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Powers of Two

How Relationships Drive Creativity

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


“This is 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. The result is wise, funny, surprising, and completely engrossing.” — Susan Orlean
Lennon and McCartney, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Pierre and Marie Curie. 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.) In Powers of Two, Joshua Wolf Shenk 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, Shenk 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.
“Sterling . . . a rare glimpse into the private realms of duos . . . Shenk is a natural storyteller.” — Sarah Lewis, New York Times
“In this surprising, compelling, deeply felt book, Joshua Wolf 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

From Publishers Weekly

Jun 09, 2014 – In this intriguing yet uneven study, Shenk (Lincoln’s Melancholy) explores the nature of creativity as defined and manifested through numerous pairings, ranging from true partnerships like John Lennon and Paul McCartney’s to rivalries between competitors such as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates. Shenk looks at how such duos nudge one another toward greatness, provide the missing ingredient in a winning formula, add a spark of inspiration, and so on. He looks at scientific teams (James D. Watson and Francis Crick), artistic pairs (Theo and Vincent van Gogh), business partnerships (Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger), and familial rivalries (the sisters who wrote the Ask Ann Landers and Dear Abby columns). Each category can further broken down into six stages—meeting, confluence, archetypes, distance, the infinite game, and interruption—to show how such pairs need not be limited by proximity, friendship, or even cooperation. One of the most telling stories is the rivalry between basketball legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird, who never even dared to relax their tension lest it impact their performances. While the narrative is somewhat disjointed, leaping from one pair to the next with dizzying speed, the material remains interesting, even eye-opening, illuminating a complicated subject.
Powers of Two
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  • $9.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Psychology
  • Published: Apr 07, 2015
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Seller: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company
  • Print Length: 336 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.5 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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