More Truth on Michael Hewitt-Gleeson and Edward de Bono.

I was searching around tonight and came across Michael Hewitt-Gleeson’s blog. It was interesting to see he is still having an argument with Edward de Bono. He talks of versions of the truth.

Here is my addition to the truth:

I helped Micheal with his web site for about 5 years, then when I moved overseas he found another non-paid helper to take advantage of and never talked to me again. He demanded the domain name (which I had let him use during a period I was not actively consulting). The whole quick and instant cut of communication was upsetting, and quite frankly I felt used and abused. Of course he had no valid claim on the domain at all.

Micheal’s ideas (if in fact they are his at all) are quite interesting and useful. There is no rocket science to his theories at all. Really it comes down to brainstorming and then motivating yourself. Apply it to a business, idea, relationship and you should see better results than you did before.

For the record here is Edward’s take on the issue:



There have been so many false claims by Michael Hewitt Gleeson that it is time to tell the truth.

Michael tells how he met me in Melbourne in 1972 and I told him about my work in thinking. Later in 1979 (his date) he asked me if he could set up the Edward de Bono School of Thinking in New York.

Obviously my work already existed otherwise there would have been no point in setting up such a school. So my work in schools pre-dated the setting up of the School of Thinking by many years. Once the School was set up it taught my work exclusively – at least for most of its life.

Michael also claims that he left New York as the result of a legal dispute because, he claims, I had granted the rights in my work both to Pergamon Press and to the School. If I did not possess those rights how could I have granted them to anyone? This was never the basis of the legal problem which resulted in Michael leaving New York. Those legal problems were to do with something quite different. Pergamon had publishing rights on my work. The School had the right to use the material directly in their teaching.

The work mentioned above is the CoRT programme of tools for perceptual thinking such as PMI, CAF, C&S, OPV, etc. This work had been in use in schools many years before the School of Thinking was set up. In no way was this material developed by the School or by Michael. The School of Thinking asked if they could publish a course book with these tools in it. I agreed and the whole book consisted of these tools. Because there were a few pages at the end of the book authored by Michael, and out of courtesy to him, his name was also on the book. This does not in any way make him the originator or owner of these tools. These remain my intellectual property. Any claims by Michael to the contrary are deliberately false and misleading.

My books on lateral thinking were written in the early 1970’s. Again this was years before the School was ever set up. I am not aware that Michael is an expert in lateral thinking – as he claims.

Michael did write a thesis for a correspondence college. This was almost totally based on my work so as his supervisor I could hardly avoid granting him a Ph.D. To the best of my recollection there was very little that was new and original in the book.


Michael also claims that he and the School invented the Six Thinking Hats. This is untrue and complete rubbish. Eric Bienstock was in London and came to see me. I told him that I had worked out the concept of the Six Thinking Hats. This was based on my experience in medicine and the way chemicals in the brain sensitise certain circuits according to different moods.

Eric relayed this to Michael and I may indeed have communicated the concept directly to Michael. It was then used in the Readers’ Digest article. Since the Edward de Bono School of Thinking was set up to teach my work I saw no harm in telling them about my latest work.

In no way whatever was the concept designed by Michael or the School of Thinking. Indeed the manuscript of the book was already with the publishers, who have a long lead time before publication of the book in 1985.

I want to state categorically that the Six Thinking Hats was entirely my intellectual property and claims to the contrary are false and rubbish.

I think it sad and unfortunate that anyone who claims thinking ability should base his work on stolen intellectual property. If Michael wants to use my work he should take out a licence, agree to pay royalties and stop making false claims as to the origin of the work.

It may even be that those who have paid money to take Michael’s courses might have a legal claim for a refund if they were led to believe that the material they were being taught had been developed by Michael.

As regards Michael’s book ‘Software for the Mind’, this was actually a title I had suggested to him.


If you are reading this I would like you to make these matters known as widely as possible. Michael should teach his own work not steal mine and claim it as his own.

Edward de Bono
21st APRIL 2008

Here is Michael’s take:

PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT: On the eve of my CHINA X10 lecture tour I see that Peter and Edward de Bono have referred business people in China and elsewhere to their blog version of the origin of ‘Thinking Hats’ and Brain Software” and they have asked people to ’spread their word’ because it is ‘The Truth”.

