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April 2, 2015

Interviews: Linda Popky on Business and Books

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 9:00 AM – Filed under: Marketing & Sales


"I’m interested in finding out how we can more effectively interweave the language and concepts of the arts—music, art, poetry, theatre, etc.—into our business lives. We commonly use sports or war metaphors in business today. Yet, I really believe many of the basic concepts of music, such as harmony, melody, dissonance, and orchestration, are quite relevant in business today."
~Linda Popky


We conclude our Thinker in Residence series with Linda Popky, author of Marketing Above the Noise, today with her answers to our standard questions on books and business. We've been asking these standard questions for a long time now, and I have to say that Linda's answer to our first question is one of my all-time favorites. So, let's get to it...

What is the one unanswered question about business you are most interested in answering?

Although I’m trained as a marketer, my passion is music. I’ve played classical piano since I was a child. I’m interested in finding out how we can more effectively interweave the language and concepts of the arts—music, art, poetry, theatre, etc.—into our business lives. We commonly use sports or war metaphors in business today. Yet, I really believe many of the basic concepts of music, such as harmony, melody, dissonance, and orchestration, are quite relevant in business today. What kind of great sounds could we make if we applied these concepts to many of the business problems we’re facing? Being aware of the noise around us is a way to start this new way of thinking.

What book has influenced your work the most?

Wow. That’s tough, because I love to read and I’ve got a house full of books I’ve either read or am planning to read. If I have to pick a business book, I’d say In Search of Excellence by Peters and Waterman. This was the first time I’d read a business book that featured stories of real-life companies to illustrate its key points. Many of those companies are no longer with us, but that storytelling approach has become an important part of how we teach basic business principles, and it’s a device I use in my own writing.

What is the book you wish you had written (or admire the most) and why?

The Harry Potter series. What a wonderful world of fantasy and adventure and magic that has become the best selling series of all time. Add in the backstory of J.K. Rowling going literally from rags-to-riches while creating a series of books that actually got kids excited about reading again. It’s a great win-win-win situation.

What book are you reading right now?

Well, it’s hard for me to just read one thing at a time. I’ve just read Robbie Kellman Baxter’s The Membership Economy, which I highly recommend, and I’ve got an advance copy of Dorie Clark’s Stand Out. I’m also reading Half a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie for my bookclub, and The Resilience Factor, at the recommendation of Dr. Martin Seligman, who wrote Learned Optimism.


"What kind of great sounds could we make if we applied these concepts [of the arts] to many of the business problems we’re facing? Being aware of the noise around us is a way to start this new way of thinking."
~Linda Popky


Previously:

Check out our review of the book and our conversation with the author about Marketing Above the Noise.

Next:

Well, we assume you'll want to go out and buy the book right away, but if you need any further enticement, we have a manifesto from her about Being Heard in a Chaotic World on our ChangeThis website.


 

About Dylan Schleicher


Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.