The Opposable Mind by Roger Martin


I am always looking to improve myself and learn about the newest ideas in business. ‘The Opposable Mind’ by Roger Martin will challenge the way that you think. Mr Martin is widely considered to be one of the foremost minds in the field of integrative thinking. He is currently the Dean at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and also contributes to the Harvard Business Review, The Financial Times, and The Washington Post.

Integrative thinking, as defined by the Rotman School of Management, is

“the ability to constructively face the tensions of opposing models, and instead of choosing one at the expense of the other, generating a creative resolution of the tension in the form of a new model that contains elements of the individual models, but is superior to each.”[1]

As learnt in the book, integrative thinking makes the assumption that current business models are not the real solution to various problems, but with the combination of models, a holistic solution can be developed which takes the best out of present models to differentiate the company from its competitors.

The Opposable Minds is a very easy book to read on a complex issue. Many of the concepts are illustrated with real examples from companies that most people know. Did you know that the Four Seasons Hotel chain was developed based on this style of thinking? Did you know that hotels now offer free soap, shampoo, and other amenities due to the fact that Four Seasons Hotels merged two different business models together and improved upon?

The application of integrative thinking is also given with examples from Proctor & Gamble, eBay, and CityTV. Aids are also used to help visualize the concepts and ease oneself into the application of the concepts.

I highly recommend any business leader or anyone interested in strategy development to pick up “The Opposable Minds” from Mr Roger Martin at your local bookstore.

If you have any business books that you recommend, please feel free to pass them onto me.



[1] “Definition of Integrative Thinking”. Rotman School of Management Website, University of Toronto.



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