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Paperback The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life Book

ISBN: 0142001104

ISBN13: 9780143001225

The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. A NATIONAL BESTSELLER Discover the twelve breakthrough practices for bringing creativity and a sense of possibility into all of your endeavors in this bestselling guide from the author of Pathways to...

Customer Reviews

6 ratings

Hard to process

Not my cup of tea, but it may have been difficult to get into as my copy had what I assume (hoping) was chocolate smeared across the front and underlining in red pen throughout. Guess I have to start ordering “like new” condition if I want it to be passable.

Musical Examples Are Particularly Fascinating

In a glut of books on personal improvement, this is a breath of fresh air. Many of the illustrations were drawn from the world of classical music, and as a musician/lawyer, I found them particularly relevant and interesting. Nothing trite here, just great thoughts and useful examples that you will find nowhere else. When I read the book for the first time, I wondered whether a non-musician would be able to relate to a description of a Mahler symphony or Mendelssohn's Italian Symphony. However, I used one of the examples in a recent speech to real estate professionals, and found that they were very interested in hearing about a string quartet (some probably for the very first time). The event made me realize that I love books that take me into a world in which I have never been, and I think many others have the same desire. So if you are not a musician, read this book, because you will be transported into the mind of a musician and the world of classical music. If you are a musician, you'll find yourself agreeing out loud with the musical examples. This is not to say that the other examples are not relevant and interesting - they are, and they avoid the well-worn roads. I believe this husband and wife team have more to say, and I'm looking forward to their next books.

Worthwhile and Inspiring Read

My first impression upon picking up The Art of Possibility was that it would be "fluff." Wrong impression. Instead, this turned out to be a very powerful book that I'm glad to have read. The Zanders present a philosophy and strategy for seeing and living in our world from a standpoint of possibility rather than scarcity and restriction. They describe a set of practices that may sound trite from their chapter headings ("Giving an A") but which are backed up by lucid explanations and very moving anecdotes. (I don't usually go for books that rely so heavily on personal stories, but in this case they are quite inspiring and contribute significantly to the power of the book.)The two authors come at the issues of leadership and personal growth from different perspectives: He from the point of view of an orchestra conductor, and She from that of a psychotherapist. Benjamin Zander fortunately does not try to make the threadbare comparison that being a conductor is like being a CEO; rather, he simply uses his personal experiences as a leader to help make his points with interesting examples related to his career as conductor.It's a worthwhile read (and easy, too, at 200 pages) that at the very least is inspiring and enjoyable, but also likely to make positive changes in your life if you apply the practices the authors describe.

Change your perspective, change your life

I bought this book on someone's recommendation, but it just sat on my shelf for a few months until Tom Peters mentioned the Zanders in one of his newsletters. I read his interview with them on his web site, went home, and read their book through in one sitting. It starts off unpromisingly: the first couple of chapters are brief and, I felt, rather platitudinous. But then the authors started illustrating their points with anecdotes, and it all became clear to me. Recognizing your assumptions and how they limit you, and being willing to expand your thinking beyond them to new possibilities, makes a major difference in how you deal with the challenges in your life. I also liked their positive approach -- too many of us get entrapped in "something's broken about me and I need to fix it." The Zanders are certainly not the first to articulate this point of view, but I felt that their illustrative examples made it much easier to understand. But you do have to THINK about what their stories imply; they don't give you "step 1, step 2" instructions on how to apply this philosophy to your own life. The book has already given me a different perspective on several aspects of my behavior that had been troubling me, and on that basis alone I'd recommend it to anyone.

Great Performances for Everyone!

'. . . The objective of this book is to provide . . . the means to lift off from . . . struggle and sail into a vast universe of possibility.'Benjamin Zander is the conductor of The Boston Philharmonic and is well known for his orchestra's passionate performances. Rosamund Stone Zander is an executive coach, family therapist, and private practitioner who brings enormous psychological perspective to enhancing human behavior. They have written a fascinating book in which they alternate as voices in sharing principles and examples in the form of compelling stories. They have striven to make what they share ' . . . simple, not easy.' The idea is to help you create in yourself and in others 'transformational' improvements. They share a series of perspectives designed to improve your understanding of what and where the potential is.First, humans tend to focus on very few things, missing most of what is going on around them. By shifting focus, you will see many opportunities for the first time. Much of this book is designed to do that for you. You will visit our old friend the nine dot square and be reminded that connecting all of the dots in four lines without lifting your writing instrument from the paper requires you to go outside the box that we mentally draw at the circumference of the dots. Be careful about your assumptions! They can fence you in!Second, measurements can cause us to focus too narrowly on where we are today and encourage scarcity thinking -- the glass is half empty. The Zanders encourage thinking about the glass as half full, citing the well-known perspective of optimism as being empowering. This can help you 'step into a university of possibility.' I like to call this pursuing the ideal practice.Third, if you assume that people will do well and help them see how they can, they will. Mr. Zander gives every student an A in his class, and simply requests that the student write a paper to tell what they will do to deserve the A. This gets the students focused on excellence, and takes away the tension that harms accomplishment.Fourth, as a mindset, think of your role as 'being a contributor.' 'You are a gift to others.' How could that change what you do? As someone who thinks that way now, I find it a very useful perspective, and was glad to see it in the book.Fifth, lead from any chair. This is a reference to involving everyone. Mr. Zander asks his players to write down how he could improve practices and peformances, and pays attention to the suggestions.Sixth, follow rule number six. That rule is to 'lighten up.' Seventh, be present to the ways things are. Many of us are disconnected from reality. By re-touching it, we can see more possiblities.Eighth, give way to passion. Going with your strong feelings allows you to be more authentic, and to go to new heights of accomplishment.Ninth, light a spark. See you role as creating a spark of possibility to be lit that others can see.Tenth, be the board of the game

Give Yourself the Gift of Possibility

What can I tell you about this book? My first words of advice would be to disabuse yourself of the notion that just because it might land on the "self-help" shelf, it's merely another missive filled with affirmations, platitudes, and high-minded, unachievable objectives that will leave you feeling that to change the nature of your existence is a long, hard process, too daunting for a person already exhausted by the mere prospect of getting through another day. Phew! We've all had enough of those kinds of books, and the ideologies served up to us by people who seem to be still battling the incongruities of their own lives, while force-feeding us remedies for ours. (I'll mention no names!) Each chapter of this book presents us with simple practices, and frameworks that can truly help both to bring about a sea-change in the way you view yourself and others, as well as the circumstances you find yourself in. From the basic premise, that "It's All Invented", to the practice of "Rule #6",(don't take yourself so seriously),to the principles of "Giving an A",(allow for the beautiful statue inside the craggy marble), the Zanders generously share their personal and professional lives with us to illustrate how these concepts have transformed their own lives as well as those of many others, and having met Mr.Zander several weeks ago, I can attest to the fact that he is one of the most joyful, engaging people I have ever met. I only wish that the book came with a recording of his Chopin performance, described in the book, and which I was privileged to experience first hand, to help speed you on your own journey towards the realm of possibility.
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