- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Portfolio (May 19, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781591847236
- ISBN-13: 978-1591847236
- ASIN: 1591847230
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 0.9 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 28 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,048,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Ignorant Maestro: How Great Leaders Inspire Unpredictable Brilliance Hardcover – May 19, 2015
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“An enthralling portrait of some of music’s most fascinating conductors that serves as a vehicle for a remarkably thoughtful study of leadership. No musical experience needed—Itay Talgam brings the baton-wielding personalities to life, and the lessons ring clear.”
—STANLEY MCCHRYSTAL, author of Team of Teams
“Music is magic, and Itay Talgam’s book lets us stand beside him to revel in that magic in leadership and life.”
—DAVID MARQUET, author of Turn the Ship Around!
“A great conductor stands alone in front of an orchestra but knows that it is the collective genius of the group that creates something incredible. In this book, Itay Talgam reveals the counterintuitive lessons that business leaders can learn from world-famous conductors about empowering organizations and audiences.”
—RYAN HOLIDAY, author of The Obstacle Is the Way
“Talgam inspires us to think beyond leadership dogma and for the first time learn to truly listen.”
—NIR EYAL, author of Hooked
About the Author
ITAY TALGAM, a protégé and disciple of the great Leonard Bernstein, has conducted many prominent orchestras and ensembles worldwide, including the Orchestre de Paris, the St. Petersburg Philharmonic, the Israel Philharmonic, and the Leipzig Opera House. He also teaches leadership to Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits, and universities, and at conferences around the world, including TED, Google’s Zeitgeist, and the World Economic Forum at Davos.
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A little bit of both, of course.
Itay Talgam writes beautifully, with an eloquent prose and timely anecdotes that are so rare in management books. His analysis of the 6-types of leadership, as illustrated by six famous conductors, is illuminating and should be required reading for business students and struggling politicians, for veteran managers and aspiring leaders. But above all this is a thought-provoking story about Empowerment, this tricky process that only truly great leaders learned to master. Itay Talgam is the ideal mentor for it -- funny, erudite, brilliant and immensely inspiring.
A conductor is a virile, iconic symbol of leadership but a great maestro is not an autocrat. Whether a man is on a podium or in a director's chair, author Talgam explores and defines the nuances necessary to bring out the best performance in musicians or the fellow members of a corporation. An orchestra is not a place for prima donnas but every person whether a first violin or the guy that tinkles the triangle has to be imbued with enthusiasm, even eagerness and ambition to do his best not for glory to himself but glory to the whole.
An executive has to allow for creative freedom in his group. He is the boss but he must supply his underlings with enthusiasm by letting them come forth with their own ideas. Passion is a big factor here. A violinist must play the proper notes but how he wrenches the tones issuing from his instrument is his to discover and make his own. But he is contributing to the whole, the glorious sound of a great orchestra.
In between a conductor's baton and the members of an orchestra there is a gap. There is a gap, really, between all people. The maestro or the corporation CEO fills this gap by listening. The members of each may have great ideas, suggestions and sheer talent and the maestro or boss must have his ear to the ground. This is definitely a two way street. Neither the executive nor the conductor is in isolation on a pinnacle. Harmony can only prevail when everybody is allowed to do his thing. Not playing any old note, of course, but coaxing his instrument, being a dynamic member of a corporation group.
Author Talgam explores the style of six world-class conductors. The approach in each case is how each maestro controls and yet inspires his players. It is helpful to run these famous musicians through Google to witness their performance on the podium. You can check out Arturo Toscanini temper tantrums (all bark and no bite), The six conductors are Riccardo Muti (autocratic but he pulls forth glorious music from his orchestra); the emotional and passionate Arturo Toscanini; the sedate Richard Strauss; the aristocratic Herbert von Karajan; the incredibly agile Carlos Kleiber; the charismatic, handsome Leonard Bernstein.
The title “The ignorant Maestro” bothers me just a bit- it's that word ignorant. Certainly any executive, conductor or entrepreneur will find many gaps between himself and his players, areas in which he has to fill in and even embrace because hidden in those gaps may be superb talent, a wealth of ideas, cutting edge originality. But ignorant implies to me a lack of education not a lack of understanding, a lack of information of his group. But I won't belabor the point. The book is highly original, and Talman appears as a very knowledgeable and likable guy with plenty of talent to spare.
The bottom line here is that when the players on a stage- any players, any stage- give up on self expression, “when the joy of discovery and creativity have been buried by routine” a vital element has disappeared. And somehow when I see a conductor raise his baton to signal the start of a piece, I am irresistibly reminded of Charlton Heston as Moses raising his staff and parting the Red Sea. Perhaps Moses and the conductor and the CEO are all part of the same thing.