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Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead: The Ten Most Innovative Lessons from a Long, Strange Trip Hardcover – November 2, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

It is Barry Barnes' not-too-outrageous conceit that the Grateful Dead, a prototypical band from the era of Vietnam and shoulder-length hair, have something to say about running a business. Jerry Garcia was no mogul (a fact for which his fans will rejoice). Yet perhaps in these life's lessons the executive will learn to loosen his tie, widen his gaze, and rescue his bottom line by not, for a change, obsessing over it. I have read many business manuals. This is one of the few I will remember.―Roger Lowenstein, New York Times bestselling author of The End of Wall Street

"Barry Barnes deftly shows how the magic and authenticity of the Grateful Dead transcends its musical prowess, providing invaluable insights into how successful organizations thrive."

New York Times bestselling author of Money and Power and House of Cards

In Everything I Know About Business I Learned From The Grateful Dead, Barry Barnes deconstructs one of the most fascinating rock bands of our time and uncovers some very powerful and unexpected lessons in innovation, marketing and entrepreneurship. The freaks and weirdos are always the ones with the best ideas and The Grateful Dead is no exception. If you want your business to go on a long, strange trip - in the best possible way - this is the book for you.―President of Twist Image and author of Six Pixels of Separation

"Barry Barnes fuses his decades of deep thought, detailed research, and passionate immersion in Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead. This is the book for executives, managers, and anyone who wants to really understand the power of the Dead's fascinating, enduring, and iconic example as an artistic and commercial enterprise. As Barnes shows, that example is more relevant now than ever."―Nicholas Meriwether, Grateful Dead Archivist, University of California, Santa Cruz

"In their early days, the Dead's extreme fondness for idiosyncrasy earned them a reputation as business naifs. But irony of ironies, by persevering with policies rejected by their "smarter" brethren, they ended up as a stunning business success story. The best part was that they succeeded because of, not despite, those decisions. Barry Barnes' Everything I Know About Business I Learned from the Grateful Dead tells you how they did it."

Grateful Dead biographer and author of A Long Strange Trip: The Inside History of the Grateful Dead

"Strategic improvisation - planning and doing simultaneously - as presented by Barnes and illustrated by the Grateful Dead is what all successful entrepreneurs do...and is what all businesses must do to survive in today's turbulent times. This is just one of the surprising yet practical lessons that make EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS I LEARNED FROM THE GRATEFUL DEAD a first-rate business book."―Wayne as H. Huizenga, Chairman, Huizenga Holdings, Inc., Wayne as H. Wayne Huizenga, Chairman, Huizenga Holdings, Inc

About the Author

Barry Barnes is a professor at Nova Southeastern University in Florida.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus; 51411th edition (November 2, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446583790
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446583794
  • Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #261,532 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Margaret Picky TOP 500 REVIEWER on November 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
"Everything I Know About Business I Learned from The Grateful Dead" is a very easy-to-read book that analyzes the story of the musical group The Grateful Dead from a business viewpoint and pinpoints the behaviors that eventually led to their financial success. The ten lessons correspond to the ten chapter titles.

What I found most interesting is that decisions were not necessarily made in order to make money and they did not always result in immediate profit. A lot of the choices were spontaneous and some of them proved costly, but they were willing to change direction and try new things over the decades.

I was impressed by the flexibility they exhibited, for instance, in dealing with vendors of unlicensed merchandise or with bootleg recordings. They were able to distinguish between fans and mass merchandisers of shoddy products and deal with them on terms appropriate to their status and intent. Their attitude towards people taping their shows evolved until they reached an equilibrium where they allowed taping and exerted some control over it and even legitimized and supported it--when not done for profit.

The Grateful Dead kept performance ticket prices at reasonable levels even thought they could certainly have charged more. One way they did this was by bypassing Ticketmaster and selling tickets directly to fans--and this also increased their share of the revenue. There are many other examples included of how they engaged their fans and did business differently than other musical groups did. Even the way they used audio equipment or named record albums is quite interesting.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
My wife and I met at a Grateful Dead concert and we were married at one. All of this took place many years ago. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, both from my perspective as a Dead Head and a current Tour Manager for a nationally touring band. I bought two copies to share amongst the band members of the band for whom I work.

This is well-written, very comprehensive, and an insight into America's favorite band (like it or not, it's true). I learned a lot from this, both in terms of what I experienced way back when and what I am now confronting, trying to help an extraordinary group of musicians survive in today's economy.

Read this. You will come away with a smile on your face.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After slogging my way through the business world for far too long, accumulating both undergraduate and graduate business degrees along the way, I really, really have a visceral aversion to the mundane stuff that is typically pushed on us by the business publishing world. This, however, was worth my time and money. In fact the copy I read was from the library. But I was motivated to buy a copy for my daughter who runs a low fee ticketing utility (Tikly.co) for the benefit of independent artists. Bottom line: an insight into enlightened management combined with fun insights into the world of The Dead.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I saw this book while I was making my list for Santa and thought, 'Eh...' but Santa's pretty smart and brought it anyway and I'm so glad he did! This is an insightful book and the 'management' ideas that the Dead pioneered have become the model for some of the most successful businesses of today. Well worth the ticket price!
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Enjoyed the read and tie into business. Not that earth shattering, but enjoyed reading some ideas how the dead thought about their music a a business. Despite the fact that much of it happened by accident, as they hated thinking of what they did as a business.
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Format: Hardcover
Strategic Improvisation, Total Quality Management, Empowering Employees.......Every manager should read this book. Entrepreneurs, particularly those with small mom-n-pops and start-ups will find valuable insight into effective business development styles.

You don't need to be a deadhead, or even like Grateful Dead music to discover the timeless lessons uncovered in this volume. In today's business climate, companies must remain nimble enough to quickly react to the ever changing environments, and the ability to improvise new strategies is key. The Grateful Dead were masters at this, evidenced by their 30 year track record of ever increasing business success. How did they achieve their success? Read this fascinating book and find out!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Barry Barnes' book about the Grateful Dead business dealings and ways of doing things is heartwarming, funny at times, surprising even to a seasoned deadhead with lots of books about the Grateful Dead on her shelf already - but this one is refreshingly accessible, personal in the sense that the reader gets that view he has always wanted, a fly on the wall for a few minutes here and there. As principles are established by the Grateful Dead, many of we small business owners are going to see what can happen if we use our principles and understand our customers/fans. A great read. I am not going to give away any of the cool quotes here!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved the unique marketing approaches of my favorite group. As co-author of Hippie Serendipity: A Story of Peace, Love, and Freedom, I could relate to the ideals and ideas presented in this book. Loved it!
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