Success and the Art of Personal Disruption

Scroll down ↓

I’ve always suspected there was a connection between music, art and business.

Some of the greatest entrepreneurs I’ve known (or known about) came out of an art background. Paul Graham, founder of Viaweb, which was later sold to Yahoo and turned into Yahoo Stores was trained as a classical painter. Paul Lemberg, also an accomplished tech-entrepreneur and business coach painted before learning to code and eventually build companies.

And, musicians, in particular, especially classically-trained ones, often see and hear patterns, relationships and dynamics so many others miss. They get how things go together in a way that creates something bigger than the pieces. Which fascinates me, in part, because so many are also so disinterested in business, yet could make such extraordinary contributions from exploring the pursuit of their art on a very different type of canvas or instrument.

So, when I had a chance to sit down with classically-trained pianist, Whitney Johnson to find out what inspired her to move to New York City and make a giant splash, not at Carnegie Hall or Lincoln Center, but…on Wall Street, I jumped.

Over the last two decades, coming out of a music background and starting with zero knowledge in finance, Whitney became top sell-side analyst, frequent commentator, contributor to the Harvard Business Review and president and co-founder of Clay Christensen’s investment firm Rose Park Advisors.

Embracing an approach to business and life that encourages you to “disrupt yourself,” Johnson’s focus has evolved beyond financial markets now and taken a deep dive into what it takes to succeed. Not just in business, but in life. To live a good life.

In this week’s episode of Good Life Project, Whitney and I explore her fascinating journey, the unique lens she brings to everything she does, her philosophy of ceaseless personal disruption and what inspired her to write her latest book and make some fairly provocative life-choices.

Go watch it now (and, as always, if you prefer mp3, just subscribe to GLP and you’ll get instant access to the mp3 vault).

Join our Email List for Weekly Updates

And join this amazing community of makers and doers. You know you wanna...

2 responses

2 responses to “Success and the Art of Personal Disruption”

  1. Wow!! As a classically trained flautist, I have to agree with your point that musical training brings skills to other areas. As I writer, I “hear” the words I write as a composition of orchestral parts. I “hear” syncopation, rhythm, and pacing. I even choose words based on which syllable is accented.

    I wish we believed more in investing in artistry and youth. The spillover effect is insane.

    Congrats, Whitney.

  2. […] brokering this connection. In addition to the video, Jonathan has written an accompanying blog post Success and the Art of Personal Disruption; and I’ve written about how he disrupted himself […]