On Six Thinking Hats

I recently finished reading Six Thinking Hats by Edward De Bono.

The main premise of the book as summarized by the author is: “Thinking is the ultimate human resource…The main difficulty of thinking is confusion. We try to do too much at once…What I am putting forward in this book is a very simple concept which allows a thinker to do one thing at a time…The six thinking hats allows us to conduct our thinking as a conductor  might lead an orchestra. We can call forth what we will…It is the sheer convenience of the six thinking hats that is the main value of the concept.” Another core concept associated with the thinking hats is that of deliberate thinking which the switching of the hat signals. This type of thinking becomes clear with the following example from Edward: “When you are driving a car, you have to choose roads and follow roads and keep out of the way of other traffic…you are looking for signals and reacting to them. This is reactive thinking…You read signposts and make decisions. But you do not make the map. The other type of thinking has to do with mapmaking. You explore the subject and make the map. You make the map in an objective and neutral fashion. To do this you must look broadly.” The book then goes on to details the mechanism of using the six hats: “You choose which of the six hats to put on at any one moment. You put on that hat and then play the role defined by that hat…When you change thinking hats you have to change roles. Each role should be distinct…Thinking now begins to flow from the acted parts and not from your ego. That is how maps are made. Then, in the end, the ego can choose a preferred route.” These hats have the following purposes: ” The first value of the six thinking hats is that of defined role-playing…The second value is that of attention directing…The third value is that of convenience…The forth value is the possible basis in brain chemistry…The fifth value arises from establishing the rules of the game.” The hat colors have been chosen in a way that makes their corresponding function easier to recall. They are defined as follows: ” 1- White Hat: White is neutral and objective. The white hat is concerned with objective facts and figures…virgin white, pure facts, figures and information. 2- Red Hat: Red suggests anger (seeing red), rage and emotions. The red fives the emotional view….seeing red, emotions and feelings, also hunch and intuition. 3- Black Hat: Black is gloomy and negative. The black hat covers the negative aspects – why it cannot be done…devil’s advocate, negative judgement, why it will not work. 4- Yellow Hat: Yellow is sunny and positive. The yellow hat is optimistic and covers hope and positive thinking…sunshine, brightness and optimism, positive, constructive, opportunity. 5- Green Hat: Green is grass, vegetation and abundant, fertile growth. The green hat indicates creativity and new ideas…fertile, creative, plants springing from seeds, movement, provocation. 6- Blue Hat: Blue is cool, and it is also the color of the sky, which is above everything else. The blue hat is concerned with control and the organization of the thinking process. Also the use of the other hats…cool and control, orchestra conductor, thinking about thinking.”

This book offer a very creative, practical and applicable method of tackling any problem – and through its use achieve more effective outcomes and solutions. A recommended read!


Omar Halabieh

Six Thinking Hats

Six Thinking Hats



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