Showing posts from 2013

Gardiner, Bach, and the desire to detect weaknesses in high-achievers

Johann Sebastian Bach was one of the greatest classical composers of all time (for example, read  this  and this ). Many people have pointed out that his oeuvre is both enormously large and enormously varied and that it hardly has any weak spots. Many people even rave about Bach that his work is indeed flawless and use hyperboles like that Bach's music was divinely inspired, that Bach was God's pupil or even, perhaps only half-jokingly, that Bach IS God. John Eliot Gardiner , the famous conductor, has written a new book called Bach: Music in the Castle of Heaven . In this video , he says that biographers of Bach make a logical error by thinking that because Bach made such great music he must have also been a great man. Then, Gardiner goes on to say that Bach certainly wasn't a paragon of virtue and that he actually was a deeply flawed character. He says this because in Bach's life, according to Gardiner, there is "almost a repetitive pattern of antagonistic b


Readers of this blog will probably know that believing that human abilities and traits cannot be developed (this type of belief is called a fixed mindset ) has several disadvantages. One of those disadvantages is a fear of challenges and doing things that are hard. When you do something which is challenging you may make mistakes and fail and this could be interpreted as a lack of natural ability.

20 Inspiring quotes from True Professionalism

One book which has had an important influence on me, through the years, is David Maister's True professionalism . In the book David argues - apparently completely unafraid to be seen as naive or idealistic - for an ethical, ambitious, and principles-based approach to doing one's work. I have known this book ever since was published in 1997 and I still agree with the large majority of things in it and I'm still inspired by them. And perhaps more importantly, I think they work. Here are 20 quotes from the book.