Six Thinking Hats

“Six Thinking Hats” by Edward De Bono


First off, I really enjoyed this book. It is a short read, and I’ve already applied its methods to discuss issues with my wife about how we plan to handle the newest addition to our family — baby Madelyn!

The Six Hats method helps you isolate the ways you or a group of people think about a problem or idea. Its primary value is its ability to isolate “kinds of thoughts” through the analogy of “wearing different hats”

Each hat represents a different way of thinking:

When considering a problem or thought, an individual or group can “wear” one of the hats or wear sequences of hats in parallel. But, there are some important rules which govern how the hats should be used:

As the hats are being worn, the objective is to “plot” thoughts and ideas onto a metaphorical map. When filled, the map should contain all the facts, pros, cons, risks, benefits, opportunities, etc. that exist for the problem, thought, or idea. The book summarizes it like this…

After all, when we make decisions on our own, we go through more or less the same process (pros, cons, feelings, facts)… So what was hitherto carried out in an individual’s mind is now done systematically and in the open.

Also, as a reference for myself and others, here are some of the prompts used by the book to demonstrate how the method could be used in practice: