Six Thinking Hats Book Summary - Six Thinking Hats Book explained in key points
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Six Thinking Hats summary

Edward de Bono

A revolutionary approach to get the most out of working in a group

4.5 (249 ratings)
20 mins

Brief summary

Edward de Bono's Six Thinking Hats offers a thinking method that helps individuals approach problems with different perspectives. This technique encourages creativity, clarity, and better decision-making through the use of six distinct hats.

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    Six Thinking Hats
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    The six hats are tools that help us to conceive new ideas and improve thinking.

    What’s the main obstacle in the way of thinking clearly? The answer: confusion.

    When we process information, we confront a number of varying thoughts simultaneously: ones that are emotional, informational, logical, creative and future-oriented. Trying to process them all at once is like trying to juggle too many balls.

    The solution? The Six Hats method.

    In this method, each “hat” has its own, easy-to-remember color – white, red, black, yellow, green, or blue – that represents a certain type of thinking.

    Here’s how it can come in handy.

    Let’s say you’re a manager and you want to know your team’s emotional reaction to something. But you know they won’t show their true emotions directly: people are afraid to be judged because of their emotions and would rather avoid the subject.

    However, since everyone on the team knows that the red hat represents emotional thoughts, you could instead say “Let’s try the red hat on” and the neutrality of the color allows the team to think emotionally without feeling embarrassed.

    That’s why, in practice, the hats are only referred to by color, never by function.

    Furthermore, the Six Hats method ensures that the entire group is thinking the same way.

    Imagine you’re at a gathering at a large house: one person is standing in the front yard, another in the back yard, another on the roof, another in the dining room, and one on either side. Each person has a different view of the house: from the side it appears very long, while from the front it seems quite short.

    Now, think about each perspective as a different hat. If you want to view a topic from the same vantage point, you’ll all need to be wearing the same hat.

    The six hats, therefore, enable your team in order to engage in parallel thinking, in which everyone views the problem from the same perspective.

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    What is Six Thinking Hats about?

    Six Thinking Hats offers you valuable tools for group discussions and individual decision making. The book shows ways to compartmentalize different ways of thinking to help you and your group use your brains in a more detailed, cohesive and effective way.

    Six Thinking Hats Review

    Six Thinking Hats (1985) by Edward de Bono is a thought-provoking book that introduces a practical and structured approach to problem-solving and decision-making. Here's why this book is definitely worth reading:

    • Packed with innovative techniques and strategies, it equips readers with a powerful framework for improving thinking, collaboration, and creativity.
    • Applicable to various areas of life and work, the book offers versatile tools that can be utilized by individuals, teams, and organizations to enhance their problem-solving capabilities.
    • With its engaging and accessible writing style, it presents complex concepts in a clear and concise manner, ensuring that readers stay captivated throughout the journey.

    Best quote from Six Thinking Hats

    Just the facts please – without the argument.

    —Edward de Bono
    example alt text

    Who should read Six Thinking Hats?

    • Anyone in a position of leadership
    • Anyone responsible for facilitating effective communication
    • Anyone who wants to make better decisions and improve their thinking

    About the Author

    Edward de Bono was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and has held faculty appointments at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, London and Harvard. In addition to his academic career, he has offered consultation to many multinationals, including IBM, Procter & Gamble, Shell and Ford. His bestselling books include Lateral Thinking, De Bono’s Thinking Course and Teach Your Child How to Think.

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    Six Thinking Hats FAQs 

    What is the main message of Six Thinking Hats?

    The main message of Six Thinking Hats is that using different thinking styles can help us make smarter decisions and improve our problem-solving skills.

    How long does it take to read Six Thinking Hats?

    The reading time for Six Thinking Hats varies depending on the reader's speed. However, the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Six Thinking Hats a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Six Thinking Hats is definitely worth reading. It provides practical techniques to enhance creativity and foster more effective collaborative thinking.

    Who is the author of Six Thinking Hats?

    Edward de Bono is the author of Six Thinking Hats.

    What to read after Six Thinking Hats?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Six Thinking Hats, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Five Elements of Effective Thinking by Edward B. Burger and Michael Starbird
    • Lateral Thinking by Edward de Bono
    • Bulletproof Problem Solving by Charles Conn and Robert McLean
    • The Art Of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli
    • The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker
    • The Creative Thinking Handbook by Chris Griffiths & Melina Costi
    • How to Think More Effectively by The School of Life
    • Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson
    • Problem Solving 101 by Ken Watanabe
    • Tools of Titans by Tim Ferriss