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An Evening with Ben Zander & Intelligent Optimist


Consider this phrase: Intelligent Optimist. At first glance, it may strike you as an oxymoron. Is it? Or could it be a basic prescription to lead a fulfilling life?

This was the fundamental question posed by Benjamin Zander, Boston Philharmonic conductor extraordinaire, to an audience of close to 300 people at a launch event for the publication The Intelligent Optimist (formerly Ode magazine).  Several Trium team members, alumni and clients were fortunate enough to be in the audience as Mr. Zander exhorted, entertained and enthralled us with stories from his life and glimpses into the elusive world of classical music.

His message was clear: no matter what struggles or pain come one’s way, each of us has the capacity to respond a vision for possibility in our lives and for those around us.  From tales of his beloved father, who started a university in the midst of a Jewish internment camp, all the way to Mr. Zander’s present-day difficulties – most recently, he was let go from his job with the New England Conservatory after 45 years as the youth orchestra conductor there – the 73-year old Zander demonstrated the epitome of authentic leadership as he shared vulnerably from his life and the lessons he has learned along the way.

To our clients it comes as no surprise that we are huge fans of the book he co-authored with Rosamund Zander, The Art of Possibility, and we often use it with our clients to remove limitations they may be placing on themselves. Oxymoron or not, we wholeheartedly side with Zander that the mindset of “intelligent optimism” can lead to a brighter, bolder, daresay transformational view of what’s possible…both today and well into the future.


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