I have to say it was
the first "how to do
business" book I
have ever managed
to finish - or indeed
get beyond the first
Early Praise for “The Music of Business”
There are five good reasons why you should read this book. First, it is very well written
and produced. The style is informal yet precise, articulate without being too academic. I
can see MBA students and managing directors getting pleasure from reading this
Second, it really is imaginative and different, looking at familiar issues from a very
Third, the author is very unusual in that he is well informed about two often very
disparate areas (i.e. real business and music), which he links together brilliantly. Few
people have the depth of knowledge or insight into these worlds as much as Peter
Fourth, what he covers is important. He brings a very fresh approach to some
fundamentally important issues in business. Rarely are business books such a good
Fifth, you can treat the book as a tapas meal, as dim sum or as a full feast. Some may
enjoy dipping into it, others enjoy the whole book at a “full sitting”.
Professor Adrian Furnham,
University College London
From University College London
The Music of Business is a highly
enjoyable read that eases you through
the four themes of the book: Strategy,
Creativity, Innovation and Leadership.
Quite the opposite of a dull textbook
that will just sit on your bookshelf.
From Pharmaceutical R&D
An engaging and
accessible look at
through a musical lens
- no MBA required!
The Halcyon Gallery
From the art world
Trevor B Lee, International headhunter
Like many perhaps I hadn't - before reading "The Music of Business" - quite appreciated how the
mainstream business community could learn from the evolution of popular music since the 1960s.
Before that date we had 'the industrial era' driven by process and labour intensive production.
Typically a command and control culture. Think now of a classical orchestral music score with a
conductor (CEO) and the orchestra (workers). Little chance here of innovation or creativity!
Scroll on a few years and start to draw similar comparisons with jazz and rock. You will see where
we are headed here in terms of leadership, strategy and overall business development.
Peter Cook's multi-faceted career across popular music, high tech corporates, academia and
consultancy enables him to present, through "The Music of Business", a unique and compelling
It is one of a very few books that I would recommend be in every aspiring leader's reference
As a bonus it is a hugely enjoyable read with insights generously given by masters of one universe
to aspiring ones of another that would do well to read, digest and learn.
From Thomas Edison’s heir
Peter Cook offers a unique melange of insights on innovation, strategy, and creativity in "The Music of Business." As a musician, science
enthusiast, and former business executive in the world of big pharma, Peter brings fresh intersections to his discussions. My own experiences as
a musician with 16 years of formal musical training (piano and harpsichord) resonated as I found translations to the business world, where I've
now spent some 25+ years.
One of the best parts of the book for me, oddly, were the charts. I particularly liked the graphics about conflict on p. 64, and flow on p. 68. I've
read a great deal about both topics over the years, but these charts are keepers. As well, I enjoyed the vivacious quotes, many from famous
musicians in Peter's circle. The quotes underscore a sort of living paradox that peppers "The Music of Business" from start to finish. Paradoxes
are especially gripping today, as we find our world is increasingly filled with them.
For example, I've always found it odd that Thomas Edison, who became deaf in his left ear at @16 years old, was the man who brought us
recorded sound and the record. He sometimes "listened" to music by placing his hands or even his head onto vibrating surfaces. As managers
and leaders, we often find ourselves in similarly peculiar positions as we navigate strategy, or the innovation process. Three quotes I particularly
liked for their Edisonian qualities are...
- "Anytime I have an idea, I'll make sure that I put it down, so that when we do sit down to write an album, I don't have to dream it all out of thin
air. I don't have to be creative on the spur of the moment, or spontaneously artistic. I just take advantage of whenever creativity strikes." - Neil
Peart, of Rush (p 106)
- "To reach mastery in improvisation paradoxically requires intensive detailed preparation. What looks like a seamless performance is the result
of many hours of preparation, and Prince is meticulous in this respect." Peter Cook (p 134)
- "The creative leader utilises the tension between opposites whilst maintaining a focus on the goal." Peter Cook (p 84)
In the business world, we find the doers and the followers, the inspirational and the mundane - sometimes all on the same project team. So we
find ourselves navigate paradox and opposing forces all the time. And we must do it seamlessly. Peter comments that sad, somewhat downbeat
lyrics when wrapped in songs written with a major key can leave us feeling happy and uplifted even though the underlying words offer a more
sombre reality. Executives must take this notion to heart. He notes the Beatles were masters of contrasting sad lyrics with happy melodies (ie
Nowhere Man, Hey Jude) and I would add Bruce Springsteen and Steely Dan to this list as well. Finding the bright spots in muddy soup is a
crucial skill for every innovator, and every person responsible for breathing something new into the world.
