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How to protect YOUR brain
from internet radicalisation,
contagious conspiracy memes
and just silly social cybercrap.


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Bestselling author of Software For Your Brain


ISBN 9780978319409



WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT x10 Thinking …

Larry Page, Co-founder of Google (2013).    I live by the gospel of x10 thinking.

Jack Welch, Chairman of GE (1981-2001)      Michael’s x10 thinking is the value-added role in the management process.

Sir Gus Nossal AC FRS, Chairman of Gates Foundation’s Discovery Expert Group.   I like its simplicity and its directness. I like the facets of humour. I like the design.

Sally Capp, COO of Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.        x10 is a key part of our innovation culture. x10 is leading us to do things differently and driving results exponentially!

Scott Wilson, CEO of iSelect.       x10 Thinking and Wombat selling has now become our corporate mission.

Ross Campbell, Principal RCA Crisis Management.      Slamdunk! What good timing for this. Very relevant values for the current market — who are confused and concerned.

Professor David Penington AC, former Vice-Chancellor, University of Melbourne.       Commendably ‘sharp’ and pointed.

Maria Deveson-Crabbe, Telstra Business Woman — Community, Government, 2014. So exciting. if we could de-operationalise bad philosophy we would abound with a lot of x10 energy for fun and work-life balance.

Peter Dale, CEO of Volgren Marco Polo, Australia’s largest bus manufacturer.    x10 is truly such a great concept. Punchy and fresh! Congratulations.

Professor German Spangenberg, Executive Director of AgriBio Victoria.    I loved it! I couldn’t stop opening the file and reading it to the end on my iPad!

Count W. Brind Zichy-Woinarski Q.C.     It gave me much pleasure to read it and brought back some of my father’s sayings and made me remember just how much he taught me.

Jason Crombie, Editor In Chief, Monster Children.      Love it. I like that it’s quick and easy to read, and the information is easy to digest.


Michael Hewitt-GleesonAbout the author:
Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson is 'the father of x10 thinking'. He is Australia’s best-selling author of Software For Your Brain, the classic coursebook on applied neuroplasticity. He is the Founder and Principal of the School of Thinking (SOT) which has disseminated over half a billion lessons since 1979. SOT was the first school on the internet with the world’s longest-running program for teaching metacognition thinking skills online to members in over 70 countries. Dr Hewitt-Gleeson is one of the world’s first cognitive scientists and is also the world’s first Doctor of Lateral Thinking. He has personally taught more people how to think in English than anyone else in history. He first published his invention of the universal brain software known as the digital switch--cvs2bvs--in 1984 (NewSell, Boardroom Books, New York, 1984).
Copyright  ©   Michael Hewitt-Gleeson 2016
The moral right of the author has been asserted.  All rights reserved. 

ISBN 9780978319409

By the same author:

Out of print ...

Career Acceleration Program (CAP Vols: I, II and II) HBO Studios, New York 1976 

Learn-To-Think: Coursebook and Instructor’s Manual (Co-author Edward de Bono) (1982), ISBN 0884961990

NewSell (1984), ISBN 0932648568

Software For Your Brain (1989), ISBN 09473511088

NewSell 2 (1990), ISBN 0947351221

Software for the Brain 2: Handbook for Lateral Thinkers (1991), ISBN 0947351388

THINK: An Action Program for Lateral Thinking (1993), ISBN 0947351515

THINK AGAIN: A Brain Users Guide to Lateral Thinking (1993), ISBN 0947351515

SELL: the lateral thinkers’ guide to selling and leadership (1993), ISBN 0947351639

Clever: A Coursebook for Clever Thinking (1993) ISBN 0947351671

Current list ...

The X10 Memeplex: multiply your business by 10! (2000), ISBN 0724801111

WOMBAT SELLING: how to sell by word of mouth (2006) ISBN 1740664280

English Thinking: The Three Methods (2012) ISBN 9780987319401

The Story of the Edward de Bono School of Thinking 1979-1984 (2012), ISBN 9780978319403

Smartphonebooks ...

BAD PHILOSOPHY: Aristotle's Boxes and How to Escape (2015), ISBN 9780978319405

THE NEWSELL SWITCH: The world’s first PhD in lateral thinking! (2015), ISBN 9780978319407

THE SAYINGS OF JOSEPH: History’s Greatest teacher! (2015), ISBN 9780978319406

WOMBAT Innovation: Creating very clever ideas that people talk about (2015), ISBN 978097831 9408

This book is dedicated to Dr George Gallup, market researcher and pollster (1901 — 1984), who brought science to the measurement of human thinking and liberated both the voter and the customer.

