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SOT 2021: 42nd Anniversary today.

School of Thinking celebrates its 42 Anniversary today. SOT was founded in New York on the 17th November, 1979 by Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono.

• During the 2020-2021 pandemic lockdowns SOT, based in Melbourne, upgraded and adapted to streaming all SOT training to now 100% online.

School of Thinking is an elite independent school awarding bespoke degrees in Lateral Thinking.

It has a student body of 650+ active students of whom over 80% hold post-graduate degrees in science. In 2021 SOT has awarded 82 Advanced Certificates, 37 Diplomas and 23 Master of Lateral Thinking degrees.


SOT has no advocacy and no agenda. It is privately self-funding. It accepts no sponsors, grants or aid. No accreditation nor affiliation. It is a school of thinking. Not a school of thought. Our mission is to teach metacognition.

SOT is not for everyone. However, all are invited. School of Thinking was the first school on the internet, in 1995, and always offers pro bono lessons to anyone, anywhere, anytime, 24/7/365. 


The School of Thinking’s Diploma of Lateral Thinking DipLT(SOT) is an elite academic deed awarded for the successful completion of advanced studies in lateral thinking. It is elite because lateral thinking is difficult and the award is rare – being less than 100 diplomas ever awarded worldwide. Ten hours of masterclass training with Michael Hewitt-Gleeson are required for qualification plus twenty hours of practical application in the field. So, it may take around thirty hours to gain proficiency in lateral thinking.  

The DipLT(SOT) masterclasses and clinics involve a different kind of training combining valuable IP from business, the academy and from military science.


Dr Hewitt-Gleeson co-founded the school with Cambridge Don, Edward de Bono, in New York in 1979.

Today he is recognised as the father of x10 Thinking. The Visiting Fellow in Innovation, Latrobe University, holds a PhD degree in Cognitive Science from the elite International College. It was the world’s first PhD in Lateral Thinking (1980).

International College was an independent, private, licenced college, founded in Los Angeles in the early 1970s. Licensed to grant degrees by the California State Department of Education, its degrees were recognized by Harvard, Yale, NYU and other Ivy League colleges. It was a virtual college having no classrooms, libraries or laboratories and a business model that was ahead of its time. As its motto, In Vestigiis Institutorum Antiquorum indicated, the college followed the methods of the first Greek and Roman universities, where gifted students were paired one student/one master with outstanding tutors. At International College the outstanding tutors were: Leonard Bernstein in Music and Conducting; Anaïs Nin in Novels and Writing; Buckminster Fuller in Innovation and Design Science; Lord Yehudi Menuhin in Violin and Music; Professor Edward de Bono in Education and Psychology.

In 1980, Hewitt-Gleeson was admitted to International College and paired with Edward de Bono for the world’s first PhD in lateral thinking. The field project he designed involved 26 New York hospitals and their 40,000 healthcare employees. His external examiner for the project was Dr George Gallup, founder of The Gallup Poll at Princeton.

Prior to his career in lateral thinking, he had already 7 years of service in the ADF (Australian Defence Force). He had been educated and trained at the rigorous Officer Training Unit, Scheyville (1967-68) and after a tour of duty in the Vietnam War he continued as a reserve officer and Chief Instructor in the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force) and honourably discharged in 1974 with the rank of Flying Officer.

Melbourne 2021

Dr Hewitt-Gleeson is Australia’s best-selling author of Software For Your Brain (1990), The x10 Memeplex (2000) and The 4th Brain (2019). His current projects include a new online pandemic recovery experience for teaching x10 Thinking called Australia x10.



Vale Edward. School of Thinking is in mourning because our co-founder, Professor Edward de Bono, died this year on the 9th of June. Our sincere condolences have been sent to Edward’s son, Caspar de Bono, and his family in Malta and the UK. We were invited to attend the funeral service streamed from the Old Mdina Cathedral in Malta. It was elegant, tender and consoling. The celebration was attended by the De Bono Family and friends and the Emeritas President of Malta. You may view the service here.

School of Thinking also gave Caspar a Book of Remembrance which recorded the condolences sent by individual SOT Members. Thank you for your thoughtfulness.


NEW: Ten day course on WOMBAT Theory

If you want to multiply your sales by ten you have to multiply your WOMBATS by ten!

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, author: NewSell; WOMBAT Selling: How to sell by Word Of Mouth

The future is coming and it has lots to offer especially in the WOMBAT Economy. If you want to use WOMBAT Selling to help you to multiply your business by ten then a good place to start is with this ten lessons course on WOMBAT Theory.

