Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for MasteryBook - 2014
It is one of the enduring enigmas of the human experience: many of our most iconic, creative endeavors--from Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to entrepreneurial inventions and works in the arts--are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.
The gift of failure is a riddle. Like the number zero, it will always be both a void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise --a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit--makes the case that many of our greatest triumphs come from understanding the importance of this mystery.
This exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of creative human endeavor. The Rise begins with narratives about figures past and present who range from writers to entrepreneurs; Frederick Douglass, Samuel F. B. Morse, and J. K. Rowling, for example, feature alongside choreographer Paul Taylor, Nobel Prize-winning physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, Arctic explorer Ben Saunders, and psychology professor Angela Duckworth.
The Rise explores the inestimable value of often ignored ideas--the power of surrender for fortitude, the criticality of play for innovation, the propulsion of the near win on the road to mastery, and the importance of grit and creative practice. From an uncommonly insightful writer, The Rise is a true masterwork.
From the critics
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Back-turned paintings and sheeted sculptures are often how artists give their process amnesty from premature critique. They create safe havens for good reason, sometimes to preserve innovation. Innovative ideas, after all, are often so counterintuitive that they can, at first, look like failure.
We make discoveries, breakthroughs, and inventions in part because we are free enough to take risks, and fail if necessary. Private spaces are often where we extract the gains from attempts and misses.
the cost of success is that it can block our ability to see when what has worked well in the past might not any longer
Franklin [Leonard] was facing what he felt was the one thing worse than reading a morass of terrible scripts: another family getaway where he would face questions about his meandering path. It started when he survived a car crash that altered the course of his life. He had one thought on his mind now: You get one go around. A rigid model of success that stipulated being either a doctor or a lawyer had been ingrained in him since childhood. His mantra became, “Life is short. If I don’t enjoy it, I just have to find something else.”
A paradox of innovation and mastery is that breakthroughs often occur when you start down a road, but wander off for a ways and pretend as if you have just begun.
directed teaching is important, but learning that comes from play and spontaneous discovery is critical. Endurance is best sustained through periodic play.
Grit is connected to how we respond to so-called failure, about whether we see it as a comment on our identity or merely as information that may help us improve.
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