NEXT: Introduction

(Click to go to the next chapter of the book) ...

What if you had a virus in your brain?
What if it was a cognitive virus, a kind of cognitive AIDS?
What would it do to you? How would it affect your thinking?
How did you get infected with the virus?
What personal protection can you have against it?

Every technology has its hackers – those enthusiasts who enjoy exploring the intimate details of the system, cracking the codes and stretching and testing the capabilities of systems. You’ve no doubt read about the security hackers who have ripped-off the identity of millions of individual customers and robbed their banks of billions of dollars.

We’ve seen nuclear hackers who have designed DIY nuclear weapons for science projects and we have online hackers who roam the networks, some for fun and some for mischief.

No doubt it won’t be long before we read of inchoate genetic hackers who amuse themselves by splashing and splicing around in our gene pool.

Hackers, driven by strong curiosity, often just start off by seeking amusement and showing off their skill but sometimes their antics lead to chaos, fraud and very often … disaster!


In recent years, there are state-sponsored hackers manipulating global IT systems by designing viruses that replicate themselves into other systems. Few hackers, whether individuals or state-employed, are competent enough or even willing to fully comprehend the ongoing and real consequences of their viral coding.

Many of their viruses took off out of control and by now have infected billions of computers and smartphones. These viruses are real! They cause real down time, real loss of capital, real damage to equipment, real destruction of databases and real loss of life.

The FBI’s cyber division says that computer attacks pose the biggest risk: “From a national security perspective, other than a weapon of mass destruction or a bomb in one of our major cities. Other than a nuclear device or some other type of destructive weapon, the threat to our infrastructure, the threat to our intelligence, the threat to our computer network is the most critical threat we face”.

US experts talk of “cybergeddon,” in which an advanced economy — where almost everything of importance is linked to or even controlled by computers — is sabotaged and crashed by hackers.


The secretary for public safety in New York state, described “a huge threat out there” against everything from banking institutions to municipal water systems and dams. Any daily cybertransaction can be infected by computer viruses:

  • Wall Street decisions involving the transfer of capital in the trillions
  • credit-card transactions between billions of traders and their customers
  • airline reservations affecting thousands of travellers maintenance
  • command decisions involving hundreds of US missiles and others

The mind boggles at the havoc that can be caused if these viruses spread unchecked. Yet, there is a virus, a particular brain virus, which already exists in the brains of many humans from preachers to presidents, that makes these computer viruses look wimps by comparison. I’ve identified it as ATV.

This ATV brain virus–or meme–is real. It’s seductive and it’s very powerful.

ATV is also highly destructive. Just last century alone more than 26 million humans were killed in the world wars, revolutionary wars, conflicts, pogroms, persecutions, genocides and racial cleansings. It can be argued that many or most of these events were initiated by people infected with ATV and motivated to impose their ‘Acquired Truth’ on others.


ATV in the brain of an unpredictable sociopathic president with a ready smartphone, or even an ATV-infected and radicalised terrorist, could unleash a missile that starts the unthinkable nuclear madness that threatens the very existence of humanity.

ATV in the brain of a Fortune 500 CEO can threaten the survival of the business. In the brains of ordinary schoolyard youngsters with smartphones, ATV can cripple them for life.

And, in YOUR brain???

This brain virus is the Acquired Truth Virus (ATV) and chances are almost certain that you, dear brainuser, are already infected.

In this book you will not only come to understand the brain virus and how it affects your life but you will also find out exactly what you can do to contain it.

You will get immune-building, science-based protocols that a help you protect your brain from viral attack and slow thinking. And, you’ll learn a very powerful tool for increasing your speed of thought called x10 Thinking.

It’s also fun to do.

These brain viruses have also been written about by other authors. Another scientific name for these brain viruses is 'memes' as coined by Oxford biologist, Richard Dawkins, in his book The Selfish Gene (1976). In my earlier books Software For Your Brain (1989) and The X10 Memeplex: Multiply Your Business By Ten! (Prentice-Hall, 2000) I looked more academically and more deeply into the concept of 'information brain viruses’ that replicate from brain to brain and these earlier works have also supplied some of the research, information and material for this new book.



