33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2005
The book is about building a beautiful mind to enhance ones' appeal (regardless of IQ, knowledge, or looks).
First 7 chapters deals pretty much with holding a decent conversation. Much of this sounds like common sense, but sometimes 'not so common' to some people. When holding a conversation, agreeing to everything is no good, as the other party might as well be talking to himself. Disagreeing everything is bad as it shows a mind that wants to demonstrate superiority to others (thus is ugly). There are many levels in between total agreement and disagreement. You can agree on certain points and disagree on certain points (agree to disagree). The key is to find out what you agree and disagree based on mutual understand of each others' values, point of view, personal experience, and extrapolation of what happens in the future. Once you understand the other party's 'logic bubble', you would be able to hold a better conversation without misunderstandings and negative emotions. To make the conversation interesting, you should also supplement , speculate, provide what-ifs, be open to alternatives, and explore points of interest. Edward explores the way you can do all these.
Chapter 8 addressed the concept of "6 Thinking Hats" or Parallel thinking (Edward has a whole book on this btw). In a Court of Law, a prosecutor will not mention points which will help a defence case, and vice versa for the defence attorney. Our usual thinking is based on using arguments as a method, as put forward by the Greeks: Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. In an argument, each party is usually looking from his own side. Edward gives an alternative method called Parallel thinking where everyone explores the same side, and goes around to all sides until a complete view is understood. This is covered in more details in another book.
The book is easy to understand and digest, and filled with interesting examples of cases where we should look at both sides to understand the whole picture. I also liked the way that some concepts are indexed (see also page so-and-so) which makes it easy to refer. The book has been an interesting read for me.
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 1997
Mechanism of Mind is one of my most treasured books. It gave me very practical insights into how humans process information. The book is easy enough to understand, and doesn't require any previous knowledge of psychology. It's a fairly serious, engrossing read, though, even with de Bono's nice little explanatory diagrams and simple examples. (I've read six of de Bono's books, and this was the most demanding, and the one I'd only recommend to my most intellectual friends).
It compares the brain to an array of a thousand lightbulbs. All the bulbs in the array have a simple device that makes them responsive to light (from an image projected onto the array. Each bulb also has a simple device that makes them "tire" (grow dim) without stimulus).
It's fascinating how the array behaves. De Bono explains how it "processes" patterns, easily mimicing brain functions such as attention and diversion, memory and forgetting, pattern recognition (generalization), creativity and insight.
This book certainly changed my life. I understand much more confidently how my mind works, and the minds of others.
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 29, 2000
This is one of the best books I have read. It does not describe the mind in neurochemical or psychological terms, but hits the spot by providing a simple model of how the mind works. From that model, De Bono provides insight on how memory, learning, attention, 'pig-headedness' and insight can occur. He shows how the brain stores information and experience efficiently, but also shows how those storage units can become rules unto themselves, thereby inhibiting further clear thinking. He then describes lateral thinking, as a means of disrupting the learnt rigid patterns that can make people blind to the simplest of ideas. It is curious that this work is not more extensively discussed in texts on psychology. Those texts often describe research on how certain neurons in the brain become selected through use, but do not take the simple step back to this original work by De Bono. Another interesting interpretation of the De Bono work is provided in Cookson's book 'Our wild niche', where he coins the word mindrules (similar to De Bono's d-lines). Mindrules are experience learnt instincts, and have wider connotations for human ecology and adjustment to various niches, both natural and artificial. I recommend you buy the Mechanism of Mind. Then you will almost see how the cogs in your own mind turn. email@example.com
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on March 13, 2008
This is perhaps one of de Bono's most subtle and exquisitely crafted books. In it, he lays out his theory of how the mind works -mechanically, that is. His theory, interestingly has preceded the actual findings by, among others, biologists, other neurologists and medical scientists. And after the fact, has proven to be more or less correct.
What is most striking about de Bono's theories is that he does not (as many other scientists do) make lavish claims about the brain's computing powers and abilities, but in fact makes just the opposite claim: that the human brain is a rather crude, clumsy, passive and slow mechanical device as measured by normal computing standards. And further, that it is precisely because of this lack of precision, speed -- and its own passivity -- that makes the human brain good at what it does best: self organization. Once processing begins, the mind has a life of its own.
The key component of mind is of course memory. In fact, following de Bono's lead, it is not too strong to suggest that memory is all there is to mind and consciousness. Everything else in the brain is just mechanics: special and often fleeting arrangements, configurations, modules and sub-modules and functional components of memory formed mostly as byproducts of the mind's activity and processing.
But it is how memory actually is arranged to do its work that is novel and key to understanding the mechanics of the brain. Most often, memory operates "passively" rather than actively. As things happen to it, it reacts by taking on new forms and reorganizing itself into new functions. Taking on new shapes, forms and functions IS the brains way of reacting. "Taking on new shapes and forms" becomes "braining processing." For it is precisely in these forms and shapes that the weight of mind (as memory functions and activity) is carried; functions that when taken together become the sum toll of mind.
