April 20, 2014

Benjamin Zander on the Transformative Power of Classical Music (and a few Lessons for Business Leaders)

Benjamin Zander Classical Music TED

Beyond music, there are some big life lessons in this short video that will serve you well if you remember them for the rest of the time you're on Earth.  He starts with a business lesson that demonstrates what makes some companies successful and others fail. Watching it immediately made me put on one of my favorite pieces of classical music ever composed, the second movement of Beethoven's 7th symphony.  The buildup of the melody line to the entire orchestra screaming back down to n … [Read more...]

An Evening of Rodrigo and Prokofiev at Helzberg Hall

Kansas City Symphony Prokofieff Joshua Kennon

After dinner at Pierpont's in Union Station, we made our way over to the symphony hall, arriving a few minutes before the orchestra took the stage.  Tonight is a big departure from our usual Haydn, Mozart, and Beethoven.  Particularly of interest to us were the second and third groups on the program.  The second was Rodrigo's Concierto de Aranjuez for Guitar and Orchestra, which was performed by Jiyeon Kim, a guitar virtuoso. We ended up with a special surprise because Kim's mother had flown t … [Read more...]

This Kid Has No Idea How Lucky She Is

Parents Lip Sync Disney Frozen

This married couple, together for 10 years, married for 4.5, with two kids, enjoys Disney's Frozen far more than their daughter, who you can tell is so over it. She makes decorative wreaths and is a full-time mom and he's a nurse in an ER with a wedding photography business on the side. I like these people.  I get them.  This is totally how we drive.  You think I'm kidding but ... nope. Hat tip to Ashly, who found this and sent it to us on Google+. … [Read more...]

Watch Guns ‘N Roses Performed New Orleans Style

New Orleans Sweet Child o Mine Guns and Roses

As someone who loves 1.) Guns 'N Roses, and 2.) New Orleans style music, this makes me so incredibly happy.  Watch it.  It's Postmodern Jukebox with Miche Braden covering "Sweet Child 'O Mine". It's already on iTunes.  It shows just how good the band's songwriting skills were that it translates so well. This type of music just does it for me intellectually - it sets my brain on fire as I get thrown back to music school and can't help but analyze each instrument's part independently in re … [Read more...]

Eli Lilly and the Insanity of Foreign Taxes

Eli Lilly Repatriation

I'm going through the corporate bond filings of pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly just out of curiosity.  They have a huge patent cliff coming up, during which time as much as 40% of their revenue base will be exposed to generic competition.  I wondered what it would do to the risk metrics on the senior bonds so I pulled the Moody's rating and reading over the figures as I listen to an old 1970's song called Snookeroo. Side note: The song is interesting.  After the breakup of The Beatles, Ringo St … [Read more...]

Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher (May God’s Love Be With You)

Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher

I'm sitting at a desk in a side room at home listening to Christmas music.  The one song I can't get out of my head, and is now playing on repeat, is Elton John's rendition of Merry Christmas Maggie Thatcher.  It's a horribly mean spirited song (though from the perspective of the singers, who were the coal workers and their children in the musical for which it was written, the vitriol is not unexpected as, from their point of view, she had decimated their standard of living by ending tax-payer f … [Read more...]

Mental Model: The Psychology of Music and Its Influence on Mood and Business Results

Jurassic Park Theme Song

Following the post on the Dies Irae Principle earlier, I started thinking about the role of sound in regulating mood.  Thirteen years ago, I was sitting in my undergraduate freshman music theory class, having moved thousands of miles away from home to begin university.  At the time, I had enrolled in the Bachelor of Music program with a concentration in classical performance, using my voice to pay for a big part of the tuition bill and my piano skills to breeze through a lot of requirements ( … [Read more...]

The Dies Irae Principle

Dies Irae Principle

I've been thinking about how differently people see the world and how that influences their view of events.  Something that rolls off one person's back can cause another to spend a week sobbing in bed, barely able to contain their grief or embarrassment.  What is a minor setback to one person can be a career-ending defeat for someone else.  It's such a powerful thing, this difference in how we interpret, visualize, and extrapolate events. To demonstrate, one of the best tools available is cl … [Read more...]

Mozart, Money Problems, and Voltaire

Helzberg Hall Kansas City Symphony

The spouse and I spent the evening at the Kansas City Symphony, with Rameau's Suite from Dardanus, Mozart's Number 31, and the Fauré Requiem on the program, all conducted by Bernard Labadie.  The first two, particularly, were marvelous, especially from our seats (we were in the center, third row).* As Mozart's "Paris Symphony" reverberated throughout the hall, I was struck by the fact that I was sitting here, in the year 2013, listening to a piece of music composed 235 years ago in 1778 by a the … [Read more...]

The 4 Types of Irony You’ll Likely Encounter in Modern Life

Alanis Morissette Ironic YouTube

Irony is one of those words you see misused all over the place.  Most people think they know what it means, but they don't.  It's irritating to those who care about the spirit of words, and has even prompted New York Times articles discussing the constant abuse the term endures at the hands of society.  To spot, and utilize, irony, requires, as the paper puts it, "sophisticated writing" that the author "counts on the reader to recognize".  It takes skill.  It is going to go over most people's hea … [Read more...]