Last night’s unexpected passing of actor James Gandolfini has many talking The Sopranos this morning. The HBO series was probably one of the best-witten shows ever to appear on television. And Eduflack would even say it was better than the beautifully written Aaron Sorkin masterpieces SportsNight and The West Wing.
The Sopranos was as good as it was because the writing told a real story. It connected with the viewer on an emotional and intellectual level, allowing us to connect with the protagonist (Tony Soprano) in a very personal way. While few of us knew what it was like to be a Jersey mob boss, many of us could relate to the struggling father and husband, the man with anxiety disorder, the CEO fighting to keep his company together with a team of individuals resisting his efforts and resenting his role of authority.
As we think about successful communications in the education space, there is much we can learn from the writing of The Sopranos and how those words were delivered by Gandolfini and the other members of the fine cast. It perfected the art of storytelling, truly affecting our hearts and minds.
Today’s New York Daily News has a wonder compilation of some of Gandolfini’s best quotes while performing as Tony. And some of these provide us an interesting glimpse into some of the needed qualities of leadership, whether one is leading a crime family or a school improvement effort. Some of the highlights (as culled by Politico):
“All due respect, you got no f****ng idea what it’s like to be Number One. Every decision you make affects every facet of every other f****ng thing. It’s too much to deal with almost. And in the end you’re completely alone with it all.”
“Those who want respect, give respect.”
“A wrong decision is better than indecision.”
“Oh, poor baby. What do you want, a Whitman’s Sampler?”
“If you can quote the rules, you can obey them.”
“It’s good to be in something from the ground floor. I came too late for that and I know. But lately, I’m getting the feeling that I came in at the end. The best is over.”
Bada bing, y’all.