arts and pop culture | April 27, 2015

The Power of Curiosity: Charles Fishman's Instant New York Times Bestseller

A Curious Mind, the new book by Lavin speaker Charles Fishman—co-authored with Hollywood producer Brian Grazer—has reached a triumphant second week on the New York Times bestseller list.
In the book, Fishman looks at the power of curiosity with the help of Grazer, who has built a fascinating life and career out of asking other people the right questions. Grazer has produced a stunning range of film and TV hits, from the current breakaway smash Empire to contemporary classics like Apollo 13 and Splash. In the book, he explains how each project grew out of his natural curiosity about the lives and experiences of others.

To find true success in any part of your life, A Curious Mind argues, start by asking other people about their own experiences. The Huffington Post says the book “could be a guide for anyone with ambition, nerve and common sense. But first comes curiosity.” It’s as practically useful as it is fascinating—plus, it doesn’t hurt that it’s filled with life lessons from Grazer’s own curious conversations with a wide range of celebrities, artists and political figures, from Andy Warhol to Barack Obama to Steve Jobs and many others.

In his new keynotes, Fishman explores curiosity through various angles: the role of curiosity in education, the benefit of curious leaders. Curiosity, Fishman said in a recent Rotman talk, should stand alongside leadership, innovation, and creativity as part of every CEO's toolkit, and every educator's as well.

Fishman's book has already received glowing write-ups in the New York Times and Vanity Fair. 800-CEO-Read named it “one of the most notable books of 2015,” saying it was “the right book for every reader,” while Kirkus reviews said the book made “an appealing argument for maintaining open-minded receptivity.”

Curious yet? You can read an excerpt from the book over at Fast Company:

Curiosity at work isn’t a matter of style. It’s much more powerful than that. If you’re the boss and you manage by asking questions, you’re laying the foundation for the culture of your company or your group. You’re letting people know that the boss is willing to listen.

This isn’t about being "warm" or "friendly." It’s about understanding how complicated the modern business world is, how indispensable diversity of perspective is, and how hard creative work is. Here’s why it’s hard: because often there is no right answer.

That’s why asking questions at work, instead of giving orders, is so valuable. Because most modern problems—lowering someone’s cholesterol, getting passengers onto an airplane efficiently, or searching all of human knowledge—don’t have a right answer. They have all kinds of answers, many of them wonderful. To get at the possibilities, you have to find out what ideas and reactions are in other people’s minds. You have to ask them questions: How do you see this problem? What are we missing? Is there another way of tackling this? How would we solve this if we were the customer?

In his talks, Charles Fishman speaks about the power of curiosity and how to harness it in your own life. To book Charles Fishman as a speaker for your next event, contact the Lavin Agency speakers bureau.