Powers of Two
eBook - ePub

Powers of Two

How Relationships Drive Creativity

Joshua Wolf Shenk

  1. 336 pages
  2. English
  3. ePUB (mobile friendly)
  4. Available on iOS & Android
eBook - ePub

Powers of Two

How Relationships Drive Creativity

Joshua Wolf Shenk

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Table of contents

About This Book

The power of collaboration, from Lennon and McCartney to Wozniak and Jobs: "An inspiring book that also happens to be a great read " (Daniel H.Pink, author of Drive ). Throughout history, partners have buoyed each other to better work—though often one member is little known to the general public. (See Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, or Vincent and Theo van Gogh.) Powers of Two draws on neuroscience, social psychology, and cultural history to present the social foundations of creativity, with the pair as its primary embodiment. Revealing the six essential stages through which creative intimacy unfolds, this book shows how pairs begin to talk, think, and even look like each other; how the most successful ones thrive on conflict; and why some cease to work together while others carry on. At once intuitive and deeply surprising, Powers of Two will reshape the way you view individuals, relationships, and society itself. "A rare glimpse into the private realms of duos... A natural storyteller." — The New York Times "A book about magic, about the Beatles, about the chemistry between people, about neuroscience, and about the buddy system; it examines love and hate, harmony and dissonance, and everything in between... Wise, funny, surprising, and completely engrossing." —Susan Orlean "We sometimes think of creativity as coming from brilliant loners. In fact, it more often happens when bright people pair up and complement each other. Shenk's fascinating book shows how to spark the power of this phenomenon." —Walter Isaacson "Surprising, compelling... Shenk banishes the idea of solitary genius by demonstrating that our richest art and science come from collaboration: we need one another not only for love, but also for thinking and imagining and growing and being." —Andrew Solomon

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Mariner Books

Introduction: 1 + 1 = Infinity

For centuries, the myth of the lone genius has towered over us like a colossus. The idea that new, beautiful, world-changing things come from within great minds is now so common that we don’t even consider it an idea. These bronze statues have come to seem like old-growth trees—monuments to modern thinking that we mistake for part of the natural world.

Five years ago, I became preoccupied with this thing we call “chemistry” or “electricity” between people. My first impulse was personal: I wanted to understand the quality of connection whose presence accounted for the best times of my life and whose absence made for the worst. This led me to think about Eamon Dolan, who edited my first book, Lincoln’s Melancholy. My relationship with Eamon was an example of the chemistry that intrigued me. As I reflected on this, it occurred to me that the question of chemistry itself—and an inquiry into it based on eminent creative pairs—would get right to the nexus of our interests.

Where did the myth of the lone genius come from, anyway? The very short answer is that it emerged in the Enlightenment, grew popular in the Romantic era, and took its final shape in the contemporary United States. From the start, the myth was entwined with a view of human nature as a product of the atomized self. So much of what we believe to be true about how we develop, how we operate, and indeed who we are evolved in the shadow of an erroneous idea about human beings as self-contained, cut off, solitary.

Table of contents

  1. Title Page
  2. Contents
  3. Copyright
  4. Dedication
  5. Epigraph
  6. Author's Note
  7. Prelude
  8. Introduction: 1 + 1 = Infinity
  10. “You Remind Me of Charlie Munger”
  11. Identical Twins from the Ends of the Earth
  12. “Like Two Young Bear Cubs”
  14. Presence → Confidence → Trust
  15. The Turn of Faith
  16. “Everybody Just Get the Fuck Out”
  17. “No Power in Heaven, Hell or Earth”
  19. In the Spotlight (in the Shadows)
  20. Jokestein and Structureberg
  21. Inspiration and Perspiration
  22. Turn-Taking
  23. “Everything’s the Opposite”
  24. The “Other” of the Psyche
  26. Creative Monks and Siamese Twins
  27. “Somehow We Also Kept Surprising Each Other”
  28. “Desire for That Which Is Missing”
  30. My Most Intimate Enemy
  31. Luke Skywalker and Han Solo
  32. “We All Want the Hand”
  33. “I Love to Scrap with Orv”
  34. Varieties of Alphas and Betas
  35. “What About McCartney-Lennon?”
  37. “Listen, This Is Too Crazy . . .”
  38. The Paradox of Success
  39. Failure to Repair
  40. The Never Endings
  41. Epilogue: Barton Fink at the Standard Hotel
  42. Acknowledgments
  43. Selected Sources
  44. Notes
  45. Index
  46. Sample Chapter from LINCOLN’S MELANCHOLY
  47. Buy the Book
  48. About the Author
  49. Footnotes
Citation styles for Powers of Two

APA 6 Citation

Shenk, J. W. (2014). Powers of Two ([edition unavailable]). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Retrieved from https://www.perlego.com/book/2418676/powers-of-two-how-relationships-drive-creativity-pdf (Original work published 2014)

Chicago Citation

Shenk, Joshua Wolf. (2014) 2014. Powers of Two. [Edition unavailable]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. https://www.perlego.com/book/2418676/powers-of-two-how-relationships-drive-creativity-pdf.

Harvard Citation

Shenk, J. W. (2014) Powers of Two. [edition unavailable]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Available at: https://www.perlego.com/book/2418676/powers-of-two-how-relationships-drive-creativity-pdf (Accessed: 15 October 2022).

MLA 7 Citation

Shenk, Joshua Wolf. Powers of Two. [edition unavailable]. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2014. Web. 15 Oct. 2022.