# Highly Recommended《New Book Condition + Power Of Creative Pair : Sometimes 1+1 Add Up To More Than 2 or Ten or To Infinity》J. Wolf Shenk -POWER OF TWO : Finding The Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs
This New York Times bestseller in paperback edition is a bran-new book and nicely wrapped with protective book-wrapper. The original new book is sold at usual price RM88.14. Now here Only at RM20. Sometimes one plus one adds up to more than two, or ten. It adds up to infinity, It shows How Relationships Drive Creativity. All of us have experienced creative connection, and glimpsed its power. Yet, for centuries, the myth of the lone genius has obscured the critical story of the power of collaboration. A revelatory synthesis of cultural history and social psychology that shows how one-to-one collaboration drives creative success Weaving the lives of scores of creative duos—from John Lennon and Paul McCartney to Marie and Pierre Curie to Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak—Joshua Wolf Shenk identifies the core qualities of that dizzying experience we call "chemistry." Revealing the six essential stages through which creative intimacy unfolds, Shenk draws on new scientific research and builds an argument for the social foundations of creativity—and the pair as its primary embodiment. Along the way, he reveals how pairs begin to talk, think, and even look like each other; how the most successful ones thrive on conflict; and why some pairs flame out while others endure. When it comes to shaping the culture, Shenk argues, two is the magic number, not just because of the dyads behind everything from South Park to the American Civil Rights movement to Starry Night, but because of the nature of creative thinking. Even when we're alone, we are in a sense "collaborating" with a voice inside our head. At once intuitive and surprising, Powers of Two will change the way we think about innovation. In Powers of Two, Joshua Wolf Shenk argues that creative pairs are the exemplars for innovation. Drawing on years of research on great partnerships in history - from Lennon and McCartney to Marie and Pierre Curie, plus hundreds more in fields including literature, popular culture, art and business - Shenk identifies the common journey pairs take from the spark of initial connection, through the passage to a cognitive 'joint identity' to competition and the struggle for power. Using scientific and psychological insights, he uncovers new truths about epic duos - and sheds new light on the genesis of some of the greatest creative work in history. He reveals hidden partnerships among people known only for their individual work (like C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien), and even 'adversarial collaborations' among those who are out to beat each other. This revelatory and lyrical book will make us see creative exchange as the central terrain of our psyches. In a book as formally inventive as it is intellectually compelling, Shenk shows that when it comes to the innovations that shape our culture, two is the magic number. Dyads are behind everything from South Park to the American civil rights movement to Starry Night; indeed, they are essential to creative thinking itself. Even when were alone, we are, in a sense, collaborating with a voice inside our head. At once intuitive and myth-shattering, Powers of Two changes how we think about how we think, and inspires us to reach out and think with each other. ------------------------------------------------ Review From The New York Times : The pair is a precious unit — private, generative, even holy. We can explore a couple’s inner workings if we have an invitation to do so. Otherwise, we must use any available external means: letters in archives, revealing anecdotes, loose-lipped quips in interviews. In order to understand creativity, we must learn from couples, Joshua Wolf Shenk argues in his new book, “Powers of Two.” Defying the myth of the lone genius, he makes the case that the chemistry of creative pairs — of people, of groups — forms the primary (albeit frequently hidden) structural basis of innovation. Pairs don’t often let us pry them apart, looking to see who contributed what. John Lennon wrote what would become “Strawberry Fields Forever” and Paul McCartney came up with “Penny Lane” as a rejoinder, yet their music is credited to both of them, written “eyeball to eyeball,” as Lennon put it, or “like mirrors” in McCartney’s view. Neal Brennan and Dave Chappelle have long agreed to keep private who wrote what in their comic sketches. “People always ask Ulay and me the same questions,” the artist Marina Abramovic told Shenk about her former partner. “ ‘Whose idea was it?’ or ‘How was this done?’ . . . But we never specify. Everything was interrelated and interdependent.” The daughter of Marie and Pierre Curie said that her parents’ work was a fused endeavor. It’s nearly impossible to distinguish their contributions by looking at their laboratory notebooks, where handwriting by each covers the pages. Shenk’s “Powers of Two” is a rare glimpse into the private realms of such duos. He writes with his face “pressed up against the glass” of paired figures from the present and the past — adding the likes of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien to the pairs mentioned above. At first, Shenk seems an unlikely author to focus on creative teamwork. “I am among the more isolated people I know,” he admits. “I have spent the vast majority of my adult life alone. Even when in the company of others, I struggle to direct my attention outward, rather than toward the constant murmuring and shouting in my head.” Yet Shenk’s solitary state also gives him an invaluable insight: The true nature of partnership, he argues, extends to that most elusive pairing — an individual’s relationship with his or her inner voice. Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” forms the narrative spine of Shenk’s small but sterling chapter about “the ‘other’ of the psyche,” co-creation with some unknown force. Throughout, Shenk inserts testimony about this mysterious yet timeless process, from Paul Simon describing how he writes songs by acting as “a transmitter” to Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk about co-creation with the muses and then to Rilke receiving the first line of the “Duino Elegies” from the unknown elsewhere. “The point is,” Shenk writes, “we don’t create by ourselves, even when we’re alone.” Yet creating with an internal pair is not enough. Shenk reminds us of this in a well-chosen quotation from a letter Emily Dickinson sent to Thomas Wentworth Higginson asking for his thoughts on her poetry: “Mr. Higginson, Are you too deeply occupied to say if my verse is alive? The mind is so near itself it cannot see distinctly and I have none to ask.” Shenk devises a structure for his book by tracing the life span of various creative pairs, from their first meeting to their parting of the ways. He looks at many possible variations: the star and director archetype (George Balanchine and Suzanne Farrell, Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, Mohandas Gandhi and Mahadev Desai), the competitive pair (Larry Bird and Magic Johnson, Ann Landers and her sister, Abigail Van Buren) and the hidden partnership (Tiger Woods and his former caddie Steve Williams). The result is a view of creative pairs ranging from those with friction and passion who “talk over each other wildly, like seals flopping together on a pier” to others, like Merce Cunningham and John Cage, who “behave with an almost severe respect, like two monks side by side.” Yet ultimately, no matter what the type, he shows how pairs form “a single organism,” communicating through a private language. “Why have so many of these relationships been obscured and neglected?” Shenk asks. He answers, in part, by reminding us of the willful blindness or unconscious bias that makes us attribute work to an individual when it was actually produced by a couple or in a group. Part of this is because of what the sociologist Robert Merton has called the Matthew effect — the better-known member of a creative pair often gets nearly full credit. (The name was inspired by a line from the Gospel of Matthew, “To all those who have, more will be given . . . but from those who have nothing, even what they have will be taken away.”) A natural storyteller, Shenk includes intriguing details in his depictions of figures we might assume we already know well — a glimpse of Dickinson, for example, listening to her father’s funeral from her bedroom upstairs, the door left ajar. At times, though, he assumes too much familiarity on our part. He often makes a brief reference to a climactic moment in the life of a creative person — Jeff Koons, say, or Patti Smith — and then moves on. It can seem like narrative composition in prolonged staccato. Yet overall, “Powers of Two” is so thorough it could be the textbook for a course on creative pairs. In other words, it may be best read in stages. Shenk’s language, when he steps away from his engrossing narratives, veers toward the academic, yet it’s precisely this analytical sensibility that distinguishes his book from others that discuss creative couples, from Phyllis Rose’s “Parallel Lives” to Rachel Cohen’s “A Chance Meeting” and Harold Bloom’s “The Anxiety of Influence.” In his introduction, Shenk mentions the “chemistry” that helped inspire his project — with Eamon Dolan, who edited both his first book, “Lincoln’s Melancholy,” and this one — and then, in an epilogue, writes about the experience with a blistering fury that acquiesces into understanding. “I’ve lived every theme I describe here through our relationship,” Shenk writes, yet it remains “an example of the chemistry that I intended to investigate.” Shenk’s candid statements give the reader a rare glimpse into the process of writing and publishing a book. To read Shenk’s raw, uncommonly free confessional passages about his dealings with his editor is to understand the animating force of this endeavor. “Eamon, in his last round of edits, instructed me to end the book with an exhortation to readers ‘to embrace the possibility of creative pairs in our own lives,’ ” but, Shenk admits, “I certainly don’t feel like a man in a position to exhort.” He confesses that a cascade of missed deadlines led him to finish his manuscript under duress. At the time, he worried that he wouldn’t properly conclude his study of creative pairing because of difficulties with his own. Exploring Shenk’s relationship with his editor unites “Powers of Two” in prose, concept and practice. If any reader doubts his thesis, Shenk’s comments serve as a final reminder: Just when we think an innovation came from an individual, we see that it was, in fact, created for and with someone else — the other half of an often hidden pair. About the Author JOSHUA WOLF SHENK is a curator, essayist, and the author of Lincoln's Melancholy, a New York Times Notable Book. A contributor to The Atlantic, Harper's, The New Yorker, and other publications, he directs the Arts in Mind series on creativity and serves on the general council of The Moth. He lives in Los Angeles.
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