Edward de Bono Quotes (36 Quotes)



    Dealing with complexity is an inefficient and unnecessary waste of time, attention and mental energy. There is never any justification for things being complex when they could be simple.

    In a sense, words are encyclopedias of ignorance because they freeze perceptions at one moment in history and then insist we continue to use these frozen perceptions when we should be doing better.

    Some people drift along like a cork on a river, feeling that they cannot do anything except drift, moment to moment. This is an attitude of mind. Everyone can be constructive even in tiny ways.

    An expert is someone who has succeeded in making decisions and judgements simpler through knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.


    Unhappiness is best defined as the difference between our talents and our expectations.

    In the future, instead of striving to be right at a high cost, it will be more appropriate to be flexible and plural at a lower cost. If you cannot accurately predict the future then you must flexibly be prepared to deal with various possible futures.

    One very important aspect of motivation is the willingness to stop and to look at things that no one else has bothered to look at. This simple process of focusing on things that are normally taken for granted is a powerful source of creativity.


    We may need to solve problems not by removing the cause but by designing the way forward even if the cause remains in place.

    Once a new idea springs into existence, it cannot be unthought. There is a sense of immortality in a new idea.

    We need creativity in order to break free from the temporary structures that have been set up by a particular sequence of experience.

    Opportunity ideas do not lie around waiting to be discovered. Such ideas need to be produced.

    Effectiveness without values is a tool without a purpose.

    Many highly intelligent people are poor thinkers. Many people of average intelligence are skilled thinkers. The power of a car is separate from the way the car is driven.

    Sometimes the situation is only a problem because it is looked at in a certain way. Looked at in another way, the right course of action may be so obvious that the problem no longer exists.

    An idea that is developed and put into action is more important than an idea that exists only as an idea.

    Creativity involves breaking out of established patterns in order to look at things in a different way.

    Creativity is a great motivator because it makes people interested in what they are doing. Creativity gives hope that there can be a worthwhile idea. Creativity gives the possibility of some sort of achievement to everyone. Creativity makes life more fun and more interesting.

    Most executives, many scientists, and almost all business school graduates believe that if you analyze data, this will give you new ideas. Unfortunately, this belief is totally wrong. The mind can only see what it is prepared to see.

    Most of the mistakes in thinking are inadequacies of perception rather than mistakes of logic.

    Humor is by far the most significant activity of the human brain.

    Removing the faults in a stage-coach may produce a perfect stage-coach, but it is unlikely to produce the first motor car.

    To be successful you have to be lucky, or a little mad, or very talented, or find yourself in a rapid growth field.

    A memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen.

    It has always surprised me how little attention philosophers have paid to humor, since it is a more significant process of mind than reason. Reason can only sort out perceptions, but the humor process is involved in changing them.

    If you do not design the future, someone or something else will design it for you.

    Traditional thinking is all about 'what is' Future thinking will also need to be about what can be.


    The need to be right all the time is the biggest bar to new ideas.

    Water is essential for soup but soup is more than water. Competence is essential for business but business is more than competence. What is added to water gives the 'value' of the soup. What is added to competence gives the value delivered by business. Competence is becoming a commodity, Information is becoming a commodity. State of the art technology is becoming a commodity. So what is going to differentiate businesses How are these commodities to be designed to deliver value That means design. That means creativity. That means new ideas. Ideas are going to become more important in business than they have ever been.

    I must say, I don't feel very qualified to be a pop star. I feel very awkward at times in the role.


    Argument is meant to reveal the truth, not to create it.

    The purpose of science is not to analyze or describe but to make useful models of the world. A model is useful if it allows us to get use out of it.

    If you wait for opportunities to occur, you will be one of the crowd.


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