During a recent conversation about personal and business superpowers, I recalled something I read many years ago about one of the twentieth centuries greatest classical pianists, Arthur Rubinstein (1887 – 1982). Although I am almost certain I read about the one of his many superpowers that is the basis of this blog in his 1980 autobiography “My Many Years”, (Last night, I found my copy of the book, it is 626 pages) I was not able to find the exact reference I was looking for. One of Arthur Rubinstein’s amazing superpowers was the ability to play 100 distinct volumes, from pianississimo (very very soft, a whisper) to fortississimo (very very loud, yelling), certainly a necessary superpower for a world class pianist. Add to that other essential superpowers such as perfect pitch, a photographic memory that enabled him to rapidly memorize musical scores, and a great passion for the music of multiple composers, and you have a pianist who was recognized as one of the greatest, if not the greatest of the twentieth century. Given all that natural talent, Rubinstein was a tremendous success from his early performances in 1904 through the 1920’s. However, in 1934 he withdrew from concert life for several months to begin a period of intensive study and practice. He stated that he had neglected his technique in his early years, relying instead on his natural talents. There are two very important business lessons here:
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