cover image Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation

Panos A. Panay and R. Michael Hendrix. PublicAffairs, $28 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5417-3058-8

The skills that give musicians their creativity and dedication are the same skills that business people need to get ahead, argue Berklee College of Music v-p Panay and designer Hendrix in their insightful debut. They survey a bevy musicians, producers, and songwriters who have succeeded both on the charts and in the business world: Björk, for example, was inspired by her practice of listening to the world around her to start a program with a venture capital fund in which they listened to their emotions as well as data to make decisions. Electropop songwriter Imogen Heap’s openness to experimentation led to her creation of the song “Hide and Seek” after all her album files were deleted, as well as to design the Mi.Mu smartgloves (which come with software that links gestures to music). Jimmy Iovine, Interscope Records founder, co-created high-end headphone company Beats by Dre thanks to his ability to “listen for gaps” in the market. While the authors give plenty of examples of how musical creativity applies to business (demo tracks in music are similar to prototypes in business, for example, while remixing songs is analogous to an innovator’s willingness to change a product), the metaphor loses its luster thanks to overuse. Still, there are enough takeaways here to make it worth the price of admission. (Apr.)