Six Thinking Hats


Six Thinking Hats offers a practical and uniquely positive approach to making decisions and exploring new ideas – and managing group thought and decisions. de Bono, long known as the foremost international authority on conceptual thinking and on the teaching of thinking as a skill recognizes the confusion created by thinking about things in too many ways at once unscrambles the thinking process with his “six thinking hats”

  • WHITE HAT: neutral and objective, concerned with facts and figures
  • RED HAT: the emotional view
  • BLACK HAT: careful and cautious, the “devil’s advocate” hat
  • YELLOW HAT: sunny and positive
  • GREEN HAT: associated with fertile growth, creativity, and new ideas
  • BLUE HAT: cool, the color of the sky, above everything else-the organizing hat

Running your discipleship group gets easier, more powerful, and super-efficient when you can recognize and make space for the different moments of thought and verbal processing. For the disciple, the power of Six Thinking Hats is found in how they can excel as they communicate, lead businesses, and work in groups.

Key Topics or Truths

Team Dynamics
How We Think and Talk
Teaching thinking as a skill
Being Self Aware

This Book is Good For...

This book is great for everyone. Simply put you will be a better thinker, be better at communicating your thoughts and feelings, and be a better team player.

How I Use this Book to make disciples

I always reference this book during my first session of Discipleship One and I encourage everybody I train to use it. As I prepare people for their year-long journey, their year-long discussion, I give out a handout describing each hat. I do a quick intro of De Bono’s method and purpose. Then I give a few examples in each hat category. I walk them through a thought process like Sally’s (see the real-life story below) showing them how they can recognize “how” they are talking to me or God and how they can walk through each of the hats to think well about what they are learning. You will be amazed at how much better disciples communicate with you and how improved their ability to assimilate and apply God’s simple truths become. In Discipleship One, this is just an intro, a help. We do not read the book.

In Discipleship Two or Three, we read the book in its entirety gaining more depth and broadening the truths about God’s design of our brains, personalities, and thinking styles. We read this book in its entirety and review it upon completion. If I have disciples read this in Discipleship Two, I read it in the last half of the year.

You should read this now if you have never read it before. It will supercharge your ability to guide the thinking process. It will also help you control the group because in disciple-making groups you should be the only one wearing the blue hat. You cannot let them steal it or you will go off the rails. Because I use this as an intro in Discipleship One, disciples have already heard me say lightheartedly, “I will be wearing the blue hat. You don’t get to take that away.” And, when someone in the group gets ready to take control, they hear me say it again, “Hey, Bob. You’re stealing my blue hat. Give it back.”

As a decision scientist, I love this book when I am getting teams to solve problems and get better answers. It helps people frame their thoughts, ideas, and responses. They simply think better. As a disciple maker, I love this book because it gives disciples and myself a framework to talk. I can say, “Give me your red hat thoughts,” and they know it is safe to just talk about how they feel. I can say, “Think green,” to get them to listen to the Holy Spirit for a new approach. This book is great!

Real Life Story

You could see the angst and anxiety building in her face as the Holy Spirit prompted her about tithing. It was her third highlight on money and finances. She had not planned it and in her mind, it just seemed unfair and impossible to give away 10% of her gross earnings. Sally wanted to push back but you could tell that she was already feeling shame for challenging God. “Hey, Sally. Just take a beat. Take a deep breath. Do you remember the six thinking hats? Just for one minute, I want you to put on the red hat, the emotion hat, and feel free to just tell me how you feel. No black hat, no judgement.” Sally poured out her fears, hesitation, and shame because she knew that she could just be her feelings in that moment. “Okay, now let’s put on the white hat. What is the data? How can you get there?” As we worked through most of the hats, Sally began to organize her thoughts, be free in her feelings, and reach out to God. God was working as she worked the way he designed her to process. Sally found freedom. Sally found an answer.

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De Bono
Book Details
Reading Time
One Week
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This book is about how we think. It is what I call an umbrella book. It will help disciples at every step of the process.

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