As usual, de Bono has his own heuristics for driving his mechanical points home. Pneumatics, filling and draining of bathtubs, pistons and valves all play a role and make up his repertoire of mechanical heuristics for explaining the minds way of reacting. Most of them do their jobs well.
One of his best examples is the heuristic of "passive reaction": of water rolling down a hill. As it does so, it can etch out grooves, gullies, ravines and even rivers and oceans: So too can thoughts that ripple through the mind, leaving their tracks and imprints on memory cells. It is these memory traces and tracks that come together as sub-modules, and that can undergo further processing and similar secondary changes, to become larger grooves and gullies that constitute additional and often larger and ever newer functional forms and sub-modules. And so it goes as the mind builds up in connections, complexity and in activity.
de Bono's key point of course is, that there is no deus ex machina, no magic in the brain: It is all rather subtle passive processing. Five Stars
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on January 6, 2008
The Mechsnism of Mind, by Edward de bono
I first read this book in the seventies, but it was only in the eighties as well as the nineties when I had reread it several times that I truly understood what the author was talking about.
This book actually gave me a really good working understanding about the intricacies & idiosyncracies of the human brain as:
- a selective recognition system;
- a pattern making system;
- a self organising system;
From the author's lucid exposition, I understood more clearly the critical issues of attention management, memory lapses, perceptual sensitivity, pattern interrupts, cognitive traps, & finally, first order thinking.
Although quite dated in today's context, much of the author's detailed exploration of the human mind in their many physical manifestations is worth reading about.
A fundamental appreciation of the foregoing highlighted issues will certainly give readers a good grounding about personal creativity in real terms.
As the author has often remarked that creativity starts at the perceptual phase of thinking, where concepts are built up in the first place & this is the only place where changes (or corrections) must take place first in order for one to be truly perceptive to the world.
I must admit that the book had been a deeply engrossing read. I am glad I had reread it several times.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on April 29, 2012
"How to Have a Beautiful Mind" is yet another Edward DeBono book, he has written so many books already by now. Like the earlier DeBono books, the style of writing was easy to read and the content simple to understand and yet it makes you think. The only drawback I found in this book (as one reviewer already commented) is that there didn't seem to be very much new thinking in the book, but it felt more like a summary of DeBono's earlier work.
How to Have a Beautiful Mind focuses on how to have a good conversation. The author defines a beautiful mind as one that can carry on good conversations for fun, learning and growth. From then, he states quite strongly what characteristics are part of "being beautiful" and what parts are "not beautiful". He chose the word beautiful as that is how you an analogy of looks of a person... the mind can be beautiful in the same way a person looks beautiful.
The book has 18 chapters, each chapter explores a conversation from a different angle. It starts simple with chapters such as "how to agree" and "how to disagree" which explain how to do so while still keeping the conversation open and interesting. The chapters continue like this and chapter eight introduces DeBono's well-known parallel thinking and six thinking hats (again, as it is in almost all his books). Later chapters cover a bit more complicated topics such as concepts, values and attitudes. The final chapter is about how to start a conversation.
All in all, I enjoyed reading the book. It isn't think, it is easy to read and the content is useful. It was a bit too much like the earlier work of DeBono, but then again, it served as a good summary and reminder. I would probably recommend this book especially for people who are not familiar with DeBono's work. Excellent book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2010
Few people have not heard of Eward de Bono. He has made thinking acceptable, and I love how he thinks about thinking - metathinking I guess.
This book shows you how to become a more interesting conversationalist. It goes through all the different ways to agree, disagree, listen and add to any conversation or discussion. I particularly liked his thoughts on parallel thinking. Rather than have people take up a stance, an entrenched position, and then corral information facts and opinions to bolster that view, he advocates turning all minds to solving a problem or looking for solutions by working collaboratively. This works because the contest is to see who can come up with the best ideas in parallel with others at the same time, rather than against another's position. Excellent stuff.
The book is very easy to read but is dense with ideas, activities and suggestions. So while you can read it quickly, it is the sort of book that you want to have as a reference so you can dip into it again and again.
Highly recommended for all ages.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on April 21, 2003
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This book is a revolutionary examination of thinking and perception that should be a must read for anyone seeking to understand the why's and how's of human thinking. Elegant, and profound are the two terms that come to mind when describing DeBono's prose.
21 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on December 16, 2007
There is nothing new from de Bono in this book.
I have great respect for Edward de Bono's work and his 6 Thinking Hats concept and I use his ideas frequently in my work but this book does him no credit.
It is difficult to believe that he personally wrote it. It looks like his 'creative' team have pulled this together out of his previous work and wrapped it in a pretty cover. This is just a cheap marketing trap.
I'll be more wary of anything with the Edward de Bono brand in the future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on June 19, 2011
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I read this when I was feeling down and it really helped me lift my mental performance and my spirits.