“The Music of Business” published next week – great idea, very good book!

- January 24, 2013 10:31 AM
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One of the brilliant things about social media is the way it brings us into contact with people who otherwise we might never have met. I’m delighted to have “met” – virtually at least – Peter Cook recently, and the timing was perfect, as his new book “The Music of Business” is out next week.

The Music of Business

Now this isn’t a procurement book by any means, but regular readers will know of my love of music, so forgive me for covering it here. But I wouldn’t do that if it wasn’t a book that I genuinely think a large proportion of our readers will thoroughly enjoy!

Cook is an ex Pharma industry executive, business writer, lecturer and adviser. But he has pursued an alternative parallel career as a rock musician. and indeed has managed to combine the two strands successfully – for example, doing business events where he speaks and plays guitar, often bringing along his musician friends from the industry to contribute. (He did a CIPS branch event in Kent last June – which even got BBC coverage!)

Given my interest in both writing and music, you won’t be surprised to find that I had two pretty immediate thoughts when he told me about the book.

1.            “What a great idea”.

2.            “Why on earth didn’t I think of that”?

But then an element of doubt set in. Yes, it sounds good, but was it going to be one of those books where the concept is stronger than the actual content?

Having now read it, I’m relieved  to say this is not the case; the headline is that this is an excellent book . I can also honestly say I couldn’t have done nearly such a good job on the topic as Cook – both his experience of the music business and as an MBA educator come through very strongly in a way I couldn’t possibly have emulated.

“The Music of Business” achieves the tricky balance in that it is both a thoroughly enjoyable read, and a genuinely useful and worthwhile business book.  Along with the help of some guest writers, who contribute short pieces (such as Dr Andrew Sentence, ex member of the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee and a bit of a muso by all accounts), Cook covers four main areas – Strategy, Creativity, Innovation, and Leadership. For each, he uses parallels, analogies, stories and learning from the world of music to illustrate business principles and success factors.

I would stress that you don’t have to be deeply into music to enjoy the book, although I might not recommend it for someone who hated rock and pop music. I guess the only other note of caution for prospective readers is that whilst there is a coherent message, in the sense of learning from music, it is not the sort of work that has a logical academic argument flowing through the whole book. Rather it is a collection of short articles, chapters, and interviews that cover considerable ground and illustrate a broad set of themes. That makes it a perfect book to dip into, rather than one to sit down and study from start to finish. Personally, that suits me fine.

So, all in all, this is highly recommended. It is out on January 31st , and you can order it here on Amazon, although if you wait until the 31st there is a special launch discount! Cook sent me a pdf version to review, but I will be ordering the hard copy version, which offers proof of this reviewer’s opinion.  And based on my album review scoring system (which regular readers will recognise), it’s a strong 8.5/10.

In part 2 of this review next week we’ll look at a few of Cook’s specific examples, and see how he uses Spinal Tap, John Otway and Lady Gaga to illustrate business points.

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