News & Perspectives

A curious mind

A curious mind

The secret to a bigger life.
Perspective// Posted by: Lisa Kay Solomon / 9 Dec 2015

by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman (Book Review by Lisa Kay Solomon)

Brian Grazer believes that curiosity is a superpower. And he has the credentials to prove it. As a respected Hollywood producer, Grazer’s films and TV shows—which include Apollo 13, A Beautiful Mind, Friday Night Lights and 24 —have received 43 Oscar and 149 Emmy nominations, generating more than $13 billion in worldwide sales.
A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life (Simon & Schuster), chronicles Grazer’s lifelong passion for “curiosity conversations.” In exchanges with iconic leaders including Fidel Castro, Colin Powell, Isaac Asimov and polio pioneer Jonas Salk, Grazer is motivated not as a Hollywood dealmaker, but by a simple wish to learn: What makes this person tick? What brings them joy? What were the meaningful choice points along their journey?

In Grazer’s view, curiosity is the secret sauce that stimulates our ability to innovate, refines those ideas with judgment, and finds the courage to amplify them over a wide spectrum. He’s puzzled that the trait goes relatively unheralded in our society: “I think that curiosity should be as much a part of our culture, our educational system, our workplaces, as concepts like ‘creativity’ and ‘innovation.’”

What makes this person tick? What brings them joy? What were the meaningful choice points along their journey?

Grazer’s nearly religious fever for curiosity spins throughout the book, often covering the same material in different chapters. Yet despite his many mentions of his prominent conversations (and his tenacity to make them happen), the reader is left curious about what Grazer himself learned from those exchanges. Perhaps he’s saving those nuggets for a sequel.

Grazer ultimately seems most excited by the notion that curiosity is a fundamentally democratic, equal opportunity skill-set. It can make anyone a better innovator, leader, entrepreneur, public servant, student and human being. “Curiosity is a state of mind,” he writes. “More specifically, it’s the state of having an open mind. Curiosity is a kind of receptivity. And best of all, there is no trick to curiosity.”

Lisa Kay Solomon
Teaches innovation at the California College of the Art’s MBA in Design Strategy and co-authored the best-selling book Moments of Impact: How to Design Strategic Conversations that Accelerate Change. @briangrazer @lisakaysolomon