Ian Gilbert

Andy Gilbert

Ian Gilbert is an award-winning author and editor, a leading educational speaker and entrepreneur and a man who the IB magazine name as one of its top 15 educational "visionaries". He established Independent Thinking in 1994 as a platform for leading practitioners to share their work in bringing out the best in children.

Independent Thinking is renowned across the education world for encouraging schools, leaders, teachers and children to think hard about how and why they do the things they do.

Andy Gilbert developed the acclaimed GO MAD (Make a Difference) thinking system which is used by people in over 40 countries. He is passionate about helping people develop their ability to think in a solution focused way and spends most of his time facilitating leadership and results acceleration programmes.

Go MAD Thinking is a leadership development consultancy providing practical tools proven to accelerate results and enable change across the business world through engaging people to think in a solution focused way.

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BUY Gilbert Filbert and his big MAD box

Gilbert Filbert and his big MAD box is the story of one boy's desire to make a difference and help his mother find her smile again.

It is a book about a boy, a box and a battle for a penguin but, more than that, it is a tale about families, hope and how to make dreams come true.

About the book

The powerful set of thinking tools included in this book will help young people to develop habits of the mind that will last a life time.

The unique collaboration between Ian Gilbert and Andy Gilbert bring the worlds of business and education together to introduce a powerful series of thinking tools to show young people how to set about turning wishes into reality. Drawing on problem thinking and success strategies used by leading businesses and organisations, this entertaining, accessible and humorous book is designed to show young people the power of having a goal, having a plan and making a difference.

Surrounding the story of when Gilbert’s school project challenges him to ‘make a difference’, grandma introduces him to the mysterious big MAD box. Each of the sides helps Gilbert to focus on a different aspect of the challenge: setting a goal, identifying the reasons behind the goal, developing self-belief, possibility thinking, making a plan and taking action. Finally, Gilbert learns to appreciate what’s inside and celebrate his unique qualities and attributes, which have helped him to succeed at his challenge of helping his mother find her smile again.


In the Press

Gilbert's deceptively simple, entertaining story contains profound insights about how to feel self-belief and get things done. This engaging story could be adapted for any age as it works on many levels, from its laugh-out-loud quips about educational motivation to the genuinely moving story of Gilbert’s odyssey.

An invaluable way for adults to help children think through different scenarios and come to a solution by themselves. Children will find this book both interesting and informative – helping them work logically through life’s problems. Philosophical and entertaining – this book works on many different levels.

I read this book with a 13-year-old young man who struggles with relationships and communication. He absolutely loved the book and it has allowed us to build up a relationship, something that we had struggled with before. We talk fondly of Gilbert and our new catchphrase is, ‘Now what would grandma say? Is this one of those opportunities in a hat?’

Tricia Lennie, English teacher and writer

Caroline Roche, Chartered School Librarian, Eltham College

Shona Crichton, Principal, Springwell SEMH Academy

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