Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. Author
Joshua Wolf Shenk "traces the creative partnerships of all stripes —
choreographer George Balanchine and ballerina Suzanne Farrell, South
Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the literary friendship of
C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien, the basketball rivalry of Magic Johnson
and Larry Bird, and the airborne partnership of Orville and Wilbur
|George Balanchine and Suzanne Farrell|
From the archives: The author of Powers of Two, Joshua Wolf Shenk, talks with Robert Siegel about creative collaboration in an interview at NPR.
|Paul McCartney and John Lennon, Nov. 11, 1963|
From the interview: "Lennon and McCartney, they just encapsulate all of the themes. Their
meeting story is just gorgeous. In 1957, 15-year-old Paul McCartney
ambled onto the field behind a church in Liverpool, and he saw this
17-year-old kid full of swagger, and he was vamping to the lyrics of a
Del-Vikings song, making them up, turning them into a blues song. And
Paul McCartney was the kind of kid who would know exactly when that was
happening because he was so meticulous, he had memorized the lyrics... Later,
John heard Paul do his stuff — he could do perfect imitations of Little
Richard and Eddie Cochran, Carl Perkins. And so it was this perfect
meeting of guys who were totally in line in their love of this music,
and yet their sensibilities and their temperaments and their qualities
were at odds. So you immediately have this profound union and a profound
tension that carries all the way through their relationship and leads
to their great work."
Read more at The Atlantic.
Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs. 2014.
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.