It is another of Edward de Bono's pioneering efforts, and should become a standard work for anyone concerned with management or decision-making. It fits directly in with his approach to thinking: the building up and enrichment of perceptual maps so that the thinker can find his way about effectively. He believes that perception is by far the most important part of thiniking since the processing can now be delegated to computers.
Research work on the brain has suggested that our usual thinking, dominated by language and logic, takes place in the left side of the brain. The right side of the brain works in images, whole patterns and undefined feelings - all of which cannot be verbalised. This non-verbal type of thinking often works as what is loosely called 'intuition'.
Verbal descriptions of complex management situations are necessarily lodged in the left side of our brain. In order for us to be able to use the right side of the brain we need a repertoire of non-verbal images. That is precisely what this book sets out to provide. The images provided by the drawings in this books enrich the perceptual map of the executive. The images allow him to add some right-brain thinking to his his usual left-brain thinking. This makes it easier for the executive to recognise situations in a flash instead of having to build them up piecemeal.
The book has been called an Atlas because it is a reference work of visual images. The word 'atlas; also explains the second purpose of the book: to provide a swift and poerful new communication method for management. Just as reference to a page and grid number in an ordinary atlas is a convenient, so one executive can refer to a particular image in this book in order to communicate swiftly and effectively about a situation. In this way feelings and 'flavours' do not have to be verbalised. This communication system can have several advantages, one of which is to avoid the lengthy verbiage that may otherwise be necessary to describe a situation. All an executive may need to communicated may be: "With regard to our producitivity drive, see page 16.'
Dr de Bono has always been concerned with what he calls 'operacy', which is the thinking involved in getting things done - in contrast to descriptive thinking. It will be interesting to see how management will respont to this bold new initiative.