There are no fees of any kind. You get a lesson a day for ten days. The lesson takes less than ten minutes but the ideas may stay with you all day as you apply them to your daily business activities.

The Course

If you would like to be considered for WOMBAT Theory training apply here by email.


The Book

If you would like a complimentary copy of my book, WOMBAT Selling, just say WOMBAT SELLING, Please here by email.

Welcome to the x10 project …

Who in their right mind would multiply their life by ten?

Who in their right mind would multiply their business by ten?

Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, Melbourne, February 2021.

These questions have been the focus of my career in lateral thinking for the past 40 years and I can say now there’s never been a better time for lateral thinking. But, as with all elite cognitive skills, there is good news and bad news.

The Good News: Lateral thinking aka x10 thinking is fast. Often ten times faster than logical thinking. x10 thinking gives you more. Much more. More options. More hope. More choices. More solutions. More value. More ideas. More opportunities. More futures. More mindfulness. More cognitive resilience.

The Bad News: x10 thinking is hard. It’s not for everyone. In fact, most people most of the time are thinking inside their box. That’s just the way it is. It’s the natural way of things. However, lateral thinking is thinking outside the box. It’s not easy. It’s not natural. It’s acquired. It takes effort, practice and skill. But you CAN do it.

I’m Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and welcome to all. Thank you for visiting the School of Thinking. The reason I say that lateral thinking is hard is because a lot of people know about lateral thinking, sure, they’ve bought the book and some have even read it but … can they actually do it with skill and virtuosity?

Very, very few in my experience. In the I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong world of our Western Greco-Roman logic education it’s a very difficult cognitive feat to escape from the box of our own thinking. We are inclined to defend the rightness of our ‘truths’. We favour judgement or Black Hat Thinking. We find it easier to criticise than to design. The great Max Planck observed how difficult it is even for scientists to escape from current truths when he said, “Science advances one funeral at a time”.

We can all observe every day – in relationships, in business, politics, media and even in science – just how hard it is for most thinkers to escape from logical binary thinking so they can shift sideways to lateral trinary thinking. We do, of course, see quite valuable exceptions.

Academically, I hold the world’s first PhD in Lateral Thinking (1980) but my own lateral thinking skills were first acquired at Scheyville, a military leadership school in the Australian Army, in the late ’60s. It was an intensive 22-week program of mostly being taught and drilled in outside-the-box thinking in preparation for jungle warfare in Vietnam. It’s interesting to see that today, 50 years later, the military still values these difficult lateral thinking skills in its elite training programs. Recently (July 2020), Commanding General for US Army Special Operations Command, Lt. Gen. Fran Beaudette, told the graduating class after their 50-week intensive training;

From here, you will go forward and join the Green Berets where you will do what you are trained to do: challenge assumptions, break down barriers, smash through stereotypes, innovate, and achieve the impossible.”

The numerical or metric synonym for lateral thinking is x10 thinking. Although x10 thinking is not natural for humans it can be taught and learned and applied. This is what we have been doing at the School of Thinking for 40 years.

Lateral thinking (x10 thinking) is our best tool for creating value, our best hope for solving wicked problems, our best defense against imagined or real fear: fear of mistakes, fear of failure in career, business or job-related situations, fear of family crises, relationship conflicts, social media, fear of political or global issues.

Lateral thinking is science-based. Professor Jenny Graves holds the Prime Minister’s Science Prize. She said, “I applaud School of Thinking for its teaching of scientific thinking”.

There are ten lessons in this at home training course. This full course includes cutting-edge cognitive theory and instruction about the potential of your PFC (Pre-Frontal Cortex, your 4th brain). It gives you simple but powerful software for your brain and coaches you in real life application of this potential. The career and life results are exciting, tangible and can be measured.

Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson is the best-selling author of Software For Your Brain and co-founder with Edward de Bono of the School of Thinking in New York in 1979.

If you can successfully complete the training you’ll qualify and attain your personalised Lateral Thinking Certificate – Advanced from School of Thinking (SOT).

OK. Having plainly laid out the challenges it’s also true to say that lateral thinking is creative, liberating, rewarding and a lot of fun to do! I very much look forward to working with you if your application is accepted.

Very best wishes,


The Fees

There are no fees for SOT Members.