01        Is it true?
02        Two kinds of truths: REAL and FAKE
03        Radicalisation by ATV

(So far previewed. More to come)

04        Conspiracy Theories by ATV
05        Cybercrap by ATV
06        DOSAGE
07        PROXIMITY
08        SPEED


08        SHIELD:  Protection for YOUR brain
09        THINK:   cvs2bvs
10        ESCAPE:  x10Thinking: 
11        SEARCH:  Ten Ways to Test for ATV
12        RETURN:  Dollarization. Valuation.  Return.    

Glossary of the Brain Software


About the School of Thinking




true 1. in accordance with fact or reality. 2. genuine; not spurious or counterfeit.
– Oxford English Dictionary


The very short version of this book is simply to know how to ask and how to get a good answer to the direct and searching question: Is it true? That’s it and good luck.

The longer version

However, for those who want a little more we can continue with the longer version where we will unpack this simple but very powerful question and learn more about how to use it and how to be sure to get a good answer. This is the first and most basic question of science: Is it true?


Fasten your seat belts! It’s a bit of a rocky ride.

My primary motivation for this book is for the particular welfare of the vulnerable young brain which is exposed, for hours and hours every day, to the bare, intimate and unchaperoned screen of a personal smartphone.

Other current gadgets, too, like laptops and gametops and the accelerating and careening future into … OMG … the internet of things!


Frightened of stranger danger at the end of their street youngsters are lovingly driven to school in the morning and picked up in the afternoon.

Yet, these young brains, naked and unprotected with their latest smartphone never far from their grasp, are then set free to blindly venture forth into a world of hackers and trolls, tricksters and cybercriminals, and bullies and the bogeyman!


Children are absurdly inexperienced, insecure and ill-equipped in their approach to the crackling chaos of the internet–the 24/7/365 whirling, howling, cacophonous wilderness of the greedy grasping global marketplace with its siren songs, ferocious fads, toxic wastes and vicious moods, its callous explosions, its viral plagues and epidemics and cruel and sudden extinctions.

These hidden minefields of traps and predators are putting capricious end to the promising future, safe conduct and healthy development of their most precious possession. Their brain.

While kids probably already have good anti-viral protection for their laptops and smartphones my concern here is that they also should have equal protection for their greatest gadget of all. Their own personal necktop computer.


A condom for your brain

Not just for your gadgets but you also need personal protection against infection from malware in your necktop computer.

Develop the protective habit of asking (and getting a good answer to) the question: IS IT TRUE? 

It’s like a condom for your brain. Just ask: Is it true!



CHAPTER TWO Two Kinds of Truths


true 1. in accordance with fact or reality. 2. genuine; not spurious or counterfeit.
– Oxford English Dictionary


Offline or online, the world is a wide web of truths. It’s a shopping mall. A huge marketplace of all kinds of truths. Little truths. Big truths. There are many, many truths. Millions of them. These truths live in brains and are, literally, hopping about from brain to brain via smartphones all day long, 24/7. Yes, 365.


There are all kinds of truths that want to live in your brain. Some are true and some are untrue. There are acquired truths. There are real truths. There are new truths and old truths. Unscientific and scientific. Low-probability and high-probability. Dormant and dominant. Lazy and busy. Simple truths. Complex. Vicious and virtuous truths. Dumb. Clever. Logical and lateral. Popular truths and secret ones. Fast truths and slow truths. There are convenient truths and inconvenient truths. etc. etc.

I’ve repeated the OED definition of true again at the head of this chapter because we can divide all these truths into two general categories: fake and real.


To paraphrase the OED, fake truths are spurious and counterfeit. Real truths accord with fact and reality.

There are hives of truths, megahives, There are places that host replicating truths. For example Facebook and Wikipedia and Weibo. Here there are millions of truths buzzing about from brain to brain on second-by-second

transactions at the speed of light across the wired world. Some truths are better at replicating than others. Some win. Some lose.

Remember, truths always need homes to live in and these homes are human brains. The most successful truths are the ones that are good at acquiring brains. They spread, virally, from brain to brain across the web.

Other truths are less successful and some may not even survive. This is the darwinian fate of truths. Replicate or die!

Now. This is the thing. Get ready for may what come as a big shock. Because the cognitive consequences of this next insight are huuuuuuuge!

The most successful truths are not always the real truths!

