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Michael Hewitt-Gleeson.

Michael Hewitt-Gleeson (born Melbourne 1947) is the co-founder and principal of the School of Thinking (SOT) that was initially based in New York for 14 years (1974-1989).

Presently operating as an internet service that is based in Melbourne, SOT lessons are available in over 46 countries and have already reached over 70 million people worldwide since 1979. [1] His invention, SOTNET/Trainee-Trainer-Interactive, has made SOT one of the world's largest training school. [2]

Hewitt-Gleeson is the No. 2 world authority on lateral thinking, [1] author of Software For Your Brain, and inventor of cognetics. [2] In 1984-85, Hewitt-Gleeson brought cognetics to interactive TV with his design of Viewer-driven Television (VTV). [2] VTV used an interactive television format where the programming was driven in real time by the viewers, not by the station.

Academic and professional background

Hewitt-Gleeson holds a Doctor of Philosophy in Cognitive Science, International College, Los Angeles (1980). In 1980, Cambridge Professor Edward de Bono was Hewitt-Gleeson's tutor for the world's first PhD in Lateral Thinking in which the latter proposed the Theory of Newsell. At the commencement of the project, Professor de Bono wrote on August 17, 1978:

"Your application of the principles and attitudes of lateral thinking to selling in your Newsell approach is, to me, an interesting and powerful approach to an important area. What particularly interests me is your proposal to test theoretical constructs in a very practical manner in your field work." [1]

Hewitt-Gleeson's other professional appointments include:

  • President, Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT), New York (1983)
  • Managing Director, Edward de Bono & Associates Inc, New York (1977)
  • Co-founder with Edward de Bono, School of Thinking, New York (1979)
  • Principal, School of Thinking, Melbourne (1988).

Hewitt-Gleeson has been an international consultant on strategy to international organizations and corporations from the United Nations, and the White House to IBM, Fujitsu, BMW, and Jack Welch of General Electric. [2] He has lectured widely in more than 15 nations in the world, including Canada, China, France, Israel, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom, apart from the United States, and Australia.

His works has been featured in Forbes, Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Personal Success (cover story May '91), Readers Digest (April 1983, cover story, worldwide editions), and Wall Street Journal, amongst several others, and also in numerous radio and television programs worldwide.

Fallout with Edward de Bono

In New York in 1985, due to a dispute over publishing rights and attributions, Hewitt-Gleeson closed down the School of Thinking, which he started with de Bono. In 1988, Hewitt-Gleeson re-started the School of Thinking in Melbourne with a new syllabus designed by him, apparently after FBI investigations into Edward de Bono's version of the School of Thinking's claim to have certain publishing rights to the CoRT Thinking Syllabus.

It transpired that Edward de Bono, as principal shareholder of the School of Thinking, had offered conflicting publishing rights both to the School of Thinking on the one hand and to Pergamon Press (owned by British billionaire-publisher, Robert Maxwell) on the other hand, and so a legal dispute arose.

Hewitt-Gleeson and other smaller shareholders (Dr Eric Bienstock and Alexandra Jane Noble) claimed moral rights but were unable to match Robert Maxwell's legal funds especially in the event that Edward de Bono chose to take his friend Maxwell's side. These smaller shareholders called for an investigation by the FBI. The school in New York was closed down in 1985 and Edward de Bono was interviewed by Scotland Yard.

There was also a dispute over the School of Thinking's Six Thinking Caps.

Dr Edward de Bono and Dr Michael Hewitt-Gleeson co-authored an early version of the PMI lesson in the Learn-To-Think Coursebook and Instructors Manual (1982 Capra New). This book became the subject of a cover story on all international editions of the Readers Digest in April 1983. Today's equivalent would be like being on OPRAH! As a result, the PMI lesson reached over 68 million readers worldwide. This was the widest ever broadcast of the PMI thinking skill. Developed by the Cognitive Research Trust (CoRT), the PMI became one of the most widely taught of all the School of Thinking lessons—the 59 Minute Course in Thinking.

The icon that featured in this Readers Digest story is the original School of Thinking Cap. In September 1983, Michael Hewitt-Gleeson, Eric Bienstock and Edward de Bono were brainstorming ways to exploit the enormous publicity created for SOT from the Readers Digest cover story. They jointly developed the idea of 'coloured thinking caps' taken from the icon in the magazine. They considered getting baseball caps with the SOT logo or headbands made in different colours. Edward de Bono suggested that the caps be sold in sets of six and in summary de Bono wrote: "Each is of a different colour and each bears the logo of the School of Thinking. Instead of caps elasticised head bands could be used".

Six Thinking Hats was subsequently published in 1985. In the latest edition Edward de Bono writes: "The Six Thinking Hats method may well be the most important change in human thinking for the past 2300 years". Yet, there is no attribution for the origin of the idea in any editions of the book. The matter has been raised by Hewitt-Gleeson with de Bono on a number of occasions but no attribution has yet been given.

Then appeared an online statement in de Bono's official website dated July 22, 2002, where de Bono suddenly denied any involvement "in the ownership or running of [SOT]", although he agreed that "there may be material derived from, borrowed, or taken from [his] work". [3] In that statement, de Bono added: "Michael no longer has any connection whatever with me. He is not authorised to use my intellectual property in any way. Any courses he delivers are not endorsed by me in any way. I shall also take legal action for any infringement of copyright".

Although Edward de Bono and Michael Hewitt-Gleeson have since resumed their friendship, Hewitt-Gleeson's legal advisors have advised that this curious statement, still on the internet, is defamatory. Edward de Bono has given repeated assuranced to Hewitt-Gleeson that the statement will be removed but has failed to do so claiming that 'my brother Peter is the culprit and will not remove it'. The matter may yet become the basis for a legal dispute in Melbourne.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ICMI" defined multiple times with different content Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "ICMI" defined multiple times with different content
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Celebrity Speakers homepage
  3. Edward de Bono's official website: Infringement
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