Academy Award–winning film and TV producer Grazer ranks curiosity with innovation and creativity as keys to shaping a successful career and a happy life.
“Curiosity has been the most valuable quality, the most important resource, the central motivation of my life,” writes the author. With the collaboration of business journalist Fishman (The Big Thirst: the Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, 2011 etc.), Grazer explains how a lively sense of curiosity and willingness to ask questions opened doors for him and widened his horizons. In 1974, at loose ends in the interim between college graduation and the beginning of law school, he chanced to overhear a young man describe how he had just quit a cushy job in the legal department at Warner Brothers, a job that entailed delivering legal documents. Grazer applied for the job. Rather than simply dropping off the packages, he pretended that he had to deliver them in person, giving him the opportunity to meet an array of fascinating people (e.g., Warren Beatty, Lew Wasserman) and engage them in brief conversations. At the same time, he took every opportunity to meet the higher-ups at Warner Brothers. As he gained confidence and his career advanced, Grazer made it a practice to conduct what he called “curiosity conversations” with people in all walks of life, and he has interviewed more than 500 people over the last 35 years (everyone from Barack Obama to Isaac Asimov to Tyra Banks to Amy Tan). The author explains that he did not meet with these people to get ideas for films but because he was “interested in a topic or a person.” These face-to-face encounters allowed him “to build up a reservoir of experiences and points of view” and keep him “plugged in to what's going on in science, in music, in popular culture…[and] the attitude, the mood, that surrounds what's happening.”
An appealing argument for maintaining open-minded receptivity, with special appeal for film buffs.