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A Curious Mind

April 06, 2015

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A Curious Mind teams one of Hollywood's most successful producers with one of our favorite business authors, and the result is glorious!

You might know Brian Grazer for producing such film as A Beautiful Mind, Splash, Apollo 13, or 8 Mile, or TV shows 24 and Arrested Development. He's one of the most successful producers in Hollywood.

Well, you can now get to know the man behind those projects, and what motivates him, in his new book, A Curious Mind. It comes out tomorrow from Simon & Schuster, and they teamed Grazer with one of the best business writers working today, Charles Fishman.

Charles Fishman has been a favorite of ours at 800-CEO-READ for many, many years. His previous books, The Wal-Mart Effect and The Big Thirst, are personal favorites that will always have a home on our shelves, and his magazine pieces are as insightful, revelatory, and thought-provoking as others' full books. Looking over what I wrote to cover his previous book, I found a passage perfectly suited for a giveaway happening on baseball's opening day.


If Charles Fishman were a baseball player, he'd be a pitcher worthy of the Cy Young Award year after year. Lucky for us, Fishman ended up a business writer—one of the most consistently excellent in the field. And twice now, he has gone "the full nine" and delivered perfect outings at book length. We featured his first effort, The Wal-Mart Effect, in this space in 2006. He got our attention again with his 2008 article in Fast Company, "Message in a Bottle," which won him his third Gerald Loeb Award for outstanding business writing, the most prestigious award in business journalism. It was that article that served as the impetus for his new book, The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water.

So, yeah, while Brian Grazer is going to be the author that gets most of the attention on this project, we've been geeking out on the fact that Fishman wrote it with him. We're actually happy we get to write about A Curious Mind at all. Ten years ago, I don't think a book coming out of Hollywood would have been positioned in or adjacent to our little business genre. Even if an author like Grazer had a legitimate interest in doing so, the publisher would have probably talked them out of it. But Simon & Schuster went out and got Fishman! So cool. But let's back up... why is Brian Grazer writing this book about curiosity in the first place?


Without curiosity, none of this would have happened.

Curiosity is what gives energy and insight into everything else I do. I love show business, I love telling stories. But I loved being curious long before I loved the movie business.


For me, curiosity infuses everything with a sense of possibility. Curiosity has, quite literally, been the key to my success, and also the key to my happiness.


And yet, for all the value that curiosity has brought to me life and work, when I look around, I don't see people talking about it, writing about it, encouraging it, and using it nearly as wide as they could.


Curiosity has been the most valuable quality, the most important resource, the central motivation of my life. I think curiosity should be as much a part of our culture, our educational system, our workplace, as concepts like "creativity" and "innovation."


That's why I decided to write a book about curiosity. It made my life better (and still does). It can make your life better too.


And it's a brilliant book. It still has the great Hollywood stories you'd expect from someone like Grazer, but there are so many others mixed in from his habit of having what he calls "curiosity conversations" with people from all walks of life—from scientists and law enforcement officials to heads of state and the world's richest man—that you'll forget you're reading a book from a Hollywood producer. (There's also an appendix to the book that will teach you how to have theses kind of conversations, so there's an immediately applicable aspect to it, as well.)

That breadth makes the book somewhat Gladwell-ian. You never really know what will be coming on the next page. It's usually somewhat surprising, and always completely delightful. Malcolm Gladwell even wrote the blurb for the back cover: "A Curious Mind is a window on Brian Grazer's restless, relentless, remarkable imagaination. It is a captivating account of how the simple act of asking questions can change your life." And, I might add, your business life. And as a Hollywood producer, being involved in every aspect of the business—from leadership and management, to the startup culture of every project, to the sales and marketing of those projects—Grazer may actually be better positioned to write a book that fits this genre than most others.

And did I mention that Charles Fishman is the coauthor?

We'll be digging into A Curious Mind a little more over the next week or two, so enter to win a copy today and check back soon for more.

We have 20 copies available.

A Curious Mind


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