I have only ever received one movie recommendation from John Allison, the former CEO of BB&T and the Cato Institute: Whiplash. After it appeared in theaters a year and a half ago, he emailed me and basically said, "you should watch this." John is one of the most impressive and inspiring leaders I know, so when I received this email, I paid attention.
In the movie, a student passionate about drumming, Nieman, gets the chance to perform under the tutelage of one of the most accomplished, demanding, and overbearing instructors in the world, Fletcher, and follows Nieman's rise, fall, and rise again in the pursuit of excellence of his craft. It is an artistic portrayal of Jim Collins' famous line, "Good is the enemy of the great." The overriding message of the movie is the unfathomable nature for most people of the requirements to excel, which are:
Some might challenge this by saying that this is actually a much darker story than the one I depict here. I agree that this interpretation has merit, and don't think one should watch the movie believing everything Fletcher did or Nieman accepted was appropriate. What matters most, though, is what you primarily take away when watching the movie: Do you appreciate the core message that excellence requires hardship and unrelenting dedication? Or do you see it as a morality tale of the ills of pushing the limits?
Here's another way of putting it: Which interpretation will do more to help you in your journey? There's a reason John Allison recommended the movie to me and the rest of SFL. And so, i'm going to say here that if you haven't seen Whiplash yet, you should do so as well.
This is a place to share my passion for liberty, thoughts on leadership, and other musings.