Lindner dean Marianne Lewis co-authors new book

‘Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems’ addresses tensions

Marianne Lewis, PhD, dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, has co-written a book titled “Both/And Thinking’: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems.”

Lewis co-authored “Both/And Thinking” — to be released on Aug. 9 — with Wendy K. Smith, PhD, Emma Smith Morris Professor of Management and co-director of the University of Delaware's Lerner Women’s Leadership Initiative.

“I want to start changing the way we look at problems — and the ways in which we’re solving them,” said Lewis, also a professor of management at Lindner.

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"Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems" will be available to the public on Aug. 9.

In “Both/And Thinking,” Lewis and Smith call on 20-plus years of research to reveal that embracing competing demands simultaneously enables more creative and lasting solutions. “Both/And Thinking” contains practical advice and fascinating stories — including first-hand anecdotes from global companies such as IBM, LEGO and Unilever, as well as from startups and nonprofits.

“Although our research has always been in organizations, the more we studied tensions, the more we came to see them in our lives, relationships and society,” Lewis said. “Tensions are part of the human experience. That understanding pushed me to expand my research focus over time, resulting in this book that is written for parents and partners, as well as leaders and professionals.”

According to Lewis, leading in higher education means “navigating tensions.”

“Our attention and resources are continually pulled in opposing directions. Do we focus on knowledge creation or revenue generation? Quality and selectivity or access and inclusion? Research, teaching or service?” Lewis said. “Clearly the answers are yes. So, the real question is: How? Facing dilemmas, our common approach is to make trade-offs. We focus on the most urgent, rewarded or comfortable option. Such either/or thinking is limiting at best, destructive at worst. There is a better way.” 

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Marianne Lewis, PhD, dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business, co-wrote “Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems" with Wendy K. Smith, PhD, Emma Smith Morris Professor of Management and co-director of the University of Delaware's Lerner Women’s Leadership Initiative. Photo by Gavin Vargas.

“Both/And Thinking” has already elicited the attention of renowned business thought leaders.

“At a time when humanity is facing some of its greatest challenges, every leader must know how to turn trade-offs into opportunities, tension into creativity, and discomfort into ambition,” said Paul Polman, MBA/MA ’79, Hon ’09, and former CEO of Unilever. “Wendy Smith and Marianne Lewis show us how.”

Adam Grant, a New York Times bestselling author and host of the TED podcast “WorkLife,” put “Both/And Thinking” on his list of “The 10 New Books to Enrich Your Thinking.”

Tensions are part of the human experience. That understanding pushed me to expand my research focus over time, resulting in this book that is written for parents and partners, as well as leaders and professionals.

Marianne Lewis, PhD, dean of the Carl H. Lindner College of Business

“Life is full of paradoxes, and too often we ignore them or try to erase them when we should be learning how to manage them,” Grant said. “Wendy Smith and Marianne Lewis are the world's leading experts on the topic, and grappling with their ideas is a valuable step toward becoming more comfortable with tensions and trade-offs.”

“Both/And Thinking” has been named to The Next Big Idea Club’s list of “most promising, must-read nonfiction titles” released in August 2022, and Smith and Lewis’s problem-solving approach has recently been featured in Fast Company and MarketWatch, along with other prominent media platforms.

About Dean Lewis

Lewis was appointed dean of Lindner in March 2019, rejoining UC from Cass (now Bayes) Business School of City, University of London. She started her academic career at UC in 1997 as an assistant professor of management. From 2002 to 2006, Lewis served as Lindner’s associate dean for innovation and program development. She became director of the Lindner Business Honors program Kolodzik Business Scholars in 2007, and in 2009 was named associate dean for undergraduate programs. In 2014, she served as a UK Fulbright scholar, before being named dean of Cass Business School in 2015.  

Featured image: Copies of “Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems” sit on a table after Lewis’ workshop with Lindner staff and faculty. All photos by Gavin Vargas.

Marianne on the Move

Beginning this fall semester, Lewis will embark on a national tour, meeting with UC alumni to provide updates about interdisciplinary initiatives at Lindner. At each event, Lewis will engage with alumni about problem solving, leadership, entrepreneurship and more. Each attendee will receive a copy of “Both/And Thinking.”

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