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The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life Paperback – September 24, 2002
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If that sounds a little too airy-fairy for you, don't be put off; this is no mere self-improvement book, with a wimpy mandate to transform its readers into "nicer" people. Instead, it's a collection of illustrations and advice that suggests a way to change your entire outlook on life and, in the process, open up a new realm of possibility. Consider, for example, the practice of "Giving an A," whether to yourself or to others. Not intended as a way to measure someone's performance against standards, this practice instead recognizes that "the player who looks least engaged may be the most committed member of the group," and speaks to their passion rather than their cynicism. It creates possibility in an interaction and does away with power disparities to unite a team in its efforts. Or consider "Being the Board," where instead of defining yourself as a playing piece, or even as the strategist, you see yourself as the framework for the entire game. In this scenario, assigning blame or gaining control becomes futile, while seeking to become an instrument for effective partnerships becomes possible.
Packed with such examples of personal and professional interactions, the book presents complex ideas on perception and recognition in a readable, useable style. The authors' combined, eclectic experience in music and painting (as well as family therapy and executive workshops) infuses their examples with vibrant color and sound. The relevance to corporate situations and relationships is well developed, and they don't rely on dry case studies to do it. Indeed, this book assumes the emotional intelligence and desire to engage of its reader, promising access to the rewards of that door-opening notion--possibility--in return. --S. Ketchum --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Benjamin Zander is the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic and is well known for his orchestra's passionate performances. Rosamund Stone Zander is an executive coach, family therapist, and private practitioner who brings enormous psychological perspective to enhancing human behavior. They have written a fascinating book in which they alternate as voices in sharing principles and examples in the form of compelling stories.
They have striven to make what they share ' . . . simple, not easy.' The idea is to help you create in yourself and in others 'transformational' improvements.
They share a series of perspectives designed to improve your understanding of what and where the potential is.
First, humans tend to focus on very few things, missing most of what is going on around them. By shifting focus, you will see many opportunities for the first time. Much of this book is designed to do that for you. You will visit our old friend the nine dot square and be reminded that connecting all of the dots in four lines without lifting your writing instrument from the paper requires you to go outside the box that we mentally draw at the circumference of the dots. Be careful about your assumptions! They can fence you in!
Second, measurements can cause us to focus too narrowly on where we are today and encourage scarcity thinking -- the glass is half empty. The Zanders encourage thinking about the glass as half full, citing the well-known perspective of optimism as being empowering. This can help you 'step into a university of possibility.' I like to call this pursuing the ideal practice.Read more ›
The two authors come at the issues of leadership and personal growth from different perspectives: He from the point of view of an orchestra conductor, and She from that of a psychotherapist. Benjamin Zander fortunately does not try to make the threadbare comparison that being a conductor is like being a CEO; rather, he simply uses his personal experiences as a leader to help make his points with interesting examples related to his career as conductor.
It's a worthwhile read (and easy, too, at 200 pages) that at the very least is inspiring and enjoyable, but also likely to make positive changes in your life if you apply the practices the authors describe.
Another problem was that almost all the real life examples Zander uses are about orchestra. I appreciate music, but I wished there could be more variety. I got sick of the repetition. Worst of all, almost all of Zander's personal stories are about times he did something amazing. At first I was impressed, but after a while, it sounded egotistical. He should have incorporated more examples from everyday people and avoided focusing on his own life so much. When the authors started suggesting solutions for ending terrorism, I was done. It was too over-the-top, too simplistic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent book written with the heart. It makes one think about they way we usually behave and proposes a new order for human relationships. A lot of learning and reflection. Read morePublished 14 days ago by Alicia
If you have a fixed mindset this is the book for you! This will teach you to never put a limit on your thinking ability!Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Good book to provide another perspective on life as told through many good stories. There is a lot to take away from reading this book. I'd highly recommend.Published 1 month ago by Lucas
Wonderful book with great insights. I especially learned a lot about Ben Zander, conductor of the Boston Philamonic Orchestra.Published 1 month ago by Louisa Klaven
I found it hard to initially get into this book....it's one of those books that encourage you to think outside the box in both your personal and professional realm. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Francesca
With all honesty, I found this book very unoriginal. A lot of it was rehashing the same old stuff.
For example, one of the first points in the book was “It’s all... Read more