Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Simplicity of Complexity

While on vacation, I finally had a chance to catch up on some reading that had been building up for months, including the May 2011 issue of Discover magazine.  In a sidebar peace, Valerie Ross discusses research regarding the satisfaction we get from listening to music, and how it "can activate the same reward circuits in the brain as food and sex."  The study also looked at the compression of music and found that great works of music "seem complicated but can be distilled to surprisingly basic terms."

For years, I have been unable to work without at least some background music playing (it probably comes from my college days when I was the music director at the radio station and was inundated weekly with new music).  But even these days, a quiet office without some music drives me nuts.  If they had let me, I would have brought headphones with music to the bar exam.  The silence in those rooms was so distracting that I'm surprised I was able to pass the exams.

Ms. Ross also notes a lesson about songs that can be applied to law and our daily lives - even complicated matters can often be distilled into more basic ones.  When approaching a litigation, often a "core message" that is properly tailored to a client's desired outcome can survive an entire case, which can last years, and tie together the entire controversy at trial's end.  Staying on that core message can lead to a coherent strategy and a focused, determined client at trial.

Indeed, just like an orchestra leader conducting a symphony, when all of the beautiful, complex music blends as one, the outcome is truly music to our ears.

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