Master of Arts in Educational Technology (OMET) Pepperdine University  
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Book Review
  Art of Possibility (2002) Zander & Zander

What an excellent book! I learned much from reading about “possibilities.” As Zander and Zander begin Chapter one with “This is a How To Book of an unusual kind.” They did not disappoint! The talented authors move the reader from the cup is half empty to half full by the middle of the book. Roz Zander a family therapist and her husband Ben, conductor of the Boston Philharmonic Orchestra make a unique writing team. Each offers a refreshing outlook on the “the universe of possibility” (p. 17). They are both amazing storytellers.

Zander and Zander offer unusual concepts like grades. They say that the main purpose of grades is to compare one student against another. That is definitely one way to look at this form of assessment. They propose starting with an “A” with the thought being that an “A” is not an expectation to live up to but a “possibility to live into” (p. 26). I am not sure I agree with this idea but I do agree that it does offer an opportunity to reevaluate how we grade others.

I liked and appreciated the idea of the game of contribution. It seems like a good way to live ones life—someone who can help make a difference and “transforming conflicts into rewarding experiences” (p. 59).

We do need to let go of our anger! “A person cannot live a full life under the shadow of bitterness” (p. 64). These are words of wisdom! We are conditioned from childhood to seek attention and if we don’t receive that attention, we kick and scream until we are heard. Unfortunately, we carry that same desire to be recognized into our adult life. If we can’t throw a tantrum as in our youth, we become bitter and angry people. “When our attention is primarily directed to how wrong things are, we lose our power to act effectively “ (p. 104).

I have two mentoring relationship currently in which I am the mentor. The authors ask a very poignant question in chapter 5—How much greatness are we willing to grant? It is very important for a leader (or mentor) to be able to empower others. Sometimes this is difficult given the fact that we are human beings and humans are selfish by nature and guard their territories. The central self embraces power and control and the “calculating self is designed to look out for Number One” (p. 91).

I like “Rule Number 6” and plan to use it daily. I promise not to take myself so seriously. Life, as they say, is too short and we all need to “lighten up.” One of my favorite bits of wisdom that the Zanders offer is found on page 101, “the capacity to be present to everything that is happening, without resistance, creates possibility.” I will take with me from this reading the words of Marianne Williamson, “…We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us…”