I have been advised to post here my version of the origin of ‘Thinking Hats’ and Brain Software”.

Actually, I am pleased that Edward has now committed his version in writing after all these years. The errors, libels and false claims he has posted can be now more easily shown to be at odds with the evidence. While he provides no facts (dates, names, third parties etc) in his version, anyone reading my version will be able to compare and trace timelines and have the facts corroborated.

Why is Edward de Bono so obsessed with me? I don’t know. I do not teach his work. I do not teach his CoRT Thinking. I do not teach his ‘Six Thinking Hats’. I draw no income from any of his works. The School of Thinking is pro bono not de Bono.

The work I teach is original, like ‘Brain Software’ and ‘X10 Thinking’, and I suggest Edward should just mind his own business and let me do the same. If he feels he has a basis for legal action then why does he not take such action himself?

It is mischievous and even bullying to incite other people to rise up and take action against me and SOT for no good reason other than his own personal obsession. It’s also not a good look. It is second-rate ‘lateral thinking’ and sets a poor example to those students and trainees who expect better leadership from their teachers.

I have made plans to be commercially very active in the China market. Accordingly, I have forwarded de Bono’s post to my lawyers in Melbourne, Shanghai and New York with instructions to protect my name, SOT brand and business potential in the China market should Edward de Bono, his representatives, publishers or agents infringe our rights in any way.


  1. jennifer.goddard

    It is interesting how de Bono and Hewitt-Gleeson have each claimed the same thing. Like any IP developed collaboratively, who really owns it.

    Based on different reading and discussions with people like Tony Buzan, we came up with the term “Upgrade Your Neck-Top Computer” a few years ago and then found out that hewitt-gleeson talked about something similar in a book that we haven’t read. Does that mean we can’t use it?

  2. I believe it is a more specific idea than that.

    My beef with with Michael is that he uses people until they are not useful to him any more.

    He preaches ethics and morals, yet does not follow them himself.

    To be frank I miss his friendship, but I was warned b others that he would do this.

  3. “the secret of creativity is knowing how to hide your sources” (Albert Einstein) – So edward never gives credit.

    “If at first an idea does not seem absurd then there is probably no use for it” (Albert einstein) This is the basis for Edwards Lateral Thinking methodology.

    Edward never gives any credit to anyone for ideas which he uses all the time. I have personal experience of this. Yet he deserves much credit for his pioneering work. His unfortunate ego is now approaching obsession.

    Michael should renounce his worthless doctorate since he himself questions the credibility of its source.

  4. Not just burnt but scalded

    People should realise that de Bono is a p*********** l**r, or let’s say he has serious issues with the truth, or again, there is a big difference with what he says to one person, how this gets told to another person and his eventual actions. These may be different to the ones you may have thought you may have reached an agreement on. He just cannot keep his word, so don’t take him at it. Never be too in awe of him that you feel you cannot approach any ambiguity. His ambiguities are generally intentional.

    There is a lie-test that can be applied, a tic that he makes just before lying. He’ll be careful about this now. But he did it when explaining about Michael. His close circle know his issues with the truth but nobody publicizes it because it doesn’t suit their business interests. By now they’re too caught up in it themselves. Even his staff know this. This is not the only problem with de Bono. There is a more dangerous sub-layer than that. Females who don’t welcome his advances are told they don’t have a sense of humour. If they come from another country he may put the blame on the cultural divide. Never his fault. And by the time he’s asked about it even the memory of it will have flown.. The female will generally be “convinced” to drop charges. Mostly people walk away. Very few stay and fight. The mobbing pressure is very strong. Scouts sent out to dissuade legal suits.

    One should watch it before investing with de Bono. Usually, what he will use is your capital to do free “leg-work,” to do his marketing, use your know-how or ideas – never acknowledge these, free-ride on your reputation, use your energy, sabotage your joint projects, use you point blank. Then he will say “oh but so and so had already made other arrangements.” Or some other excuse or claim not to know about the new arrangement he himself would have put in place and may admit to only years later. The fault is never directly his. He will “forget” agreements. Nothing but trouble. The man is not worth it. Don’t be duped by the accent and the reputation either.

    Re-investigation overdue.

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