Powers of Two
How Relationships Drive Creativity
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
Eamon Dolan/Mariner Books, 9780544334465, 368pp.
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
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.