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The Ignorant Maestro: How Great Leaders Inspire Unpredictable Brilliance
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Format: Hardcover, 240pp.
Pub. Date: May 19, 2015
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Item No: 9781591847236
Description and Reviews
From The Publisher:
“Choosing ignorance might seem a terrible quality to exhibit in your workplace—a sure path down the stairs and out the corporate door. But stick with me here and see how it leads you upward. You’ll understand why great leaders embrace ignorance and use it to elevate their people to new heights of achievement.”
A conductor in front of his orchestra is an iconic symbol of leadership—but what does a true maestro actually do to enable the right sort of cooperation among his players, leading to an excellent performance? If you think his primary job is making sure the musicians play the right notes, prepare to be surprised.
For twenty years, in addition to conducting orchestras around the world, Itay Talgam has been a “conductor of people” for companies large and small, for CEOs of Fortune 500 companies as well as startup entrepreneurs, and beyond. Drawing on his decades of experience on the podium, he teaches nonmusicians how conducting really works and how the conductor’s art can help leaders in any field.
In his lectures (including an acclaimed TED talk) and now in this book, Talgam shows why imposing your vision on your people is likely to backfire. Great conductors may know in advance how they want a piece to be played, but they make room for the creativity and passion of their musicians. They respect the gap between the baton and the instruments. They focus more on listening than on speaking. And they embrace their own ignorance, knowing that others may have better ideas than the conductor can imagine.
Talgam explores the nuances of leadership by describing the distinctive styles of six world-famous conductors: the commanding Riccardo Muti, the fatherly and passionate Arturo Toscanini, the calm Richard Strauss, the gurulike Herbert von Karajan, the dancing Carlos Kleiber, and the master of dialogue Leonard Bernstein. All took different approaches to the age-old leadership dilemma: how to maximize both control and creative freedom at the same time.
The Ignorant Maestro will empower you to help your own team make even more beautiful music. Talgam’s anecdotes and insights will change the way you think about listening, humility, and the path to unpredictable brilliance.
“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
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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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