First published February 9, 2009
The Art of Possibility by Rosamund and Benjamin Zander is a magnificent book on leadership. As a life-long musician and the conductor of the Boston Philharmonic, Ben Zander has become an inspirational teacher who is now taking his leadership philosophy out into the corporate world as a motivational speaker. Rosamund Stone Zander is a respected therapist who helps individuals and groups find their way to the “impossible.” Even if you do not consider yourself a leader or are not interested in becoming a leader, there are still many lessons to learn from the practices the Zanders recommend in this book.
Someone sent me a YouTube video of Ben making a presentation at one of the TED conferences. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design but the TED Talks are more commonly known by their mission, “ideas worth spreading.” An extraordinary collection of innovative thought leaders make presentations at TED each year. You can view a selection of the very best at www.TED.com. I was so impressed by the video that I immediately ordered the book. The contagious passion I saw at work in the video permeated the book as well.Essentially the Zanders believe that true leadership derives its power by awakening possibility in other people and helping them to achieve. It is the process not the type of achievement that is most important here. With stories, parables, and insights, they take the reader on a journey through twelve practices that when implemented can profoundly change individuals and organizations.
Most of us live in the world of measurement rather than the world of possibility. The Zanders ask fundamental questions about why this is true and illuminate a different path. Once we begin to understand that the boxes we find ourselves in, either in a personal relationship or as a corporation are a result of living in the world of measurement, we can begin to examine a different framework and engage in one of my favorite games, “What If.”
If you are interested in becoming a stronger leader, embarking on an extraordinary journey or just interested in a different way of looking at a puzzle, I highly recommend The Art of Possibility.