leader's guide to lateral thinking

The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills

Most companies are built for continuous improvement, rather than for discontinuous innovation.

What is the book about?

The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills” is written by Paul Sloane, author of many books on lateral thinking and management.

“The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills” is a book whose goal is to give us the lateral tools and techniques to transform our organization into a powerhouse of innovation. Lateral Thinking, a term coined by Edward de Bono, is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic

What does it cover?

The book starts off by explaining the need for innovation. It then gets into detail on making your organization fertile for creative thinking and being more receptive to it. Along the way, we get to explore various tools and techniques like mind mapping, fishbone analysis, prototyping, etc.

We then get to see how to organize a series of workshops to implement some of this. This is followed by more tools and some lateral thinking exercises

How is it written?

The book is relatively short and is well structured. Every chapter, usually has a lateral thinking puzzle at its end. The writing is non-offensive.

What did I like?

I liked the concept behind this book, that is, using lateral thinking in your organization.

What did I not like?

The single biggest issue I have with this book is its lack of focus on lateral thinking. It might have been just me, but I wanted to see more about lateral thinking in a book which has it has its main subject.

There needs to be a lot more exposition on Lateral Thinking. The link between creative exercises and lateral thinking is not clear. Until this is established, this book feels quite generic.

My Recommendation

“The Leader’s Guide to Lateral Thinking Skills” was ultimately underwhelming. The book, per se, is not bad. It’s just that it didn’t accomplish what it set out to do i.e. instill lateral thinking skills. I found little of lateral thinking and more on improving general management skills. Unfortunately, this has been seen before in other books; Lean Start-up for example.

If you are looking for an above average book on management (not necessarily great), this book will satisfy you. If you are looking for something unique, this book is going to be a disappointment.


Also published on Medium.