The Art of Possibility - Rosamund Stone Zander, Benjamin Zander
The Art of PossibilityThis is the third review of a book suggested to me by Martine Vanremoortele, and the second whose title begins ‘The Art of..’

I remember seeing Benjamin Zander at one of his lectures seven or eight years ago, and being inspired by his message. This book captures much of Benjamin’s philosophy in the topic area of the subtitle, ‘Transforming Professional and Personal Life’.

The book is jointly written with Rosamund Stone Zander who is a family therapist. Drawing equally on Rosamund’s experience and that of Benjamin’s conducting the world’s orchestras, including the Boston Philharmonic, the book takes the form of a ‘How to’ which instead of providing strategies to overcome life’s obstacles, invites the reader into a world of opportunities.

With many references to his life in music in the form of analogy and experience, the book sets out a dozen practices which will bring the power of opportunity into your life. The practices are all simple. Each provides a story based explanation of its value drawn from the personal experience gained in the USA and UK by the two authors, and straightforward instruction on its use.

As always with the best advice, there is no rocket science here, though the book is more powerful for this, not less. For example ‘Giving an A’ simply suggests that by approaching everyone we meet prepared and ready to see their best, this very act has already created energy to improve outcomes and create new opportunities in what they achieve. The book’s graphic examples bring these simple approaches to life and provide evidence of the power of apparently simple ideas.

This is a powerful book. I read this book on a flight to Khartoum, and found some of the insights and examples quite moving. Occasionally the musical references left me struggling a little, but served to highlight a need to learn more and in no way diminished the value of the messages.

I thank Martine for another brilliant reading suggestion and heartily recommend this book to everyone determined to improve their lives and in search of simple ways in which to begin.

Steve Unwin
March 15 2006.