I’d recommend reading Larry Lange’s “The Beatles Way: Fab Wisdom for Everyday Life” – a pretty interesting, light, non-preachy book on the subject. I don’t have the book with me, but some takeaway points I remember:
Build the best team that you can find
Ditch your Pete Best for a better Ringo. Be willing to let go of original members (Shotton who?) for better team members (McCartney, Harrison) that you might not necessarily personally know.
“Make your own dream. That’s the Beatles’ story, isn’t it? … Don’t expect Jimmy Carter or Ronald Reagan or John Lennon or Yoko Ono or Bob Dylan or Jesus Christ to come and do it for you. You have to do it yourself.” (Lennon)
Set your goals in realistic steps
The best in Liverpool –> Top 20 UK –> Top 1 UK –> US + the world. When “Love Me Do” reached #17 in the UK charts, one of them said that they were “really happy… because that’s our goal at the time. Not #1, not top 5, but top 20” (can’t find the exact quote here…)
In Hamburg, they played for long hours every night. After their breakout, they averaged two albums / year, with crazy touring schedule around the world and 5 movies in 9 years. No one now work on that kind of schedule.
Expect the most from people
Lennon wanted to combine his two favorite tracks for Strawberry Fields Forever. When George Martin protested that it was impossible, as the two are in different tempo and keys, Lennon said, “Well, you can fix it.” and Martin did.
This happened a lot in the studio, as they wanted weirder and weirder effects for their songs.
Praise when it counts, but not too much
McCartney commented that Lennon was ungenerous with praise, motivating him to work harder and harder. When Lennon did praise people, he did it in private – and he meant it.
Have a sense of humor
Their interviews are funny! George Martin wasn’t that impressed with their original songs audition – but he quipped that he would sign them on their wit alone.
Don’t care too much about education – care about real skills
None of them can read music. Back in Liverpool, they would skip school to hop on a bus to go see someone in another town to learn how to play a chord.
It’s crazy to think that “Please Please Me” and “A Day in the Life” are only 4 years apart. They make it a point to make each album different, and not to stick with their winning formula.
Healthy rivalry is good
Lennon – McCartney’s rivalry makes them better together than not. Beatles – Beach Boys friendship and rivalry makes both Pet Sounds and Sgt. Pepper’s better.
Help people – even your rivals
Lennon / McCartney gave The Rolling Stones their song (“I Wanna Be Your Man“) for their first single. Beatles and the Beach Boys’ members contributed to each other’s records.
Don’t give up
They were rejected a lot. Remember “Guitar groups are on their way out, Mr. Epstein”?