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Maestro: A Surprising Story About Leading by Listening Hardcover – October 15, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; 1 edition (October 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842883
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842880
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #492,310 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Conductor Nierenberg has brought his skills at leading an orchestra to the business world with what he calls the Music Paradigm. Nierenberg teaches executives how to turn a company into a euphonious symphony of work. Simplistic and cloying, Nierenberg teaches his Music Paradigm through a parable; he presents an executive whose company is facing the challenges of the company working together effectively. Determined to discover new methods of leadership, the executive decides to sit in on his daughter's violin teacher's symphony rehearsal. As he sits in over several weeks, he learns not to oversee every note (i.e. micromanage), to lead (not to cheerlead), to listen first, and to create confidence in his employees by letting them take ownership of their decisions. Unfortunately, this executive is so obsessed with learning from the conductor that his mind is always on his next visit, and he often can't wait to get away from an acrimonious conversation at work to sit in with the orchestra. The parable is undermined by the executive's seeming self-regard; whatever lessons he's supposed to learn are lost in his own quest to save himself.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Roger Nierenberg is a highly successful conductor who has performed with some of the most distinguished orchestras in America and Europe. Through his interactive program, The Music Paradigm, he has taught hundreds of top companies around the world how to improve their leadership skills and teamwork. This is his first book. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Roger Nierenberg is a highly successful conductor who has performed with some of the most distinguished orchestras in America and Europe. Through his interactive program, The Music Paradigm, he has taught hundreds of top companies around the world how to improve their leadership skills and teamwork. This is his first book.

Customer Reviews

I would reccomend this book to anyone in a leadership position.
Theresa Fruit
The idea seemed very engaging & quite clever, but the book itself misses the mark & doesn't really hold one's interest.
Mark Hennicke
Overall, though, an interesting read with interesting principles.
Carol C.

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Eric Kassan VINE VOICE on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This amazing book allows one to learn more about both orchestras and leadership. When I first approached this book, I was skeptical. But, over this relatively short book (only a little over a hundred pages), my concerns were all raised and addressed.

While this book did cover much that I had learned elsewhere, it did give me a new appreciation for some of that, and went on to present some ideas that were new to me. My favorite lesson was that, as a conductor does in an orchestra, a business leader has a perspective that is fundamentally different from those he leads. This is not only due to his looking in a different direction, but also because he hears things differently. Many times as a leader, I had not realized this and expected those whom I led to see what I saw. This book has definitely improved my leadership skills.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rachel VINE VOICE on September 15, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
The scene is set with the narrator, the head of a company in a meeting with several department heads, discussing recent failures. Finance, sales, and production blame each other for losses. With this discussion heavy on his mind, the narrator goes home during his daughter's violin lesson and overhears the violin teacher telling the girl about the fantastic new orchestra director he is now working under. The violinist invites the CEO to a rehearsal, and fascination to how well an orchestra holds together under the director's baton grows into deep understanding of much more than music. The dangers of micromanagement, wrong perspectives, and not listening properly are spelled out in an interesting series of lessons during subsequent rehearsals. The CEO is able to present a new dimension of working as a productive team to 250 employees in a dramatic way.

As a musician, I like the book in its obvious references to music and musicianship. Sometimes, I wondered if non-musicians would "get it", though it is written in a very easy to read style. Mostly I had to think about my principal, a micromanager, who I would very much like to read it! Written by a musician, but by someone who is giving himself the position of an industrialist, I have to think that the leader of any type of team or business could benefit by the metaphors constantly brought up to make all work "in perfect harmony". It spells out the importance of the individual, and how a leader can bring out the best cooperation while bringing out the innovative ideas of others.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. Barton on December 26, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Some business lessons are better taught by story than rigorous facts and analysis.

We learned about change and how to prepare and cope with it in Who Moved My Cheese? The same was done in John Kotter's Our Iceberg is Melting.

And now, conductor, Roger Nierenberg explores leadership in a new business fable to add to the list, Maestro.

In Nierenberg's parable, we follow a business executive struggling to motivate his team to work together so they might stop their business' sinking ship.

The executive befriends an orchestra conductor who allows the executive to sit within the orchestra during rehearsals. And it's from that seat that the executive soon learns the value that listening has on leadership.

For instance, from the violin section, one may not understand what the double basses are hearing, or how it may impact how they play. In the same way, one business division may be working in a silo -- not considering its impact on the rest of the company.

And so by learning how a large and diverse orchestra works so flawlessly, the executive finds leadership principles to apply to his own career.

Seeing that it's a parable, it's a bit difficult to select some quick-meaning quotes, but here's a few of my favorites:
"...a strong vision can lead people away from focusing on their part alone toward being aware of the whole. The vision should be lofty enough to stir and challenge people. If it's too limited, then people will feel underutilized and uninspired."

"Tasks that might have previously seemed routine now acquire meaning and beauty. While they are doing their jobs, they're always thinking of the grand vision.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Citizen John TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 6, 2009
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
An executive gets hired to head a division of a large company. The division is in trouble and needs to be put right. The missing ingredient is leadership, and the executive learns what he needs to know through a relationship he builds with a symphony conductor. The conductor shares insights about what gives musicians a "competitive edge." This is a quick read but the part about the executive at the division is not very interesting while the part about the conductor is very insightful.

These short storytelling business books about management skills trace their roots to the 1982 bestseller: The One Minute Manager, by Kenneth H. Blanchard and Spencer Johnson. They teach certain truisms in a short story and hold promise that a few insights will translate to business management success. The trend now is to deliver a story about a business person learning wisdom from leaders outside the normal business environment. The premise is that the conductor has business management skills.

The Maestro, the conductor, gave several lessons on how an orchestra works together in harmony. This was very interesting and well done, with examples that included some interesting musical scores. We learn about the uniqueness of the conductor. The conductor has immediate access to all the information from the podium and provides leadership that results in the whole being much greater than the sum of the parts. Importantly, all the musicians are artists, so they cannot be told how to do their jobs. But everybody has to yield to the vision of the conductor. The conductor is a visionary leader who strives to reduce the gap between the reality of the performance and the vision of the ideal performance.
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