- Paperback: 224 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (July 13, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1422139778
- ISBN-13: 978-1422139776
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,524 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Opposable Mind: How Successful Leaders Win Through Integrative Thinking Paperback – July 13, 2009
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But this book doesn't actually show how this could be done and states plainly that this book will not do that in the opening chapter. There were mention of college students using the methods, but I would have been more interested in those same college students' real world application of developing integrative thinking to prove that you could teach new ways of thinking.
If you are part of the kind of people who do business as usual, this book will be good for you. If you think critically, this book will not have anything new.
In thinking about this, I've seen a lot of this in life. I think the book gives a great example:
- In a quote from A.G. Lafley - successful P&G CEO: "Haven't found a creative resolution that meets my standards. That's not the world's fault. I just haven't thought hard enough yet." - exactly makes this point; he doesn't think in tradeoffs - he looks for a synthesis of what he's seen for a new approach.
A lot of what is called "disruptive innovation" today came as this sort of thinking. Hey, you're reading this on Amazon! Do you think Bezos things in terms of tradeoffs - or does he take opposing ideas and blend them into an innovative approach? Food for thought....
First as a management consultant, then as dean of a business school, Roger Martin spent 15 years studying leaders who have exemplary records of success. He looked for shared themes. All of them had intelligence, talent, and a bent toward innovation. No surprise, there. But the common trait that rang the loudest bell was what Martin calls "the predisposition and the capacity to hold two diametrically opposing ideas" at once, "and then, without panicking or simply settling for one alternative or the other, they're able to produce a synthesis that is superior to either opposing idea."
Martin refers to this as "integrative" thinking. Creating a metaphor from a physical feature that distinguishes human beings from nearly every other creature - the opposable thumb - he says everyone is born with an "opposable mind." And the exciting part, he suggests, is that just as we can become more adept at using our thumbs, with patience and practice we can enhance the ability to use our opposable minds to solve complex problems.
Martin provides multiple examples of the mental gymnastics required to strengthen one's problem solving capacity. This book is not easy reading, and it's certainly not the kind of fare that most people would take to the beach. But it's well worth the exercise.