Sarah Miller Caldicott – Author, Midnight Lunch
I had Peter Cook's book “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll" and
liked the way you could dip in and out of the book or go to an
interesting topic without trying to navigate through a mesh of
pseudo-science and over engineered verbiage. The concept is
simple but the substance is there. His latest book, thankfully, is just
as interesting and accessible.
OK, so it helps if you like music a bit. If that really isn't your bag,
then fine. I find the analogies work well and occasionally you get a
moment that not only makes clear sense, it is also easy to remember
because of the music link. As well as being a great refresher and
source of some new thinking, it has also provided the added benefit
of prompting me to dig out my old record collection!
“In the City”
Marc Don Francesco,
Head of Group Marketing,
“In the kitchen”
Author “Can Men Cook?”
The sub title of the book sums it up, really. "Business
excellence fused with music". Metaphor and analogy do make
concepts easier to comprehend, I feel. Peter has taken his
ability to do this fusion to another level in his latest offering.
MBA academe can be a little dry and even yawn inducing. By
adding in Britney Spears along side Professor Charles Handy -
(you just know they would get on) - you do get to smile
alongside your learning. Not a bad way to think...This is a
business book you can read, not just dip into.
In the Navy
The Music of Business is a really
enjoyable read. Great Insights in
how to approach 21st century
business challenges, using
lessons from the world of rock
music. It’s funny and thought
provoking whilst absolutely
hammering home the messages
of strategy, collaboration, and
From Wigan Pier
I like Peter's writing style it's simple and easy to read and digest whilst being informative. He is the
master of using music as an effective business metaphor and I have used many of them in my own
business presentations to great effect. Most management books concentrate on leaders such as Steve
Jobs or companies like South West Airlines and sporting stories as metaphors. Peter gives you more
tools to work with and he also broadens your understanding of leadership, innovation, creativity and
strategy through music and business theory.
All in all it's a fun read that's thought provoking and inspiring it is a book that established leaders and
managers would find useful and is a must as part of a business students reading material. I would also
say that if you just wanted a good read this book has some great musical and business stories that will
make you go wow I didn't know that or that's interesting and some will just make you smile.
I have been a fan of Peter's for several years and have read his books and attended seminars and
keynote speeches he has given. In the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of collaborating with
him and he is now a friend, mentor and colleague. I am looking forward to his next book and further
explorations in light of the current economic crisis the lack of trust in many organisations and their
leaders and Howard Goodall's "History of Music". Is a "Remix" needed in business theory and its
application for a modern world? Now there's a challenge for you Mr Cook.
Thomas Hughes – Head of Organisation Development, Wigan Council
Peter provides some very thought
provoking moments on management and
leadership using some unexpected musical
metaphors and lessons. Amongst my
highlights, I love that “The Darkness are
Queen without disco” and that this relates
to the fact that “Companies can learn
parallel lessons by adopting a mindset that
looks to the future whilst respecting
cultural signifiers of the past”. Clever and
conscience pricking stuff. Well done.
Stephen Bourne, Commercial Manager,
Janssen-Cilag Ltd, A Johnson and Johnson
Not so much a sticking plaster,
but a life support system
All the way from San Francisco
Vince Francis – aka The Cycling Bassist – Bay Area, San Francisco
I've put off writing a review for over a month, but I love this book and find it applicable in several
ways. The existing reviews do it much justice, as the book brings several positive and relevant
elements to the table. I really like Lois Cartwright's review, for example, because she cites five good
(and brief) reasons for reading the book, and nails each one.
