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Wow! Benjamin Zander (co-author along with his wife Rosamund Stone Zander of the great book The Art of Possibility: Transforming Professional and Personal Life. gives us a Ted Talk! (via LifeHacker)

(via LifeHacker)

If the words “classical music appreciation” make your eyes glaze over, conductor Benjamin Zander will change your mind in this short talk from the invite-only TED event. Zander connects music to leadership to possibility to passion and ties it all up in an insightful commentary on life in general. I just finished Zander’s book, The Art of Possibility (highly recommended), but seeing him deliver just the few of the book’s points in the flesh is a special treat…


At 17:20 Zander gives us an amazing piece of information on Leadership:

“…I had an amazing experience, I was forty-five years old. I had been condcting for twenty years and I suddenly had a realization,…the conductor of an orchestra doesn’t make a sound. My picture appears on the front of the CD (audience laughs) but the conductor doesn’t make a sound. He depends for his power to make other people powerful. At that changed everything for me. It was totally life changing. People in my orchestra came up to me and said “Ben, what happend?”. That’s what happened. I realized my job was to awaken POSSIBILITY in other people. And of course I wanted to know if I was doing it and you know how you find out? You look at their eyes. If their eyes are shinny you know you are doing it…

…If the eyes are not shinny you get to ask a question. And this is the question: Who am I being that my players eyes are not shinning?


So now I have just one last thought which is it really makes a difference what we say,… the words that come out of our mouth. I learned this from a woman that survived Auschwitz, one of the rare surviviors, she went to Auschwitz when she was just fifteen years old. And um…. her brother was eight. And the parents were lost. And um….she told me this,…she said “We were in the train going to Auschwitz and I looked down and saw my brother’s shoes were missing. And I said why are you so stupid, why can’t you keep your things together for goodness sake.” The way an elder sister would speak to a younger brother. Unfortunatly it was the last thing she ever said to him because she never saw him again. He did not survive. And so when she came out of Auschwitz she made a vow. She told me this,…she said “I walked out of Auschwitz into life and I made a vow and the vow was, I will never say anything that couldn’t stand as the last thing I ever say.” Now can we do that? No, and we’ll make ourselves wrong, and others wrong, but it is a possibility to live into.

Just great stuff! Entertaining, informative, and inspiring.

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J. Jerrald Hayes
Primus Inter Pares at Paradigm Projects, Ltd.
I am an architectural woodworker and general contractor turned IT, Business and Project Management consultant, software developer wannabe senior division triathlete and ski racer, Yankee fan and founder of, 360 Difference, and now too.
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