Hollywood honcho Brian Grazer, producer of TV and film megahits, including A Beautiful Mind, Apollo 13, Arrested Development and 24, to name a few, attributes his outsized success to his eternal and unbridled inquisitiveness. Indeed, in Grazer’s life story, curiosity plays a leading role. He uses it to fight ordinary fears (public speaking, big social settings). He also uses it as a management tool: Being curious about others allows you to step into their shoes and see the world from their perspective.
And while curiosity can take many forms, it doesn’t work unless it’s coupled with two other key traits: a willingness to hear and act on the answers, he writes in A Curious Mind. Curiosity inspired Grazer to launch his now-legendary “curiosity conversations,” in which he meets one on one with an impressive array of scientists, actors, politicians and other celebrities.
Readers fearful of asking stupid questions or exposing their knowledge deficits will find plenty to cheer them up and onward in Grazer’s conviction that curiosity is both a protection against awkwardness and a confidence-building tool. “I’m never sorry I asked the next question,” he writes.
Still, Grazer would have served readers better—and, well, satisfied our curiosity—by offering concrete examples of how to apply and use curiosity in specific situations to achieve specific goals. Despite that confounding omission, Grazer is, above all, a storyteller who manages to regale readers with anecdotes of how his curiosity led to ideas that led to discussions that led to some of his most famous cinematic successes.
by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman
April; Simon & Schuster; $25.99