Book Review - The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander
I'm not sure I would have picked up The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander without some external motivation. That happened when I had the opportunity to see Benjamin Zander present the material at a conference I attended. Within 30 seconds I was mesmerized, and my mindset changed forever. Reading The Art of Possibility was like reliving the presentation again, and it helped to reinforce all the incredible information I learned.
An Invitation to Possibility; Launching the Journey
The Practices: It's All Invented; Stepping into a Universe of Possibility; Giving an A; Being a Contribution; Leading from Any Chair; Rule Number 6; The Way Things Are; Giving Way to Passion; Lighting a Spark; Being the Board; Creating Frameworks for Possibility; Telling the WE Story
Coda; Acknowledgments; A Guide to the Stories; About the Authors
Benjamin Zander is a renowned conductor, and his experiences in that field frame many of the stories and lessons in the book. For instance, Giving An A comes from his philosophy in teaching musicians. The competition amongst his students is intense, and anxiety over grades only contribute to less-than-perfect learning. To remove that barrier, he starts out the class by giving everyone an A. The only thing they need to do is write a letter, dated six months in the future, describing what they did to get an A in the course. That simple act changes the mindset of the students from competition to possibilities. Instead of competing with others, they are working towards fulfilling their possibilities. Another one I benefit from daily is Rule #6, which is "don't take yourself so ********* seriously." It's natural for the calculating self to be on guard for any indications that their importance is being diminished. That locks you into situations where you don't think anything can change. Instead, you can set aside the calculating self and let the central self shine through. Rule #6 allows you to let the internal calculating self lighten up, thereby releasing the pressure and "importance" of the moment. Then you can explore options that may not have been present so long as you're trying to remain "important".
I would have gotten a lot from this book had I not seen Zander live. But reading the book after experiencing the live version only makes the material that much better. It's impossible to have your mind go back to "normal" after reading The Art of Possibility.