Start Me Up and Keep Me Growing

Start Me Up and Keep Me Growing

Management Learnings from the Rolling Stones

By Bertold Bär-Bouyssiere

This easy-to-read book tells how the Rolling Stones started out 60 years ago as a venture to confess the blues, unprepared for planetary success. It shows how they managed, adapted, innovated and grew, and how they succeeded in dealing with the interpersonal dynamics inherent in any form of human organization.

PDF, 170 Pages


June 2022

£15.95, $19.99

EPUB, 170 Pages


June 2022

£15.95, $19.99

  • About This Book
  • Reviews
  • Author Information
  • Series
  • Table of Contents
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  • Podcasts

About This Book

Many people know the Rolling Stones, their famous songs, their industrial-scale concerts, and their enormous wealth. However, what looks like a straightforward career path was in fact fraught with many threats and obstacles. There were many dramatic incidents where the Rolling Stones were on the verge of extinction, and there was the constant risk of becoming obsolete. However, through an infinite sequence of wise business decisions, artistic and commercial adjustments, and unbelievable painful efforts to overcome the centrifugal forces inherent in multi-person long-term interpersonal dynamics, the Stones became the greatest societal influencers of the post-war world, inspiring several generations as a model for perseverance, effort, creativity, and fun.

This easy-to-read book, inspired by the Harvard Business School Case Study format, narrates the band history with a focus on business aspects, management learnings and the interpersonal dynamics that repeatedly threatened to end the greatest success story of rock ‘n’ roll, but eventually culminated in an unrivalled planetary success. 

The short book is aimed at company founders, talent managers in large corporates and executive coaches, who seek inspiration for their own workplace, want to hear how the Stones made it, while still enjoying a good read.


“Thinking about the Rolling Stones as a professional services firm is an original take— many (highly entertaining!) analogies hold true, and the story of a successful rock band provides great inspiration for structuring professional services organizations.” – Dr. Heidi K. Gardner, Distinguished Fellow at Harvard Law School and Co-founder of Gardner & Co.

“It is great to learn from such an exceptional rock act, as likewise Professional Services Firms are full of ‘Rock Stars’! Fostering a partnership culture with the right mix of camaraderie, collaboration and room for merit-based rewards is indeed also at the core of consultancies.” – Ignacio Garcia Alves, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Arthur D. Little.

“This genuinely entertaining book is on point: rock bands as consultancies are businesses, and they rely on the creativity and goodwill of their members for success. The same mechanics are at work in my own record company where I work with fantastically creative and committed artists.” – Carsten Hess, Partner at Avisa Partners, Founder, CEO at Chesseurope srl, Co-Founder & Business Angel @ GrandChess Arts & Entertainment.

“A lovely case study for anyone who works with people and organizations, and a treat for those who admire the Rolling Stones for their music and career achievements.”—Professor Robert Eccles, Visiting Professor of Management Practice, Said Business School, University of Oxford

“Start Me Up and Keep Me Growing by Bertold Bär-Bouyssiere is not just a most important, smart and enjoyable book, but one that would give you profound understanding of the intricacies of the modern human condition and lessons for the times to come. Competitiveness is at the heart of human nature at any organizational level: states, political parties, businesses or musical associations. We admire how the key individuals of the Stones were able to maintain an equilibrium of power for such a long time, and we also admire the wisdom of the others who helped in making this adventure last.”—Professor Dr. Alexander Mirtchev, LLM, PhD, Vice-Chair of the Atlantic Council of US, President Krull Corporation

“Bertold has written a witty, enjoyable and relatable book for anyone running a growth business. Whether still in the garage or already gone viral, this book will be a page-turner for start-up entrepreneurs and leaders of mature businesses alike. Whether it’s about articulating your vision, getting initial traction, hyper-scaling or staying the course, Bertold’s decades of experience as a legal counsellor, technician, rainmaker and then elected board member of a global professional services firm, are lovingly translated through the eyes of a lifelong Rolling Stones fan. ‘Start Me Up and Keep Me Growing’ is not just for law firm partners, but for anyone building a growth business, especially startup founders.”—Louis Lehot, Partner, Foley & Lardner

“Great to read about the Stones from a business angle. Discipline, team-work, creative and financial ingenuity, exactly what all professional services firms are all about!”—Todd Seelman, Managing Partner Denver, Lewis Brisbois

“With acumen and insight, this entertaining reflection on the Stones’ success shows how professional services firms can preserve talent and grow corporate wealth. Overcoming insecurities and interpersonal tensions is key in working together in a creatively professional manner.”—Michael Magotsch, Partner, RIMÔN FALKENFORT

“An incredible success story that reveals an unexpected level of professionalism while acknowledging luck and the blessings of higher authority.”—Norbert Müller, Founder, Advacon Consultancy.

“It is fun to read about the world’s greatest band through the lens of a competition lawyer. Throughout the years, the Stones have expanded their market position through a multitude of horizontal and vertical collaborations. They contemplated mergers and proved to be a disruptive innovative force. In a major sub-segment of the wider rock ‘n’ roll market they hold a dominant position, and in today’s digital jargon they have achieved gatekeeper status.”—Ingo Brinker, Partner & Chair of Antitrust, Gleiss Lutz

Author Information

Bertold Bär-Bouyssiere, a passionate Rolling Stones fan of many years, is an international business lawyer and member of the EU Brussels Bubble with three decades of legal, governance and management experience.


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Table of Contents

WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THIS BOOK AND HOW TO USE IT (INTRO) ,A. ROCK BAND INTERPERSONAL WORKPLACE DYNAMICS, B. IT’S NOT ONLY ROCK ’N’ ROLL; Part One—Turning Vision into Talent (1962–1968);; Part Two—Turning Talent into Gold (1969–1988); Part Three—Turning Gold into Riches (1989 to Date); C. SOME VIRTUES (OUTRO); D. DRAMATIS PERSONAE (IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE); “The Rolling Stones”; Selected Bibliography; Autobiographical writings; Biographies; Other writings; Index


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