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Powers of Two
Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs

By Joshua Wolf Shenk

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.





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Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative PairsBy Joshua Wolf Shenk


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Powers of Two
Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs

By Joshua Wolf Shenk

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.




 

From the Inside Flap
A lyrical, revelatory synthesis of cultural history and social psychology that shows how one-to-one collaboration drives creative success
Weaving together 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 academic research, original reportage, and historical evidence to show that creativity is not the work of an individual mind. In fact, it is a social activity, and the pair is its primary embodiment. Along the way, he describes how partners in 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.

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 we re 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.

Reviewers’ Comments

Powers of Two is such a brilliant, compelling book, it’s hard to imagine that Shenk left any part of himself behind in the writing of it. Or maybe, as he posits, his separateness suffered while his book gained from the merger with his adored editor: the sacrifice of self that’s necessary to achieve successful creative coupledom.” 
Chicago Tribune

“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

When I spoke with John Lennon in 1980—the final in-depth interview of his life—he described writing many songs ‘eyeball to eyeball’ with Paul McCartney. Powers of Two conveys the intimacy and complexity of their collaboration—and collaboration in general—with brilliant clarity.”
—David Sheff,
author of All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono

“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

All future accounts of artistry and innovation will be enriched by the treasures Joshua Wolf Shenk has uncovered in the creativity of pairs.
Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift

 




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Lawrence Brammer and Ginger MacDonald: The Helping Relationship


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The Helping Relationship
Processes and Skills

by Lawrence M. Brammer and Ginger MacDonald

Counseling is not just a specialized profession reserved for a few trained individuals. All people are called upon at certain points in their lives to serve as counselors, listeners, or helpers in some way. Basic counseling skills are a necessity for every single individual, whether one is a parent listening to his teenager, a family member helping another cope with the loss of a loved one, a doctor counseling a patient about a terminal illness, a friend providing support for another friend, or even a business professional engaging in active listening at a meeting or interview. Counseling requires leadership and compassion, and it is a skill that all must possess in order to live with others in the world. This book describes in non-technical language the human helping process and provides training for anyone interested in becoming a helper. Filled with examples and step-by-step outlines on how to develop basic counseling skills, this book focuses on helping people learn to help themselves and each other. Providing a systematic approach to acquiring helping skills, this book cuts through psychological jargon and reaches across various professions and settings. Readers are asked to consider important personal issues of being a helper as they enter professional or paraprofessional roles as helpers. Social workers, counselors, human service professionals, business professionals, law professionals, medical professionals, and anyone interested in becoming a helper.






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Brother David Steindl-Rast: Gratefulness the Heart of Prayer


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Gratefulness, The Heart of Prayer
An Approach to Life in Fullness

Brother David Steindl-Rast

Brother David Steindl-Rast explores the many meanings and benefits of the spiritual practice of gratitude. Here is an excerpt that explains the link between joy and gratefulness.

“Ordinary happiness depends on happenstance. Joy is that extraordinary happiness that is independent of what happens to us. Good luck can make us happy, but it cannot give us lasting joy. The root of joy is gratefulness. We tend to misunderstand the link between joy and gratefulness. We notice that joyful people are grateful and suppose that they are grateful for their joy. But the reverse is true: their joy springs from gratefulness. If one has all the good luck in the world, but takes it for granted, it will not give one joy. Yet even bad luck will give joy to those who manage to be grateful for it. We hold the key to lasting happiness in our own hands. For it is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.”






 


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Susan Herbst: Rude Democracy — Civility and Incivility in American Politics


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Rude Democracy
Civility and Incivility in American Politics