I would add (or augment) three elements to Ms. Cartwright's list. First, the simple structure and style
of the book lends itself very well to note taking and summary. For me, this keeps the book's lessons
immediately accessible. The complete list of major points is memorizable, especially when drawing
out the principles with a Mind Map (for example). It can get fun just playing with the ideas and
possible outline structure.
Second, the book seems just as relevant to understanding the music industry as it is to understanding
business and corporate, team-based environments. I appreciate learning more about many of my
favorite bands (Beatles, Led Zeppelin, and several more). Mr. Cook presents valid and valuable
business insights in a context, not in an ivory tower vacuum, and that makes his work accessible and
Third, the book helps me to function even better as a gigging instrumentalist within a band myself. I
really appreciated getting further insight into the distinctions between creativity and innovation, for
Mr. Cook not only educates and informs, he inspires creative application. Thank you very much!!
A book of management lessons drawn from the
world of music. Original and great fun to read.
Peter Cook lubricates ‘dry’ management theory
in the most original way.
This book is not ‘just another book on
business’, it is original and fun to read due to
the author's unique ability to teach and
illustrate management theory through
combining academic thinking with case
studies from the world of music.
Praise for “The Music of Business” from HP
HP Enterprise Services
If you spent much of your youth enjoying pop and rock
music but much of your post youth working in business
organisations (and if like me, bemused by some of the
behaviour patterns in the latter), then you will find this
entertaining book both thought provoking and insightful. By
way of a series of related articles, Peter analyses the world of
business organisations through the use of rock/pop lyrics, and
fascinating music anecdotes and observations. The result is a
set of useful frameworks which help us understand how
successful organisations function in today's dysfunctional
Organisation Development Consultant
Praise from the world of HR and OD
Peter Cook has a smart angle here - Clever
links to lessons from music and NOT the
music industry makes you think creatively
about how we do this thing we call
Perry Timms Chartered MCIPD
Director of OD, The Big Lottery Fund
Talkin’ ‘bout “The Music of Business”
Praise from New York, New York
Peter Cook has orchestrated a wonderful merger of two worlds:
business innovation and rock music. Using an intriguing medley of
interviews, anecdotes, advice and insights from legendary musical
performers and great business leaders, Peter has found inspiration
from both worlds … that informs each. And in the process he has
achieved something truly unique in business innovation: a book that
is at once “note”-worthy AND tremendously fun to read!
Bryan Mattimore, Author, Idea Stormers,
How to Lead and Inspire Creative Breakthroughs
Oh Vienna !
The Music of Business is a business management book
that is stimulating and without complication. In this
book, Peter Cook weaves his experiences from the music
industry and business management into a useful and
entertaining guide to simple business practices. Simple
yet fundamentally sound!
Quality Management Specialist
The United Nations, Vienna, Austria
Building Leadership Excellence
Well, you have done it. You've raised the bar and our expectations, now it's going
to be a challenge to take us with you in your next promised book. The Music of
Business has cultivated and brought the four important issues the business world
has been talking about since economic turbulence started in 2008. You've brought
under one roof the main attributes that are required to build a successful and
sustained business; i.e Strategy, Creativity, Innovation and Leadership. I think you
have narrated the story through the eyes of Rock’n’Roll, which I think would
capture the minds of not just "Business Leaders" but "Political Leaders". I liked
the way you've connected the dots between Music and Business, with openness
and simplicity, something different from the norm. Wonder how many CEO's &
Politicians would have the "balls" to read it?
Also, this is not just a book, but a Pandora’s box of business, which has captured
the teachings of other gurus and well "acclaimed" leadership know it all. Business
is much easier understood when one can see it through a different
The stage is set, have no FEAR......
Japhet Simon, Carillion
In his latest book, The Music of Business, aptly subtitled ‘Business excellence fused with
music’ Peter Cook has created a collection of wonderful bite-size articles that look at how to
best manage a business using examples of success and failure from the world of music.