Fake truths often spread faster than real truths. Counterfeit memes are often more popular than facts. Convenient truths may acquire many more brains than inconvenient truths.

So, from now on, we are going to divide all the truths in the world into two categories: acquired and real.

  • Real truths are those truths that are supported by facts and most accord with reality. They have the balance of evidence on their side.
  • Acquired truths are those that are simply good at getting replicated into your brain but are not real truths at all.


The Brainvirus – ATV

In particular, I now want to draw your attention to ATV, the Acquired Truth Virus. The Acquired Truth Virus, or ATV, is a brainvirus that lives in your brain which claims to be a real truth but is not. It’s a fake. It’s counterfeit.

This book is how to protect your brain from ATV.


Just suppose there are two kinds of truths, REAL or FAKE, 
and you were asked to judge 3 of each. 

DFQ 01:  Name three real truths and three fake truths.






NEXT:  CHAPTER THREE Radicalisation by ATV

True, as unwisdom is the worst of ills.  – Sophocles


ATV, Acquired Truth Virus, is a brainvirus that lives in your brain which claims to be a real truth but is not. It’s a fake. It’s counterfeit. It is simply acquired through transmission.


ATVs, like ‘smoking is cool’ or ‘smartphones are cool’ can be acquired through exposure to repetition of the truth whether through advertising, media, big authority or through daily social group pressure.

If everyone, everywhere, everyday are smoking then it’s very difficult for a young brain to not become infected with the ATV that ‘smoking is cool’. What protection does the young brain have from such a social onslaught?

If everyone, everywhere, all the time are smartphoning then it’s very difficult for a young brain to not become infected with the ATV that ‘smartphoning is cool’. On what basis could a young brain reasonably be expected to  have the wisdom to resist?

What if smartphoning is the new smoking?

How would you even know?

Unwisdom is a wicked problem, especially for the younger brain. It is, in fact, a very serious cognitive deficit. It is a wicked problem because there is no real solution. Many young brains suffer from this problem because it is largely a predicament of the younger brain ipso facto, by virtue of the fact of being a young brain.

Unwisdom is a very old word because it is a very old problem. It’s a wicked paradox:

TO KNOW that one does not know something is a problem that can be solved. It can be solved by acquiring the knowledge, skills and experience that are known to be missing.

But TO NOT KNOW that one does not know something is a wicked paradox that cannot be solved within the logic of the situation. This is the problem of unwisdom.

This is why it is a relatively simple thing for a young brain to become radicalised. Yet, it is a very difficult thing to radicalise a skilled, wise and experienced brain.

Young brains are fair game. They always have been. Aristotle said, “Give me a child until he is 7 and I will show you the man”. Interesting. Think about the impressionability, the vulnerability of children and the cognitive implications of what he means.

I have even heard this quote attributed to St Francis de Sales and other religious figures, who may, of course, have been paraphrasing Aristotle who also said in Rhetoric, “The mind is in its prime about the age of 49.”

The internet is a particularly fertile environment for older brains to radicalise younger brains. There the manipulation of young brains is convenient because so many unwise young brains inhabit cyberspace, without protection, and are getting daily online megadoses 24/7/365.


Not all radicalisation leads to violence at all but the process usually involves multiple reinforcements that, with enough exposure, can desensitise young brains to committing acts of increasing anger, rage and aggressive behaviour.

The Domino Theory

50 years ago when I was finally escaping my teens, before I was even old enough to vote, my own brain was radicalised by much older brains when I just turned 20 years of age.

Back in the 60s, long before the internet, I was infected with a meme (or a ‘truth’) called The Domino Theory which was, in simple terms, “the fear of China’s hegemony”.


As youngsters, we were told that  America (and therefore Australia) was threatened by the ‘Domino Theory’ and that we were to stop it by fighting it in Indochina. History refers to this as the American War in Vietnam.

This acquired truth virus (ATV) took two years out of my young life to be trained to go and fight. Then, another ten years to be forgiven for going. My brain has healed but there are scars.

As far as I can see, “the fear of China’s hegemony” is still today being used to radicalise young unwise brains but my older and wiser and experienced brain is immune and is less likely to be radicalised by the relentless onslaught of these faceless subversive influencers.

I hope.

Just suppose there are two kinds of COOL things, REAL and FAKE, and you were asked to judge 3 of each. 

DFQ 02:  Name three real COOL and three fake COOL.