The CEO of Rock Blog

The Quest of a Student/Entrepreneur to Add Value in Music and Business

Non-Music Book Reading – the Difference Between Success and Failure.

Book Spines and Straight Lines - by Rob Milsom

Book Spines and Straight Lines - by Rob Milsom

You live and breath music right now, so you don’t have time for all that other stuff?

When I was in high school, that was exactly where I was at. After my first year of college, however, a friend recommended me a book called Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. While some of the information may be dated now, it helped me make a key decision to become a business major rather than to be a music major or an undeclared major.

It also reminded me of one of the wisest things my dad said to me: “Whatever you decide to do, no matter what it is, know the business end of it first.”

Imagine what could happen if you become one of the best musicians in the world and have no idea about business. That could result in your life work being abused by greedy bastards who don’t care about you. It would be a shame.

I am not saying you have to be an accountant, but I am saying you have to be aware of what you have, what you want, what other people want, and what your situation is, especially if you want to quit your part-time job to go take this seriously.

One of the most important things that will help you get business knowledge, and any other wisdom that will separate you from other musicians is the skill of reading non-music related books, and applying that knowledge to the music industry. In fact, many of the posts in this blog are based upon knowledge that I gained from non-music sources.

Here are some examples:

  • Blink by Malcolm Gladwell – taught me about how we make snap decisions that are complex and often right. These are built over time by learning and doing. What “blinks” do you feel you need to develop?
  • Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell – Teaches the difference between those that succeed and those who don’t. Explains that some reasons are within our control and some aren’t. Maybe a position of advantage or disadvantage can push you in a direction where after many hours of hard work, you are the best in the world at something when it is most relevant.
  • Influence: the psychology of persuasion by Robert Cialdini – Maybe a few small changes can result in a much higher success rate in asking things from others. These require neither dishonesty, nor harder work.
  • How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins – There are identifiable steps that occur before a powerful team or organization truly falls apart. Knowing these steps can keep you from taking on business partners that would hurt you in their own desperate grasps for survival. You can also see what factors exist in your own company or band and eliminate them.
  • The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle – Undoubtedly one of the most important books on this list, especially if you want to become really, really good at anything. I might even make a whole post about this one game-changing book later.

Hopefully you are starting to see how, while the subject of these books isn’t music, knowing how to apply principles found in self improvement,  business, or psychology books can radically transform the way you think, act, and approach any situation.

If you are willing to learn from non-music books, I feel sorry for your future competition. They won’t stand a chance.


October 22, 2009 - Posted by | Productivity/Goal Setting | ,

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