Summary of They Told Me Not to Take That Job

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They Told Me Not to Take That Job book summary
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Rating

7

Qualities

  • Innovative

Recommendation

Accomplished businessman, board member and Columbia University professor Reynold Levy ran New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts for 12 years. Deeply vested in the nonprofit world and accustomed to its Machiavellian politics, Levy led Lincoln Center through a massive renovation and fund-raising drive. He dealt with every conceivable bureaucratic battle and flamboyant personality. Through it all, Levy remained pragmatic, dedicated and determined to leave Lincoln Center more financially secure, artistically daring and internationally famous than he found it. He stood at the epicenter of high culture in New York City and tells the stories that prove it. Levy spins amazing tales of vicious infighting and artistic heroism. His prose can be a bit dense, and he asks sequential rhetorical questions when you might long for simple statements of fact. Even so, you can’t get more inside the worlds of cultural, civic and financial power than this. getAbstract recommends Levy’s take-no-prisoners memoir to CEOs, managers of nonprofits, and fans of opera, ballet, symphony, jazz and film.

About the Author

Reynold Levy is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, a special adviser to a private equity firm, and a consultant to nonprofits.

 

Summary

“Parochialism Prevailed”

Reynold Levy took over as the president of New York City’s Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in March 2002 and held that post until January 31, 2014. While many people regard Lincoln Center as a place for the elite, Levy believes it belongs to working-class people. He sought to widen Lincoln Center’s offerings of subsidized tickets and public access to free performances.

When he arrived, Lincoln Center was a maelstrom of competing fiefdoms, all facing a billion-dollar redevelopment plan. Lincoln Center’s constituent members, its “resident artistic organizations,” are the Lincoln Center Institute, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Juilliard School, the Lincoln Center Theater, the Metropolitan Opera, the New York City Ballet, the New York Philharmonic, the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts and the School of American Ballet.

Each performing arts organization is autonomous, but their leaders can confer with Lincoln Center’s leaders about their issues. Each constituent makes its own internal decisions, has major responsibility for its own fund raising...


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