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Rebel, Rebel — Role Model Troublemakers

Updated: Jul 31, 2020

[Note: A version of “Role Model Rebels” was first published in Michael's Friday5 newsletter. Subscribe here.]

I’m inspired by people who break the rules. Role model rebels are everywhere and we can learn a lot from them.

Disruption makes the world go round, people. Coloring outside the lines is almost always okay. As long as what you’re doing isn’t illegal, immoral or unethical, have at it.

Oh, there may be consequences for being rebellious. But you just may be rewarded. Sometimes, you’ll be punished and rewarded at the same time.

Two new books about rebellion have captured my attention this month. Both extol the virtues of disruption.

Rebel, rebel

Singer and songwriter, Joni Mitchell is one of the most unique talents of her generation.

A polio survivor, Joni started out in folk music and then crossed over into jazz and more eclectic forms of music.

Mitchell composed her various songs in over 40 “open” guitar tunings and in the early days, quickly tuned by ear while on stage. Fiercely independent, Joni seldom even used a producer on her records.

I really enjoyed the audio version of David Jaffee’s book, Reckless Daughter: A Portrait of Joni Mitchell. The number of famous people in Joni’s life is stunning and had me reminiscing about my time in the music business with the Caruso brothers band. I suppose my brothers and I were role model rebels of sorts.

I often read two books during the same time period.

While I was enjoying the Mitchell biography in the car, I coincidentally started a print version of Rebel Talent: Why It Pays to Break the Rules at Work and in Life by Francesca Gino.

The author is a gifted storyteller and a professor at the Harvard Business School.

Gino makes the case that some rules are made to be broken and that maybe some rules shouldn’t even be rules.

I dunno, maybe I’m thinking about rebelling a bit this summer. You, too?

Read how a rebellious young comedian named Jerry Lewis changed comedy in this article.

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