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The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations Hardcover – September 30, 2008


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The Art of the Turnaround: Creating and Maintaining Healthy Arts Organizations + Leading Roles: 50 Questions Every Arts Board Should Ask + The Cycle: A Practical Approach to Managing Arts Organizations
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 204 pages
  • Publisher: Brandeis (September 30, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1584657359
  • ISBN-13: 978-1584657354
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #92,703 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“This book is a valuable management resource; arts administrators could do worse than emulate Kaiser’s work ethic, boldness of vision and ability to learn from mistakes. Those interested in keeping America’s arts institutions vital ignore his insights at their peril.” —Opera News

“To some, there may be a touch of irony: the man who presided over some of the Royal Opera House’s darkest hours has produced a self-help book aimed at pulling failing arts organisations out of trouble. Michael Kaiser’s The Art of the Turnaround offers 10 basic rules on how to save failing arts organisations, some of which were learned the hard way in London.” —The Guardian (London)

“Kaiser presents a ten-step . . . program to save or revive struggling arts organizations. The author’s program is . . . practical, and he follows it with a series of case studies in which he works his magic over and over again. . . . He offers . . . interesting anecdotes, and the portrayal of the logistics of traveling shows deserves particular mention.”—Choice

“[An] extraordinary book that serves as both cautionary tale and practical primer in crisis response. . . . Whether you are serving in an entry level or executive leadership position, from crew chief to executive director, there is much to be learned from in Michael Kaiser’s The Art of the Turnaround.”—Theatre Design & Technology

Review

“Michael Kaiser has a unique combination of artistic vision and executive talent that makes him one of the most capable leaders in the performing arts. This book tells the story of his impressive leadership. As my brother said in 1960, "The New Frontier for which I campaign in public life can also be a New Frontier for American art," and he'd be very proud of all that Michael Kaiser has accomplished." (Senator Edward M. Kennedy)

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Customer Reviews

This book is beautifully written and very inspiring.
Amazon Customer
Kaiser's work as described in his book serves as a guide that can be generalized to challenges and opportunities facing the arts in America and elsewhere.
B. Grant
Michael Kaiser is an amazing manager and very talented!!!
Ginger More

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Don Eitel on October 20, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Michael Kaiser has a great reputation for being an arts administrator and for being an effective leader during troubling times. This book takes you through his process and philosophy for turning companies around. The points he makes and his ideas are very practical. I found myself writing down notes and ideas on how I could apply them to our own company. The meat of the book is his case studies, in which he takes you through five organizations he has worked for and what he did to turn the company around. This is the best book I have read on administration in the arts. Mainly because it isn't academic and gives you applicable ideas the moment you start reading.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence D. Devoe on April 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As a former arts organization executive officer and board member, I purchased this book based on its excellent reviews in several magazines and internet sites. I would agree that its anecdotal approach makes it quite readable. For those who are really interested in taking on the heavy lifting of sustaining or resurrecting performing arts companies, it lists most of the rudimentary issues that must be addressed. However, Mr. Kaiser offers more charming anecdotes than bedrock substance. Granted a standard text on the "how-to" of arts management is very dry reading (I already have a few of these). What would have made this book more valuable to more serious readers is at least one technical chapter (possibly as an appendix) that anatomizes the process of creating and supporting a successful arts company. Perhaps Mr. Kaiser will consider doing this in a second edition.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Tess Samuel on December 26, 2008
Format: Hardcover
The remarkable thing about this book - to one who ploughs through a few of them - is that it is readable! Most books on any aspect of fundraising are prescriptive, bulleted to death, and lend themselves readily to Power Point presentations. Can I be more abusive of the genre than that?

Mr. Kaiser's book makes none of these mistakes. Instead he gives you a superb distillation of his experience in a neat package - up front. Busy managers and other important folk need read no further. They would be idiots if they did not since the bulk of the book is a series of "cases" - tales - about the experiences that led Mr. Kaiser to his list of essentials of charity management.

He calls it "turnaround". And I'm sure the principles apply very well to any turnarounds you might be planning. But the real reason for persisting with this book is that its applications are much broader than that.

It's a great guide for any ED struggling with his or her board - and there are many insights that you can relate to those struggles and principles you can adhere to that will serve you well.

It's a brilliant training tool for anyone who wants to teach fundraising in most of its varied aspects - how do you present the organization to prospective or past donors as a viable entity they should be thrilled to support? ("invest in" if you want the current parlance.) How do you identify and know these donors? How do you sustain relations with these donors? And how in the long term do you turn these donors into the bedrock of your charity?

Working through Mr. Kaiser's cases with students, and even practised fundraisers, would be a stirring way to energize, or re-energize, your fundraising staff.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By S. K. Hwang on October 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I've been an arts administrator for 13 years and have a masters degree in the field. I felt the book was very readable, but lacked applicability to smaller arts organizations....ones that make up the majority of our arts community.

The over-arching message of, [programming and marketing are key, and should be the last thing cut in a financial crisis], is universal. But beyond that, the anecdotal approach to the book leaves the smaller organization needing more guidance. Where's the book for the organizations that will NEVER have access to the Jumbo Tron?

The author was more successful in a speaking engagement than in this book.

Not worth it in my humble opinion.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 25, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Hearing Michael Kaiser in person is what prompted me to explore this very interesting book. Kaiser has had remarkable success in nurturing several professional arts organizations to good fiscal and organizational success.

I was part of a group of several hundred patrons and representatives of the arts to hear Mr. Kaiser interviewed by Maestro Michael Stern of the Kansas City Symphony. Honestly, I had no idea what to expect. It quickly became apparent that Kaiser is very smart, has an abundance of common sense accompanied by great instincts, and provides leadership that keeps people focused on the mission. The bulk of the interview was his "off-the-cuff" review of ten principles that have guided him in turning around struggling organizations. Also obvious, was that these ten principles apply not just to the arts but to many organizations, especially NPO's that rely on donors for their existence.

Kaiser's principles are profoundly simple, yet powerful if diligently and faithfully applied. Immediately, I ordered copies of his book for key people on a number of NPO boards on which I serve. The principles are found right up front and the rest of the book illustrates them by recounting Kaiser's personal experiences of turnarounds. I highly recommend this book.
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