- Hardcover: 240 pages
- Publisher: Harvard Business Review Press (August 7, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1422161102
- ISBN-13: 978-1422161104
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 74 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #388,476 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz Hardcover – August 7, 2012
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This is a fascinating read.” Smooth Jazz News
The book is breezy and fun, and offers vivid real-life stories from Barrett’s musical career and observations about some jazz greats, all juxtaposed with anecdotes from the business world.” Forbes
Jazz has always been a good metaphor for the art of leadership. In Yes to the Mess, Frank Barrett knocks it out of the park.” LeadershipNow
Jazz has always been an art form that blends structure with learning as you go. So it is no wonder that Yes to the Mess has a playful tone dare I say there’s a ton of fun in this business book? If you are problem solving for your organization or team and have an imaginative personality, you’ll feel like a cool cat from reading this book.” Small Business Trends (smallbiztrends.com)
a short but powerful book about how to be more focused at work, how to understand chaos as opportunity, and how to be better prepared to approach it.” 800 CEO READ
ADVANCE PRAISE for Yes to the Mess:
Karl E. Weick, Rensis Likert Distinguished University Professor, Ross School of Business; coauthor, Managing the Unexpected: Assuring High Performance in an Age of Complexity
Frank Barrett’s remarkable fusion of jazz improvisation and organizational innovation promises to reshape how we think about creative work. Innovations are improvised into existence and here, for the first time, is a backstage look at how that happens.”
Ellis Marsalis Jr., Professor Emeritus and Jazz Studies program founder, University of New Orleans
Barrett’s insightful book shows how business can learn from the risky business’ of jazz. Yes to the Mess is a great treatise on improvisation and on the courage to persist irrespective of a predictable outcome.”
Amy C. Edmondson, Novartis Professor of Leadership and Management, Harvard Business School; author, Teaming: How Organizations Learn, Innovate, and Compete in the Knowledge Economy
Jazz provides an illuminating metaphor for managing in the knowledge era. Frank Barrett writes beautifully about leadership, learning, and innovation and pulls together great stories from a range of industry settingsfrom jazz performance to automotive manufacturing. Yes to the Mess is a great read, which I recommend enthusiastically."
Edgar H. Schein, Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management
Yes to the Mess provides a fascinating view into the world and mind-set of jazz musicians and will stimulate you to think differently about leadership and organization. Read this book.”
Douglas R. Conant, former President and CEO, Campbell Soup Company; coauthor, TouchPoints: Creating Powerful Leadership Connections in the Smallest of Moments
This book describes a powerful and necessary paradigm shift to advance the craft of leadership in the twenty-first century. Barrett gives every aspiring leader a new model for proactively dealing with the chaos and disruption that has come to characterize the world of work in our time.”
Roger H. Brown, President, Berklee College of Music; cofounder, Bright Horizons
Finally! A book that applies the tools of an improvising jazz musician to great leadership. The modern world can no longer afford the orchestral model of managementlots of people playing the same part and a leader who stands apart from it all. The new world is premised on intense communication, lightning-speed decision making, risk taking, and a degree of perfected competence that allows spontaneous and brilliant composingnamely jazz. Yes to the Mess gets it right.”
Richard Boyatzis, Distinguished University Professor, Case Western Reserve University; coauthor, Primal Leadership and Resonant Leadership
With the velvety tones of Wes Montgomery and the wail of Miles Davis, professional jazz musician and management scholar Frank Barrett plays a set to enchant us. Pour a glass of wine, sit back, and listen to this engaging story of how to help teams and organizations innovate instead of replicate.”
Ken Peplowski, award-winning jazz clarinetist and saxophonist
I’ve known Frank Barrett for over thirty years, and we’ve often discussed the strange confluence of learned experience and pure intuition that exists in jazz improvisation. Frank gives us an insight into that world and how its lessons can be applied to almost any walk of lifetruly fascinating!”
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I have been an entrepreneur for over 40 years, starting over 30 businesses. The “mess” is a way of life and expected. During that time, I learned to solo, to comp, to stretch and to listen. Frank’s work is so applicable. His stories, examples and references to music make the theory understandable. A great blend of org. behavior, org. change, org. development, leadership development and appreciative inquiry.
Our leaders will be invited to read Yes to the Mess.
As an aside, I have played trumpet for over 50 years. Very little talent, but a tremendous love of music. I read charts well, but have always been afraid to improvise. Wish I would have met Frank and his grandfather who influenced him, 48 years ago I would have overcome my fear of the “mess” in music.
Barrett's concepts are easily understood and are easily relatable to any field. The book gives us the best of both worlds: 1) helping people demystify jazz music and 2) helping them see how a close-knit, encouraging hands-on jazz community of fierce individuals can be a perfect model of leadership, innovation, and creativity. Barrett shows people in any field how to lead (and live) the way jazz musicians learn and perform the music, and how this way can truly be the best course of action to thrive in an uncertain, and increasingly volatile world. In the end, Barrett clearly shows us how, when we come together, focused on our common goals, view problems with empathy, learn to view mistakes as opportunities for innovation and opportunities to rely on others' expertise, we can solve many, if not all of, the world's problems.
I am a gigging jazz musician. In addition to teaching in the Honors College at UA, I am also on faculty in the jazz department at the university. Reading this book and teaching from it in my Honors College course has helped me to not only be a better college professor, it has helped me be a better ensemble instructor and jazz musician, and, most importantly, to be a better mentor to the students with whom I come into contact. I have gradually adopted many of these concepts into my ensembles with great results. The students respond very positively, and their transformation is evident.
The review of the last small group concert from the Director of Jazz Studies: "Man, they sounded so good. They really sounded like a band. That's an impressive feat considering you only had 7 weeks with them before the concert, and they all have varying degrees of skill and familiarity with jazz music. Congratulations! And thank you!”
I have given several copies of this book to fellow colleagues and musicians, always with a review akin to: "Amazing! I loved it!"
Thanks to Frank Barrett for synthesizing a lot of disparate material and the very different worlds of jazz music and business into a clear, concise, engaging, and entertaining blueprint for building a better and more secure world!
As a jazz musician and jazz lover myself I already resonated with the content of the book, but in no way think that the book is limited to those who already understand and actively listen to jazz. As a matter of fact, I think the book will have the added benefit of creating new jazz lovers, as the key principles are explained by Frank in a way that makes them accessible and will inevitably raise curiosity and encourage investigation into this wonderful art form. Jazz is a way of connecting, of listening, learning, and letting go, all qualities we need more of in our leaders and our organizations. This book will let you give up on the idea that you need to be a more forceful conductor of your orchestra, or that you need a better score to play from.
If you are a leader wondering why your organization is not moving ahead the way it needs to in order to remain competitive, if you have tried the traditional recommended approaches only to see them fall short, then read this book. You won't look at (or perhaps better said, listen to) your organization in the same way again. This book is a gem and deserves to be a bestseller.
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