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  • Writer's pictureMark Olivito

Lessons From The Sopranos

Updated: Jul 1, 2022

Life hasn’t been the same since the Soprano’s went off the air. Despite the over the top violence, and stereo-typical, negative profiles of Italians from NJ (OK maybe I’m just a touch sensitive here!), the HBO series was flat-out entertaining and set the standard for a drama series. It was a game-changer in the TV biz, like American Idol.

UNLIKE AI, they never threw a Hail Mary, and stayed true to what made them successful at all times.

Besides the entertainment, there are real life lessons in each episodes, and scenes that make you think. Some kind to mind:

  • Family scenes. Especially those over the great Italian Food. Life’s little moments. Old school traditions that matter.

  • Scenes with “tough confrontation.” Not the violence, the direct, in your face confrontation of whatever the issue at hand happens to be.

    • Never any ambiguity of an issue or where someone stands was simply refreshing.

    • Jack Welch calls it “Candor,” and the series was all about that and then someone. Lack of Candor in the workplace slows things down. And speed Kills in a hyper-competitive market.

  • When Old School Meets New School.

    • Usually in the area of Power, who leads, who sits back. Most were messy & bloody outcomes, sometimes they nailed it perfectly without the violence. But the philosophical differences provided intrigue to no end.

  • Life’s FUNNY moments. Life was always celebrated, sometimes over each other’s expense.

    • In NJ, this is called “ball breaking.” It’s a habit I inherited from my father. His BB DNA and sense of humor lives on with me.

Below are some great clips that touch on each of these. Of course, adult language and some with violence, so viewer caution.

Meadow and Tony’s first “heart to heart” while driving to New England

Tony Soprano toast at Family dinner: Traditions matter

Silvio confronts the boss, throws caution to the wind as troops are unsettled and the #2 confronts the #1. Standing up equals leadership. Silvio exposes a blind spot or 2 to Tony. Great leaders need a #2 that will call it like they see it. Silvio is that guy.

Tony and Christopher talk leadership & succession planning: “It’s a matter of trust”
Ever hear the expression: “Love what you do!” Have passion! Celebrate life! The most violent of the clips, but maybe one of the most priceless scenes in Soprano’s history.

Sometimes “Thank You” is all that’s needed. Old School meets New School at dinner.

Update: 6/20/13: RIP James Gandolfini, passed away in Italy on 6/19/13. A legend will live on through all his work. Thank’s for the memories and sharing your awesome talent
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