Susan Herbst

Democracy is, by its very nature, often rude. But there are limits to how uncivil we should be. In her timely and important book, Rude Democracy, Susan Herbst explores the ways we discuss public policy, how we treat each other as we do, and how we can create a more civil national culture. Herbst uses the examples of Sarah Palin and Barack Obama to illustrate her case. She scrutinizes Palin as both victim and perpetrator of incivility, including close analysis of her speeches on the 2008 campaign trail, the tone at her rallies, and her interactions with her audience. Turning to Barack Obama, Herbst argues that a key 2009 speech reveals much about his own perspective on American civility as it pertains to contentious issues such as abortion, and notes, too, what the controversy surrounding the speech reveals about the nature of public opinion in the United States. She also dissects Palin's and Obama's roles in the 2009 health care debate. Finally, in a fascinating chapter, Herbst examines how young people come to form their own attitudes about civility and political argument. In Rude Democracy, Susan Herbst insists that Americans need to recognize the bad tendencies and habits we have developed, use new media for more effective debate, and develop a tougher and more strategic political skin. She urges us to boost both the intelligence and productivity of our debates, noting that the effort demands a commitment to the nature of argument itself. Rude Democracy outlines a plan for moving forward and creating a more civil climate for American politics. 



Dr. Susan Herbst is a communications and public policy scholar and is president of the University of Connecticut.  Before she assumed her current position she was Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer for the University System of Georgia, and Professor of Public Policy at Georgia Tech. Her research focuses on public opinion, mass media, and the nature of the policy-making process in the United States. Herbst’s current work focuses on the nature civility in contemporary American politics.

   

 

 

 

 

 



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Stephen L. Carter: Civility — Manners, Morals and the The Etiquette of Democracy


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Civility
Manners, Morals and the The Etiquette of Democracy

Stephen L. Carter

Editorial Reviews:
 
"Carter not only defends the legitimacy of religious argument but provides an impressive example of how a believer may engage in civil debate with fellow citizens who do not share his faith… Stephen L. Carter one of America's leading public intellectuals." —New York Times Book Review

"Part theology, part ethics, part political science… A thoughtful and provocative book."– Publishers Weekly

"Carter's passionate plea for the 'we' over the 'me' is most welcome and constructive… Such honesty is rare from an American scholar today." —Chicago Tribune

"Civility, Stephen Carter reminds us, matters. Its foundations is in the heart and in our love and respect for our fellow human beings. Our institutions, culture, communities, and country cannot long survive the loss of this basic and essential ingredient of civilization. Nor can any of us." –Marian Wright Edelman, president, Children's Defense Fund

"Perceptive, insightful, erudite, timely, and yet profound–books just do not come any better." –Amitai Etzioni, author of The New Golden Rule

"Stephen Carter has become one of the most provocative analysts of American life since de Tocqueville, and one of the easiest to read. Civility will raise hackles, but always with civility. It's the rare writer who makes you like him even when you disagree. Stephen Carter is a rare writer." –John Cardinal O'Connor, archbishop of New York


Stephen L. Carter is the William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Law at Yale University.

Born in 1954 in Washington, D.C., Professor Carter was educated in the public schools of New York City, Washington, and Ithaca, New York. In 1976 he received his bachelor's degree with honors from Stanford University, where he majored in history, and in 1979 he received his law degree from the Yale Law School.

Following his graduation from law school, Professor Carter served as law clerk to Judge Spottswood W. Robinson III of the United States Court of Appeals in Washington D.C., and, the next year, as law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall of the Supreme Court of the United States. After practicing law for a year, Professor Carter joined the Yale faculty in 1982. Three years later, he became one of the youngest members of the faculty ever voted tenure.

His critically acclaimed books include The Culture of Disbelief and Reflections of an Affirmative Action Baby. His most recent work is Civility, the sequel to Integrity. Professor Carter lives with his family in Connecticut.

 



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Forni: Choosing Civility: The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct


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Choosing Civility
The Twenty-five Rules of Considerate Conduct

P. M. Forni

[from the publisher] Most people would agree that thoughtful behavior and common decency are in short supply, or simply forgotten in hurried lives of emails, cellphones, and multi-tasking. In Choosing Civility, P. M. Forni identifies the twenty-five rules that are most essential in connecting effectively and happily with others. In clear, witty, and, well…civilized language, Forni covers topics that include:

* Think Twice Before Asking Favors
* Give Constructive Criticism
* Refrain from Idle Complaints
* Respect Others' Opinions
* Don't Shift Responsibility and Blame
* Care for Your Guests
* Accept and Give Praise

Finally, Forni provides examples of how to put each rule into practice and so make life-and the lives of others-more enjoyable, companionable, and rewarding.

