A deceptively simple but consistently provocative appeal for perceptual (as opposed to structured) thinking from the author of Six Action Shoes (the trifle reviewed below), Tactics (1984), and several other works dealing with powers of the mind. As before, de Bono (an M.D. who no longer practices) challenges traditional Western thought processes on grounds that they are unequal to the task of solving the Global Village's many pressing problems. According to the author, orthodox methods of thinking are based on absolutes, a rigid insistence on facts, and other unproductive habits dating back to an ancient time when truth seekers like Aristotle relied on reason or its corollaries (analysis, logic, etc.) to free themselves from the bonds of dogma. While essentially adversarial methods are fine for achieving technological gains or winning arguments, de Bono says, such systems lack the originality and creativity required to deal with socioeconomic as well as political affairs. Describing the human brain as a self-organizing marvel, the author makes a strong case for what he calls ``water logic,'' a purportedly natural activity of the physical organ's neural network. By de Bono's account, water logic represents a fluid approach that provides the basis for new ideas, humor, insights, poetry, and other of civilization's more fruitful pleasures. On occasion, de Bono can be decidedly arbitrary in advancing his theories. Without much supporting evidence, for example, he dismisses language as a trap and characterizes humor as the intellect's most significant behavior (owning mainly to its asymmetry). In aid of breakthrough conjecture, however, the author is never less than thought-provoking, and his witty, allusive text is notable for its wealth of illuminating digressions. An offbeat treatise that charts a course out of the mainstream and along the varied routes that, perhaps, lead to unconventional wisdom.
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