Nashville realtor Richard Courtney discovered over the long and winding road of life that to be successful in business it pays to listen to The Beatles.
The bottom line? All you need is love.
“You have to let your passion drive you,” says Courtney, who co-wrote “Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles.” He and his writing mate, George Cassidy, will be signing their book at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Murfreesboro Barnes & Noble and then at 1 p.m. June 25 at the Murfreesboro Hastings.
“The book is a guide for anyone and any business on how to succeed like The Beatles,” the co-author said last week. “To be successful in business starts with self evaluation: who the person is. Then we went with the lyrics from ‘Strawberry Fields,’ where the theme throughout is ‘No one I think is in my tree.’ You have to let your passion drive you to your tree and then climb your own branch and develop something that is unique.”
The how-to-guide looks at how four teenage greasers from Liverpool, England, turned into a multi-billion-dollar franchise with multigenerational appeal. Covering everything from group dynamic to taxes, revenue streams and beyond, each of the book’s 100 short, yet insightful chapters takes inspiration from legendary Beatles lyrics to offer up useful business lessons in conjunction with the intriguing history of the Fab Four (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr).
In looking to The Beatles, the book reveals two of the main tips for business success are knowing when to bring on a new partner and knowing when to let somebody go.
“When John took Paul on, he knew that Paul was a better musician and singer, but for the good of the entity he knew Paul’s presence would make the company better,” Courtney said. “The other thing is the way they used to fire people. As a company grows, peoples’ weaknesses grow, and there comes a time when you have to shatter the weak link.”
Courtney, 56, grew up in Columbia, Tenn., and became a Beatles fan at age 8 when he first heard their hit “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.” While he has served as the president of the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors and been a newspaper columnist, he also founded the Nashville Beatles Festival. Obviously, his adoration of the band inspired the book, but he had a little help from his best friend.
“My wife, Beth, and I were riding around, and she told me about something going on in her office. I said, ’That reminds me of how Paul McCartney must have felt when John Lennon showed him the album cover of ‘Two Virgins’ (where Lennon and wife Yoko Ono were nude).’ Beth said to me, ‘Anytime I tell you something about anything, you tell me how it relates to The Beatles. You think everything in life relates to The Beatles.’”
The light bulb popped on in Courtney’s mind, and he began making a list of business matters and related Beatles’ songs.
“I got the list to 80 or 90 topics. Then I got it to 112, and then I honed it down to 100. So I had 100 chapters with two or three pages a piece,” he said.
Next he linked up with Cassidy, also a Beatles fan but equally important a business writer and analyst for a number of blue chip companies like Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and Bank of America and a songwriter and freelance recording engineer to boot.
“I already had the concept and 100 chapters. I would write a chapter and send it to him. Sometimes he would not touch it or just change a few things, and sometimes he rewrote the whole chapter,” Courtney said.
Their collaboration, plus gleaning insight from those who were close to or worked with the Beatles, propelled the book to national media attention this spring.
“The business community has really embraced it and that is where most of the sales are, with professionals,” says Courtney. “We get email every couple of days where someone says, ‘I read it every morning before I go to work.’ It’s somewhat of an inspirational book too.”
And one glitch in the project may have improved the final product.
“Originally, each chapter had a Beatles song title with a few lines of lyrics, but getting those licensed was difficult, so we pulled the song titles and lyrics, which I thought would sink the book,” said the writer. “Then when they were removed, it gave each chapter a cryptic sense of a fantasy song title. That made it look more clever than it really is.”
Meet the authors
Richard Courtney and George Cassidy will sign Come Together: The Business Wisdom of the Beatles at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 18, at Barnes & Noble, The Avenue, 2615 Medical Center Parkway, in Murfreesboro. The two also will be signing 1 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at Hastings in Murfreesboro (1660 Memorial Blvd.). The book sells for $25. For more info, go to www.beatlesbusiness.com.
From left, former Beatle Paul McCartney, Richard Courtney, Anne Davis and her husband, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean, spent a few minutes together in Music City last year when McCartney came to town for a concert.