27 years of training ‘teachers of thinking’ …

On Friday, the School of Thinking celebrated it’s 27th Anniversary.

At that time, Edward de Bono and I had formed a business partnership to sell consulting services in the USA and so we were meeting with senior managements of Fortune 500 corporations in New York like Citicorp and so on. We registered the consultancy as a New York Corporation–Edward de Bono & Associates Inc–and we were the only two shareholders. We agreed that Edward would be the major shareholder and I was Managing Director.

Working in the US market, I soon began to see the potential of a national project for ‘teaching thinking’ and developed a scalable method for teaching ‘teachers of thinking’ based on the Scheyville train-the-trainer method I had learned in the Australian Army during the Vietnam war.

So, on November 17th, 1979 I met with Edward de Bono, at JFK in New York and put forward my idea of training “teachers of thinking” in a properly instituted school of thinking.

He agreed with the idea and offered to contribute his CoRT Thinking syllabus. We co-founded the School of Thinking in New York City and launched the “Learn-To-Think Project” whose stated goal was to create “500,000 thinking instructors by 1985”.

Because Edward de Bono was still employed as a Professor of Investigative Medicine at Cambridge University in the UK he could only contribute part time. We agreed that he would be appointed Chairman and I would run SOT on a daily basis as Managing Director. Edward and I co-authored and published Learn-To-Think: Coursebook and Instructor’s Manual (Capra/New, Santa Barbara 1982) which set out both the CoRT Thinking lessons and how to train them using the Scheyville train-the-trainer method.

In January 1980 I recruited SOT’s first intake (01/80) of 50 trainees and within 100 days I trained and graduated our first class of ‘thinking instructors’–also the first in the world! Dr Eric Bienstock was a member of that first intake graduating top of the class and subsequently he became the first Chief Instructor SOT.

Today, Eric is Vice Principal SOT and lives in New Jersey with his wife Jane. Their daughter, Elizabeth, was an SOT baby and is now a rising advertising thought-leader in Manhattan. Eric became internationnally recognised for his idea of 3-Minute Thinking.

Happy birthday to the school and all who have trained in her since 1979!!

More SOT history …

One thought on “27 years of training ‘teachers of thinking’ …

  1. Michael,
    Congratulations on successfully bringing the School of Thinking to its 27th birthday. As a father of a 23-year-old, I can well identify with the tender loving care, hard work and attention you have brought to this endeavor. You have every right to be proud of the results of your efforts, and the many thousands of lives that have been improved as a consequence, including my own.
    With love and respect,
    Eric M. Bienstock, Ph.D.
    Vice-Principal, School of Thinking, and 3-Minute Thinker

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