think I could have dealt with ‘Lateral Thinking Light’ and got the same amount of information from it.

De Bono stresses not judging peoples ideas for ‘not working’ before talking about them. You have to trust that there’s a reason the person suggested the idea and while what they suggested might not be workable, the reasoning they have behind it might lead you to a new answer. I like this concept and I think it’s something I can use in work. He also stresses not stopping the search for an answer when something that works comes up; you have to keep digging. His suggestion was setting a number of ideas you’ll come up with before moving to the next phase so that you keep looking beyond the first good idea. I really liked this concept.

The chapter on po was way too long for me and I felt like it could have been cut. Po is a new word de Bono uses to replace ‘no’ but to have a similar impact of saying ‘that probably won’t work but I’ll withhold judgement and we’ll talk about this later.’ I don’t feel a new word was needed for this and I don’t feel it merited the longest chapter in the book and all the examples and slightly different uses it got.

de Bono

Edward de Bono Image via Wikipedia

De Bono believes anyone can be creative and come up with new an innovative ideas. His process is similar to a design thinking approach, looking at the problem and breaking it down into solvable chunks, focusing on what needs to be delivered. I thought this was a useful book for me to read since I was recently hired to a team that’s new and developing a lot of processes. We’re going to have to be creative in how we approach our work and what we do now will need to be re-evaluated again in a year to see if changes are needed.

Writer’s Takeaway: De Bono does well to give concrete examples in a book about creativity. I think that as a teacher, I would have found this book helpful if I wanted to teach students about lateral thinking techniques and how they can be more creative and find new solutions to problems. He has some more dated references that could be updated with technology (there was clearly no internet when de Bono penned this), but the suggestions and techniques are pretty universal. I think this is a text that will stand the test of time.

While I found this useful and helpful, it was still a bit dry and didn’t grab my attention. Three out of Five Stars.

Until next time, write on.

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Related Posts:
Edward de Bono “Lateral Thinking” – how to make your life more creative | THAT IS EVIL
Creativity Tip – Lateral Thinking | The Writaholic’s Blog


5 Responses to “Book Review: Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono (3/5)”

  1. JdV July 19, 2021 at 12:12 PM #

    Well done for finishing this. We did some work on de Bono’s ideas a few years but I never got around to reading what he actually wrote. It was interesting to read your thoughts on this.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sam July 19, 2021 at 1:15 PM #

      Thanks! Some good information to be sure, just a bit dated and over explained. Happy reading!


  2. nickimags @ Secret Library Book Blog July 21, 2021 at 6:03 AM #

    Yay you finished it fab review!


    • Sam July 21, 2021 at 7:01 AM #

      Thank you! I found this useful if long winded. Happy reading!

      Liked by 1 person


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