Ideas evolve.

And, so have the ideas that have led to this Fourth Edition of Software For Your Brain. It can be interesting to look back to see how these ideas got going in the first place.

You can download your own copy here …


In 1979, I started the School of Thinking (SOT) in New York with Edward de Bono. We agreed the mission of the school was to train ‘teachers of thinking’ and to get ‘thinking on the curriculum’ of all schools.

At SOT we used a number of methodologies including Edward’s CoRT Thinking syllabus and The Scheyville Method (distilled from Australian Army leadership training). We also explored, developed and pioneered a range of innovative training and thinking methodologies. For example, at different times, Edward suggested the idea of ‘Thinking Spectacles’ as a way of teaching parallel thinking; I developed the idea of X10 Thinking; and then SOT developed the idea of using ‘Six Thinking Caps’ which is now used widely around the world. Recently, I’ve added a seventh–The Grey Thinking Hat–the only one which cannot be taught.

When we introduced the ‘School of Thinking caps strategy‘ in 1983 it was designed as a toolkit to help thinkers to escape from their current thinking patterns. Edward liked the idea so much he said that it “may well be the most important change in human thinking for the past 2300 years”.

After leaving SOT, in 1985 Edward de Bono evolved his own version–The Six Thinking Hats–which became a best-seller.


Another evolution was in 1981 when I worked on designing cognetics (cognitive cybernetics) calling it ‘software for the brain’ and, with the arrival of personal desktop computers, I began referring to the brain as a ‘necktop computer’ and so I designed the first universal brain software: cvs2bvs.


On presenting these ideas to Edward de Bono as a more “up-to-date and hi-tech way to teach thinking” I was surprised that he was not at all supportive of the ‘necktop’ idea. At the time, Edward was Professor of Investigative Medicine at Cambridge University and he felt strongly that the behaviour of the brain and that of computers was so different that he said, “there seems little point in comparing them”. He referred me to his book The Mechanism of Mind (his best and most original contribution) where he elaborates on his viewpoint in detail, “The behaviour of the electrical system in the brain is fundamentally different from that to be found in computers” and “even on a functional level there are considerable differences” etc etc. Fair enough.

But, I was convinced of the value of ‘necktop software’ and persisted with the concept. My own view was that, whatever the differences, brains and computers were both deeply digital environments for information-processing and that there were useful comparisons to be made, not only metaphorically (as desktop personal computers were becoming ubiquitous in the 80s) but also functionally. I remained committed to the idea and developed it further.

In 1989 I published the first edition of Software For The Brain which became an international best-seller. This ‘brain software’ method for teaching thinking skills has also become one of the most widely used around the world–in schools, in sports and in business.

Recently, after 25 years, Edward de Bono has changed his mind and announced that he is now an advocate of the ‘brain software’ strategy for teaching thinking which, itself, is a nice example of cvs2bvs.

images-3.jpg brightlight thinking
To follow thinking caps and brain software I am now developing a new methodology called brightlight thinking: how to sort truth from lies.

The basic premise of brightlight thinking is: claim divided by due diligence equals truth or lie expressed as the formula c÷dd=t>l.

The methodology of brightlight thinking is the skilled use of 10 questions that are asked to move the CLAIM backwards or forwards along the 10-step continuum: TRUTH . . . . . . . . . . LIE.

Any claim that has ever been made in all of history and any claim that ever will be made can be examined and enlightened by brightlight thinking.

Edward de Bono has become world famous for some of my best ideas. Based on my experience with the earlier thinking caps and brain software ideas, I predict Edward will be saying brightlight was his idea by 2010 🙂

Some people prefer Truth.
Some people prefer Lies.
What do you prefer?

Thought Experiment: Have a really good think about how you approach this question before you post your own preference here. When we get 100 replies we’ll post the result.

In 25 words, can you explain, with an example, WHY you know you prefer TRUTH or LIES?

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE: September 04, 2007
More Than Half of K-12 Parents Relieved Summer Vacation Is Over.

Relieved because their kids are bored, should be learning …

PRINCETON, NJ — School-aged children across the country are already mournful about the end of summer, as they head back to the hallways for a new school year. But how do their parents feel about their kids going back to school — are they in a celebratory mood (as some television commercials suggest) or are they sad to see the vacation end?

A recent Gallup Panel survey, conducted Aug. 23-26, asked a nationally representative sample of parents with children in kindergarten through 12th grade for their feelings on the end of summer vacation. A slight majority of parents, 53%, say they are “relieved that summer vacation is over,” while 42% say they “wish summer vacation would last longer.” More on this …

ANDREW DENTON introduces Baroness Susan Greenfield on Enough Rope:

Andrew Denton and Professor Susan Greenfield   Woody Allen once described the brain as his second-favourite organ. I get the feeling that for my next guest nothing even comes close. A world leader in the field of neuroscience, she’s devoted her life to studying the 1.5kg of tissue that makes each one of us who we are. She’s a scientist, a TV star, a best-selling author and a life peer to boot.

Please welcome the expert’s expert on the inner workings of the brain, Professor Susan Greenfield.