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A celebration of the Grateful Dead as the accidental gurus of enlightened business practices.
The old command-and-control model of corporate organization is dead—but who’d have thought that we’d have the late Jerry Garcia to thank? Well, Barnes for one. In this convincing debut, the author riffs on all the ways the Dead had it right both onstage and off. Long hailed for their musical improvisation, Barnes argues that the Dead should also be appreciated for their substantial business acumen. Innovation, shared leadership, brand loyalty and social responsibility—the Dead had it all long before the business world realized they held the keys to the kingdom. Today, modern business giants like Amazon, Zappos and Apple get it, and others are following close behind. Barnes explores 10 specific ways in which the Dead blazed the trail. Whether they were inventing new ways to amplify sound or revolutionizing employee relations, the band was ahead of their time. Brisk and compelling, this overview of the Deadhead nation reads like a candid rock biography as well as an insightful business manual. The band may have only been trying to do things their own way, but as the author sees it, they succeeded in redefining the way smart people will be doing business for years to come.
Important lessons learned from a unique band of musical pioneers.
Quite possibly the first love letter to a band-cum-business book, Barnes’s energetic series of lessons for business success tout the Grateful Dead as unconventional business mavens. Taking a cue from the superfans who quit their jobs to follow the Dead for their entire tour, 20-year corporate man Barnes quit his job to start a serious study of the business legacy of the Dead, using them as a case study in organizational change. He claims they are “accidental capitalists,” who got their business right by chance and implemented crucial strategic improvisation, planning, alertness, and flexibility—all strategies espoused by mainstream corporate America. The communal nature of their enterprise and their genuine respect for their fans led them to build a values culture, be kind to their customers, create a business tribe of Deadheads, make sure fans have the ability to carry out viral marketing (they allowed fans to tape live shows and share the recordings). Jerry Garcia, with his innovative, charismatic, communal leadership style, created an image that CEOs follow now.