• Apply for training … Certificate of Lateral Thinking – Advanced

Edward de Bono’s Lateral Thinking

Logical thinking is vertical thinking, digging the same hole deeper in order to get a more correct hole. The right hole. The search for perfection. We need vertical thinking and we are already very good at it. Most of Western education is based on logical, step-by-step, vertical thinking. It is useful but it is not enough.

Lateral thinking is escaping from the hole in order to dig a hole somewhere else, perhaps sideways. The search for more alternatives, for reappraisal, for new possibilities and extra choices. We need much more lateral thinking because lateral thinking creates value.

Flashback to 1979

In 1980 I completed the world’s first PhD in Lateral Thinking conducting an idea-generation experiment I designed with 26 hospitals in New York. My project included a 30-day campaign in which 40,000+ hospital employees generated 33,000+ bvs ideas to the immediate value of over USD$10 million (1979 dollars). Employees were taught how to think up BAD ideas, ideas that could save the hospitals a Buck-A-Day (BAD). It was the first time in history that 26 NYC hospitals had ever co-operated in any enterprise. The x10 results were astounding and became national news – New York Times, Wall Street Journal and network news.

The New York Times, Tuesday March 13, 1979

Alternatives’ with Edward de Bono

My PhD supervisor was the late Dr Edward de Bono, the Cambridge Professor of Investigative Medicine, who originally coined the term ‘lateral thinking’.

Here, we’ll go back in history to 1982 when Edward recorded a BBC series on lateral thinking and here is his lesson on “Alternatives”. The total lesson is 24 minutes divided into three clips: Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3. I think you’ll enjoy Edward’s excellent presentation:

• Part 1 of 3

• Part 2 of 3

Part 3 of 3

Edward de Bono has died.

It is with much sadness that we report the death of Edward de Bono who passed away peacefully at his home in Malta. Dr de Bono was the co-founder of the School of Thinking in 1979.

Our sincerest condolences go to his family and associates and his many followers around the world.

The sad news was announced on his website and in the Times of Malta today.

SOTPIC: Co-founders Edward de Bono and Michael Hewitt-Gleeson at the launch of the School of Thinking in New York, 1980.

Women in Science

“God Particle” Physicist, Fabiola Gianotti, Academician, Pontifical Academy of Sciences

In 2020, Pope Francis appointed “God particle” physicist Fabiola Gianotti to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General of CERN, is a particle physicist working at high-energy accelerators. In her scientific career, she has made significant contributions to several experiments at CERN, including ATLAS at the Large Hadron Collider (LHC). Here she presents her credentials to the Academy …

What is the most difficult feat in human thinking?

According to Edward de Bono, “The most difficult feat in human thinking is to escape from your point of view”.


Two main reasons. One is biological and the other is cultural. That uniquely human brain feature, the Pre Frontal Cortex (PFC) is a patterning system. It stores thinking in patterns, like how to get dressed or how to remember your password. Otherwise, if we had to re-invent breakfast every morning life would be too difficult. So we repeat and then store patterns of thinking to use again and again. In that sense patterns are very useful but the downside is that patterns, by definition, are difficult to ESCAPE from.

The PFC has evolved to cognise patterns in order to be able to re-cognise them. Even one repetition can be enough to create a strong pattern in the PFC.

The other reason that ESCAPE is difficult is a cultural one. In the middle ages the Church re-discovered the Greek ideas of Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. It developed these ideas into a thinking methodology – GrecoRoman Logic – and over subsequent centuries it spread this system around the world in a vast and largely successful global missionary education campaign.

Even today we still send kids to school giving them the impression that there is such a thing as RIGHT and WRONG and that their job is to get the RIGHT answer and “Don’t make any mistakes!”. It’s a crippling cognitive inhibitor and makes them very slow binary thinkers. All the thinking effort gets devoted to “I-am-right-and-you-are-wrong” creating conflict, anger, stress and lack of creativity. We can watch how this slow-thinking anger spreads like a plague across social media.

Lateral thinking is different from logical thinking.

Logical thinking defends the box. Lateral thinking offers an escape from the box. That is why, in the School of Thinking, we teach x10 Thinking as a powerful lateral provocation for offering an ESCAPE from the box of our own point of view.

x10 Thinking is not natural. It’s not easy. It’s not for everyone. But, like volleyball or chess, it has been learned and practised and found to create value by those who are interested.

For example, Jack Welch of GE said, “I wish I had a management team that really understood Michael’s x10 Thinking because it’s the value-added part of the management process”. And Larry Page of Google says, “I live by the gospel of 10x”.

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