Friday, 14 November 2008


Title: Conflicts: A better way to resolve them

Author: Edward de Bono

Number of pages: 207

Started: 30 October 2008

Finished: 14 November 2008

Opening words:

"We do have to accept that our methods of solving major disputes and conflicts have been crude and primitive, inadequate and expensive, dangerous and destructive. The increasing complexity of the world and the increasing power of our weaponry force us to rethink our conflict-solving methods."

Plot summary:

An introduction to a method of conflict resolution that involves making a map of the conflict 'terrain' and then using lateral thinking to generate alternative solutions.

What I thought:

I thought this book had some really interesting ideas and I find de Bono’s attempt to see old problems from a new angle to be really helpful. This book was proposing moving away from the “Western” approach to conflicts, which is arguing about them, to the Japanese model which involves exploring all ideas, rather than dismissing or arguing about alternative views.

It was an approach that I think could be very effective, but only if you could get all parties to agree to it. It would be a real culture shift for many to be willing to be more open minded. So the issue I struggle with is how realistic it is to expect people to adopt this approach – but as de Bono argues, he is looking for nations to implement it and I think it would have to be at that kind of level for it to be something that became a part of how we deal with conflict.

This book is pretty much out of print now, so it might be difficult to track down a copy.

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