Please Please Collaborate with Me

In the book The Beatles Anthology John Lennon talks about his development of the song "Please, Please Me." He says he was just trying to write a Roy Orbison song. (If you sing this classic Beatles song aloud or just hum the melody to yourself and you're at all familiar with 1960s rock 'n' roll, you'll recognize Roy Orbison's sound right away.) As Lennon was playing with the lyrics, there was something missing that he wanted to bring to the song. He found what he was looking for in, of all places, a Bing Crosby song with the words "please, please" in it.

Musicians and singers collaborate all the time when performing one another's material. Hendrix did Dylan's

"All Along the Watch-

tower." Pavarotti, of course, does Puccini in many forms. Barbra streisand, although she has written some wonderful material, has also collaborated with many great writers over the years, styling their songs with her unique touch. Rap artists have taken collaboration to an entirely new place with sampling.

You may recall a few years ago when the then three living Beatles collaborated with the deceased John Lennon by adding their tracks to his basement recordings of "Free as a Bird." I had to laugh at the minor uproar this recording caused. Many people took exception to the fab three's collaborative effort. California ex-governor Jerry Brown almost blew a head gasket over it. Did he not recognize how Lennon himself collaborated with people in the grave — Buddy Holly, for instance?

It's not just in music. I'd say it is impossible for anyone on this planet to get up in the morning and make it through a day without collaborating with some deceased soul. The question is, are you collaborating with geniuses or mere mortals? If you're doing it consciously, it's more likely to be the former.

You can use the thoughts of other great people. You have the ability. All these thoughts become part of the public domain at a certain point in time.

Are you choosing to be guided by brilliant people, standing on the shoulders of giants, or are you standing on the shoulders of mental midgets, the dullards who do what's been done a thousand times before in your industry? If your source of inspiration is to watch wrestling on TV I'm not convinced you're going to nourish your mind. High-achieving people constantly try to elevate their minds and continually strive to be inspired by one another. We discuss this at length toward the end of the book (Chapter 21) when I speak to biographies as some of the greatest creative thinking textbooks ever written.

Cheat Notes for Chapter 10: Collaborate with Genius

Get out of your own mind where you keep crunching the same data all the time; it's not particularly fresh territory.

Rather than going to a galaxy of thought outside of the area that you're working in, instead go to a mind other than your own.

Don't collaborate with just anyone; seek the assistance of a brilliant person.

You can be particularly inspired by people outside your category.

The secret of Collaborating with Genius is to ask, "How would [fill in high-achieving individual of choice] approach this?"

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