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Book Review: A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman
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Book Review: A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman - Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman

Executive Leadership Articles

Book Review: A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman

Brian Grazer is one half of the founding leadership of Imagine Entertainment, the film and television production company whose credits include the Oscar-winning A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Willow, Parenthood, 8 Mile, and American Gangster. In the introduction to A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Simon & Schuster, 2015), Grazer explains how following impulses driven by curiosity led him from a path to law school he never really wanted to a one-year gig delivering legal documents for Warner Brothers to producing movies and running his own company. It’s actually a mixture of curiosity, wide-eyed naiveté, and bald-faced audacity that first gets him in the doors of Hollywood’s most powerful players, but it is all driven and motivated simply by a desire to know.

Grazer expounds on lessons he’s learned from what he calls his Curiosity Conversations—deliberate one-on-one meetings he’s had throughout his career whose agenda seldom have ulterior motives beyond simply wanting to know something interesting from people in unique positions to share it. His own career-long partnership with Ron Howard, the other half of Imagine’s chairmanship, is the result of Glazer’s seeing Howard walking around at the Warner Brothers studios and making a phone call to discuss what Howard wanted for his career. Howard showed up, and the duo recognized in each other kindred spirits with similar goals, and the friendship that blossomed has been a decades-long string of critically and financially successful product.

“More than intelligence or persistence or connections, curiosity has allowed me to live the life I wanted,” Grazer explains. In conjunction with the ability to pay attention and the willingness to act, curiosity is not only his key to a successful career, but to a richer, fuller life. It is in the arena of a film career where Grazer’s success is most widely known, so the book focuses largely on how his conversations with government leaders, groundbreaking scientists, survivors of horrible atrocities, and other notable figures has shaped his understanding of such career-related topics as storytelling, leadership, creativity, and decision-making. Yet Grazer doesn’t save his curiosity for bleeding-edge thinkers: he explains that Curiosity Conversations can take place anywhere, at any time, with anyone, and that these can be the beginnings of excellent relationships and good ideas for later.

The author’s desire is to inspire in all of us the satisfaction of our curiosities, so that those of us who have restrained ourselves might let curiosity loose again, and those of us who have had it nurtured in us might harness it for the betterment of our lives. “You’re born curious, and no matter how much battering your curiosity has taken, it’s standing by, ready to be awakened,” Glazer writes, and in what has taken the lead in our nominations for best non-fiction book of 2015, he implores us to bring it to life.

 

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Book Review: A Curious Mind: The Secret To A Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman - Executive Leadership Articles

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