I Am Right—you Are Wrong by Edward de Bono

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I Am Right—you Are Wrong

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

I AM RIGHT—YOU ARE WRONG: FROM ROCK LOGIC TO WATER LOGIC achieves one of author Edward de Bono’s goals, that of illustrating why some ways of thinking about problems are ill-suited to solving those problems. The book explains well how description and analysis, the most common approaches to problems, most often lead to solutions limited by hypotheses posed and by current situations. Perception and creativity, he argues, would provide more complete and appropriate solutions. The “rock logic” of well-defined boundaries and dichotomies is sometimes not as appropriate as “water logic,” which lets ideas take whatever shape is appropriate. Thinking can be understood as a self-organizing system, and scientists should not abandon efforts to understand creativity simply because it is so complex a phenomenon.

Where de Bono fails is in providing an explanation of how to implement creative and perceptive thinking. He offers several examples (some of them numerous times) of how creative thinking led to exceptional solutions to problems. He does not tell, however, how to think creatively. This is particularly frustrating because at numerous junctures he promises to do just that. On the book’s very last page, in an appendix, he finally states that he had decided, upon reflection, not to give a promised discussion of one of the practical aspects of his thinking system, so as not to overburden the reader and dilute the main point of the book.

At several points, de Bono alludes to methods he has used to promote creative thinking. He names them and illustrates their success in practice but does not describe them. At best, he refers readers to his other books. This volume is successful in pointing out potential difficulties in facing the problems of the future but is singularly lacking in practical ways of overcoming those difficulties. De Bono points out what may need to be done but offers little help in doing it.