The Music of Business is divided into four main areas of business: Strategy, Creativity,
Innovation and Leadership. There is a plethora of business books that simply regurgitate a
few simple truths about such business management in a dull matter-of-fact way that
resemble a distant learning approach to academic writing. But with its unique take on the
subject, Peter Cook's The Music of Business is informative, easy to read and above all very
entertaining. It employs a `whistle while you work' mentality. Make something enjoyable and
it becomes easier; and this book succeeds in making learning fun!
On finishing The Music of Business I put the book down and smiled, happy with the business
knowledge I had gained and the rock and pop music journey I had driven. This is a wonderful
book, full of amusing stories and interesting business insights. Business and music is once
again intertwined in such a way that makes Peter Cook's approach to business writing
interesting, fun and very informative in equal measures.
Terry Lane – Director, Buzzin’ Fly and Buzzin’ Media
Firstly in terms of transparency I would like to inform you that I know the author Peter Cook. In actual fact he was my
tutor for a course on creativity some years back for the MBA with the OU. The energy Peter had in teaching/ coaching
was infectious. As an innovation / creativity junkie joining Peter was an absolute joy and it was an experience that I will
remember for a long time. It was a couple of months ago that I discovered that Peter had a twitter account and was
preparing to launch a book!
Peter's passion is rock music and he uses this as a metaphor to many issues facing business today. I also like how Peter
addresses the problem that many creative types can have in trying to gain traction of an idea. if the idea doesn't gain
traction do they try again or just fade into the background?
Peter discusses resilience really well in the book. He gives a great example of personal loss in a tour that falls into
disarray with Peter left financial worse off. The book gives Peter's learning for this and how this can be applied to
I've always found the music metaphor easier to attach with in business rather than the well rehearsed/used sporting
metaphor. As someone who has played in orchestras and choirs I have witnessed some great moments of a united team
in perfect harmony with a shared goal. The interesting piece that Peter talks about are the different forms (punk, rock
etc.) to make this music.
I did find that Peter's book missed a little on not explaining the difference between music creators (the artists) and the
channels (the music labels). Modern business can now have disintermediation where artists can speak directly to their
audiences and often build tribes of niches. Clearly the BIG music business is akin to many BIG businesses and their risk
avoidance when it comes to innovating is clear to see in delivering sound alike music – I hope Peter follows this up in a
Overall I really enjoyed the book. Its a nice read and a different take on the usual business books. Peters voice in print is
like his teaching style and akin to his music – energetic. Mike Baldwin, Senior Manager Global Health Outcomes
An absolutely great book, very readable considering it's not a
novel. Peter drew really good parallel between music and
business models and it wasn't difficult to understand when
things went well and went they didn't.
A good page turner, with lots of comparisons and
This book was a great buy and worth reading time and again.
I came to this book with some hesitation, not being a fan of titles that claim we can learn
about leadership by applying lessons from Shakespeare, the Iraq War or Baseball. It is
narrow minded of me I know, we can learn from anywhere, but these types of titles are
often rattled off with little thought. Not so this one, Peter is deeply embedded in both
domains and has created an enjoyable application of music's conventions to those of
business. Khurshed Dehnugara
An absolutely great book, very readable considering it's not a novel. Peter drew really
good parallel between music and business models and it wasn't difficult to understand
when things went well and went they didn't. A good page turner, with lots of
comparisons and case studies. This book was a great buy and worth reading time and
again. Chilli Spice
This book adds to the earlier Sex, Leadership and Rock'n'Roll, again bringing business
insight and practical ideas that personally I have found to be very
useful. An interesting and fun approach to practical business. With
the earlier book this will be on my bookshelf as a great dip-in business
resource for the years ahead. Tim
A Bulletin on “The Music of Business”
"Original, perceptive, effective and
amusing... Peter Cook's unique take on
the parallel universes of Business and
Rock music never fails to stimulate,
inspire and entertain. There are more
ideas in here than in a dozen self-help
manuals.... and even if you DON'T get
to Number One, you'll have a damned
good laugh trying.”
Richard Strange, Founder of the
Doctors of Madness, Musician, Actor,
Writer, Curator and Bon Vivant
“This book is a great tool
for people in business”
Harvey Goldsmith CBE
From “The Boss”
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