Provocative and Unconventional Business Book Teaches How to Tackle the Most Challenging Difficulties in Work and Life...through ARTISTRY

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How do CEOs, teachers, designers, and the rest of us solve today's "enigmatic problems" when there is no plan or single right answer? ARTISTRY UNLEASHED — with a Foreword by business guru Roger Martin — is a compelling new guide to achieving success and fulfillment in business, education and personal pursuits.

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“Here’s the big idea: The new MBA is an MFA. Artistry Unleashed could be the most important business book you’ll ever read. It will open your eyes and your mind to a new way of seeing and thinking!” ⎯ Alan M. Webber, co-founder Fast Company

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In an age when simple recipes are hailed as the solutions to our most vexing problems — yet repeatedly and predictably fail — Dr. Hilary Austen’s new book, ARTISTRY UNLEASHED: A Guide to Pursuing Great Performance in Work and Life (Rotman/UTP Publishing, October 2010) shows how to pursue the compelling alternative of “putting artistry to work.”

Whether faced with a social problem like the recent economic crisis, a business problem like designing a competitive strategy, or an everyday problem like creating a delicious meal, Austen’s message is at once daunting and liberating. In the face of open-ended, “enigmatic problems” like these, applying quick fixes and easy steps take you straight to mediocre uniformity. Life is not a single-answer problem, and neither is performance. To pursue great performance — in our schools, in our organizations, in our personal lives — what we need is not a quick fix but the creative and self-motivated drive to make life better, rather than simply easier.

How does conventional wisdom teach us to develop such people? It tells us to push: to apply standardized testing in schools, to apply monetary pressure on workers, to shape behavior by establishing best practices. It tells us to simplify the big problems, so they will be less discouraging and easier to solve. But today’s top thinkers agree this familiar path is a false path. Monetary pressures actually decrease performance and motivation. Standardized testing does not improve education and the formulation and solution of simplified problems aggravate rather than resolve complex problems in the long run.

Compelling evidence of this shortfall can be found every day in the news. In June 2010, NEWSWEEK reported on a recent IBM poll of 1,500 CEOs who identified creativity as the number one “leadership competency” of the future. Ironically, another recent study revealed that, while Intelligence Quotients measured by standardized tests are consistently rising, Creativity Quotients have been in decline for more than two decades.

ARTISTRY UNLEASHED meets the challenge of creativity vs. standardization head-on. This unconventional business book explores the work of horsemen, chefs, and painters alongside that of presidents, entrepreneurs, and organization experts. Why? Because artists across disciplines are great at something we all need to get better at: solving difficult problems for which no predetermined plan, no recipe, no quick-fix will win the day. Austen’s book shows how to address the kind of hard-to-grasp problems that artists solve every time they go to work — by cultivating judgment, feel, sense, proportion, balance, meaning, and fit.

With the phenomenal success of such famous college dropouts as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg, the necessity of finding unconventional approaches to enhancing performance cannot be denied. While creativity is certainly involved, ARTISTRY UNLEASHED makes the case for artistry as its own animal: spontaneous, unpredictable and not easy to harness. The book — building on engaging character studies across disciplines and providing helpful practical tools — illustrates how we can cultivate artistry in our own pursuits.

ARTISTRY UNLEASHED delivers a powerful and actionable system for tapping into artistry and thought leadership that, until now, has remained elusive to most. Austen proves that artistry is available to anyone who is willing to take risks and travel outside of what is familiar, ordinary, and predictable — to new ways of learning, doing, solving, and living. While this book never promises to make life easier, it does have the potential to make life better.

For more resources and to connect with Dr. Austen, visit her website at

Dr. Hilary Austen is an adjunct professor and member of the dean’s advisory board of the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. For more than 25 years she’s studied with advanced and developing practitioners in activities that range from organizational strategy and watercolor painting to horsemanship and culinary mastery. Together, her pursuits have revealed a universal approach to learning artistry in any discipline. Dr. Austen received a doctorate at Stanford University and offers international consulting services and workshops on achieving personal and professional artistry at She lives with her husband on a 25-acre organic farm in Sonoma County, California, where they pursue the art of cooking in a wood-fired oven.

About Rotman/UTP Publishing
Founded in 1901, University of Toronto Press (UTP) is Canada's leading academic publisher and one of the largest university presses in North America. UTP publishes approximately 200 new scholarly, course, reference, and general-interest books each year and maintains a backlist of over 2,000 titles. In partnership with the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto Press launched Rotman/UTP Publishing in October 2008, a new imprint devoted to publishing actionable business information of exceptional quality.

ARTISTRY UNLEASHED: A Guide to Pursuing Great Performance in Work and Life
Rotman/UTP Publishing, ISBN 9781442641303
Cloth, $35.00 (U.S. & Canada)


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