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Topic: The Medici Effect book - excerpts about Mike< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
Olivier Offline





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Posted: Sep. 26 2004, 10:15

In his new best-selling book The Medici Effect, Frans Johansson argues that we have the greatest chance to develop a groundbreaking insight at the intersection of different disciplines or cultures, in science, business, policy and the arts. He has used Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells, and some of Ommadawn as the core example to describe the book’s main concept.

Thanks to Frans Johansson and Harvard Business School Press for providing excerpts of chapter 7.
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Tati The Sentinel Offline





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Posted: Sep. 26 2004, 15:37

Got to read the excerpt,and it confirmed a personal idea to be used later on my professional life.

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raven4x4x Offline





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Posted: Sep. 27 2004, 05:17

Wow. From the exerpt it looks like an interesting book: it certainly seems to be an intriguing idea, and one I would agree with. In a way it's funny that Johansson used Mike as an example, but it does make sense: he did something new and groundbreaking by combining the best aspects from many different genres into something interesting and unique: the perfect example!

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Sir Mustapha Offline





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Posted: Sep. 27 2004, 07:16

I'm positively sure that 99.99% of other writers would have used The Beatles as an example. :D I believe Mike Oldfield works better for that!

It's a very solid idea, and something that I believe blindly in.


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Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
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AC
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Posted: Sep. 29 2004, 14:10

From the text:
Quote
...a section called the 'piltman song,'


I just read it very quickly, and it doesn't seem very insightful or groundbreaking.
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hiawatha Offline





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Posted: Oct. 03 2004, 21:29

Quote (Guest @ Sep. 29 2004, 14:10)
From the text:
Quote
...a section called the 'piltman song,'


I just read it very quickly, and it doesn't seem very insightful or groundbreaking.

Yesterday, in fact, I ran across a listing for "Tubular Bells" online. It credited 3 or 4 musicians, including Mike, Sally, and the Piltdown Man.


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iain
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Posted: Oct. 06 2004, 14:10

I think this is a pretty poor analysis. It's certainly flattering, and it's good publicity for our man Mike, but it's marred by managerial-buzzword-speak, and an apparent lack of understanding of the process of composition.

Performing mathematical calculations -- even approximate ones -- on the alleged quantities of possible 'combinations' of musical elements and genres is desperately far removed from the lived experience of composing music.

Moreover, it doesn't adequately account for the variables of recording/production techniques, and how they can drastically alter the tone and mood of a record (e.g. Hergest Ridge v. Hergest Ridge Boxed, anyone?!;)

Finally, and most importantly, the excerpt overlooks the essential characteristic of Tubular Bells: the fact that it's famously riddled with slightly naive performances, sound blips, and elements of chance that combine with its unexpectedly professional, mature aspects to make it so wonderful.

Because the author is trying to anatomise the so-called 'Medici Effect', he can only explain his example from the outside, in the service of his overall argument. Unfortunately he tells us nothing about how the record was really made, and consequently about what makes it so distinctive.  :/
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TEP Offline





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Posted: Oct. 08 2004, 08:49

iain, I think you are missing the point. The author is not implying that composing is an excercise in combining a number of fixed components. He is merely using the calculations as a crude approximation - a simple way of illustrating that the number of new innovative ideas that may arise by combining different fields is not, say, double what may be developed in each individual field, but orders of magnitude larger.

Of course, this does not mean that anybody can derive something great by combining different fields - it still takes talent, genius even, because it requires you to break habits and think outside the box, and that is where Mike Oldfield comes in. He is the one who, in the intersection of Rock and Classical, is able to see something wonderful and compose the many unique works we love so much.

Remember - this is not a book about music per se. Sadly, many people fail to see the genius of Mike's work. Kudos to Johansson for being one of the happy few who do.
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Sir Mustapha Offline





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Posted: Oct. 08 2004, 10:00

Yes, Iain. I'm sure the author isn't reducing the process of composing down to a couple of numbers, and was only using an artifact of writing called "example". In fact, if he were to consider everything you're saying, it would only enforce his opinion... but would make it a chore to read.

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Check out http://ferniecanto.com.br for all my music, including my latest albums: Don't Stay in the City, Making Amends and Builders of Worlds.
Also check my Bandcamp page: http://ferniecanto.bandcamp.com
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iain
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Posted: Oct. 08 2004, 13:38

TEP, you're right that "this does not mean that anybody can derive something great by combining different fields - it still takes talent, genius even" -- and I think that's precisely what the author overlooks. There's no humanity or attenuation to the creative process -- which includes the element of chance -- in the analysis.

The fact that it isn't a book solely about music is, i think irrelevant here; it's claiming to be about not merely music but almost the whole of culture :O so the author should have done better homework on each of the fields/examples he discusses.

To give a concrete instance, he ought to have accounted for how the most famous and memorable part of TB - Finale - was created in a rush as a last-minute decision with the master of ceremonies just-so-happening to be available on that day. It's combinations like that which make it such an interesting album.

My point is that the author isn't wrong but his account feels really lacking in resonance with the key example that he's chosen.

Sir Mustapha, I'm afraid I thought it was already quite a chore to read.  :/
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raven4x4x Offline





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Posted: Oct. 09 2004, 00:03

Remember too that this is only one chapter, and Tubular Bells is only one example that the author uses. The book is not about "The Medici effect with reference to Tubular Bells", this is only one example, not necesarily the 'main example' as you say. The points you mentioned are certainly true and did contribute to making TB the album that it is, but they would probably take away from the author's main points.  I think you are expecting too much detail from what might just be a simple example of how it can work. I would avoid reviewing the book until I've read more than just a few extracts from one chapter.

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iain
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Posted: Oct. 09 2004, 10:50

Sure, I don't mean to dismiss the entire book; if my claims sounded rather sweeping, it was because I was guided by Olivier's comment (above) that the book's author "used Mike Oldfield, Tubular Bells, and some of Ommadawn as the core example to describe the book’s main concept." [my italics]
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Markus Muench
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Posted: Dec. 23 2004, 06:11

Yes I agree with you "iain"- thats in fact poor rubbish. generally in arts you can not say "when I have more components- I will do a more creative work". Thats what the author says! As an example:
You want to draw a picture an use 10 different colours with 5 different pencils- makes 50 different possibilities. Another one paints only with 1 pencil (black and white) makes 1x2=2 possibilities??  :D
I think the best works at all are created with very reduced material that is used in an intelligent form. So in fact a small compact work can be more expressive as blown up orchestral works. No one can say what art really is...
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Inkanta Offline





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Posted: Dec. 26 2004, 16:28

Out of curiosity....(sorry to not be able to dicipher this)....has anyone read the entire book or are you basing your comments on the excerpt? I just started the book today, am only 20 pages in, and have just skimmed briefly the MO section, preferring to read it in context (noticed that tubular.net is cited in the notes--probably this has been mentioned elsewhere) . The MO section occupies only a few pages of a 207-page work, btw.

So far, I like where Johansson is going with the concept of Intersection.  When people of different cultures, disciplines, life-experiences, backgrounds, world-views come together (intersect), opportunities for creativity and innovation are maximized--for the Medici Effect to happen. At least that's where I think he's going, 20 pages in. It's not a new concept (gee...look at Jurassic Park for that matter) but Johansson is presenting it a fresh and interesting way.

Perhaps I'll have more comments when I reach MO or finish the book. I can already see a use for it in my professional life, and will certainly be incorporating it in a positive way for a presentation on "generations" that I have to do in February (and will recommend the book to librarians).


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