Episode Date June 29, 2021
Featured Guest Matthew Barzun
Featured Book "A Jacques Barzun Reader" by Jacques Barzun

Episode Summary

Matthew Barzun reading an essay from his grandfather, Jacques Barzun’s A Jacques Barzun Reader and discussing how to use power mindfully.

What power do you have? We know power can be taken and hoarded, but can power be given away? I’ve walked the streets in protests on and off for many years, and I’ve always had mixed feelings about it. On one hand, I’m with people, and we’re making our voices heard. On the other hand, will this really make a difference? Or is this simply an expression of frustration and powerlessness? Matthew Barzun is someone with a nuanced understanding of this dynamic, and we dig into in this conversation.

Matthew reads the essay ‘Toward a Fateful Serenity’ written by his grandfather, Jacques Barzun. [reading begins at 8:40]

Hear us discuss:

  • Actively managing your power: “You don’t give away power to be selfless. You do it because you’ll get it back through others, so you can continue the cycle.” [15:30]
  • The power pyramid. [22:55]
  • The constellation: a symbol for interdependence. [28:26]
  • Understanding and tackling the systems around us. [30:58]
  • The pyramid versus the constellation. [33:10]
  • Creating a ‘constellation’ within an organisation: does the system always win? [36:28]
  • Applying the constellation mindset: “The more people who do it together, the better it goes.” [39:49]
  • Managing risk. [42:38]

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Matthew Barzun | Website | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

Matthew Barzun’s book | The Power of Giving Away Power: How the Best Leaders Learn to Let Go

Jacques Barzun | A Jacques Barzun Reader

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Michael Bungay Stanier

Michael Bungay Stanier

I'm the author of five books that have collectively sold more than a million copies. I'm the founder of Box of Crayons, a learning and development company that helps organizations move from advice-driven to curiosity-led. I'm the host of the *2 Pages with MBS* podcast.

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