Choosing Civility is a simple, practical, perfectly measured, and quietly magical handbook on the lost art of civility and compassion.

Click on any of the links below to read helpful
excerpts from Choosing Civility  (in PDF format):

WHAT IS CIVILITY?
 
LIFE AND RELATIONSHIPS
 
NICE GUYS FINISH LAST–OR DO THEY?

ENVIRONMENT AND ANIMALS


Dr. Pier Massimo Forni is an award-winning professor of Italian Literature at Johns Hopkins University. In 2000 he founded The Civility Initiative at Johns Hopkins and over the years has continued to teach courses on the theory and history of manners. His book Choosing Civility (2002) has sold more than 100,000 copies. Reports on his work have appeared on The New York Times, The Times of London, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Los Angeles Times. He has been a on a number of radio and television shows, including ABC's World News Tonight, CBS Sunday Morning and BBC's Outlook. For years he was a regular on-the-air contributor to the Baltimore NPR affiliate station and the nationally syndicated radio show The Satellite Sisters.



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Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish: How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk


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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk

Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish

A book for parents and everyone who wants to improve their communication with kids.  Full of wonderfully informative cartoon sequences illustrating the major points.

Description adapted from Amazon:

Here is the bestselling book that will give you the know-how you need to be more effective with your children–and more supportive of yourself. Enthusiastically praised by parents and professionals around the world, the down-to-earth, respectful approach of Faber and Mazlish makes relationships with children of all ages less stressful and more rewarding. Now, in this Twentieth Anniversary Edition, these award-winning experts share their latest insights and suggestions based upon feedback they’ve received over the years.

Their methods of communication-illustrated with delightful cartoons showing the skills in action-offer innovative ways to solve common problems. You’ll learn how to:

  • Cope with your child’s negative feelings-frustration, disappointment, anger, etc.
  • Express your anger without being hurtful
  • Engage your child’s willing cooperation
  • Set firm limits and still maintain goodwill
  • Use alternatives to punishment
  • Resolve family conflicts peacefully


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How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk (9781848120471 )



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James Gilligan: Violence — Reflections on a National Epidemic


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Violence
Reflections on a National Epidemic

James Gilligan

Drawing on firsthand experience as a prison psychiatrist, his own family history, and literature, Gilligan unveils the motives of men who commit horrifying crimes, men who will not only kill others but destroy themselves rather than suffer a loss of self-respect. With devastating clarity, Gilligan traces the role that shame plays in the etiology of murder and explains why our present penal system only exacerbates it. Brilliantly argued, harrowing in its portraits of the walking dead, Violence should be read by anyone concerned with this national epidemic and its widespread consequences. "Extraordinary. Gilligan's recommendations concerning what does work to prevent violence…are extremely convincing…A wise and careful, enormously instructive book."–Owen Renik, M.D., editor, Psychoanalytic Quarterly  

 

 

 



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Aubrey C. Daniels: Bringing Out the Best in People


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Bringing Out the Best in People

How to Apply the Astonishing Power of Reinforcement

Aubrey C. Daniels

Expressing more appreciation is one of the Seven Challenges emphasized on this web site.  Daniels' book is controversial because he discusses motivating people with rewards, recognition and organizational programs that try to express systematic appreciation for jobs well done.  Some people have objected that this is treating employees like trainable animals:  throwing a fish to the performing dolphin.  The problem is that organizations are always conditioning their employees in one way or another; any structured environment does that. So this book recommends that companies take responsibility for steering the conditioning processes that are at work every day.  The most important issue here is that people who cause problems often get most of the attention in organizations, and people who try hard and perform well often get ignored and taken for granted.  The high performing folks then get frustrated and leave, because their basic need for recognition is not being met.  And when they do leave, the organization suffers.  The idea of managing by correcting mistakes and "keeping people in line" has such a strong grip on so many managers that it will probably take radical programs like Daniels' to get people on the road toward managing by rewarding excellence.   Review by Dennis Rivers.



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