The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life Hardcover – Oct 7 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Perhaps the leading choreographer of her generation, Tharp offers a thesis on creativity that is more complex than its self-help title suggests. To be sure, an array of prescriptions and exercises should do much to help those who feel some pent-up inventiveness to find a system for turning idea into product, whether that be a story, a painting or a song. This free-wheeling interest across various creative forms is one of the main points that sets this book apart and leads to its success. The approach may have been born of the need to reach an audience greater than choreographer hopefuls, and the diversity of examples (from Maurice Sendak to Beethoven on one page) frees the student to develop his or her own patterns and habits, rather than imposing some regimen that works for Tharp. The greatest number of illustrations, however, come from her experiences. As a result, this deeply personal book, while not a memoir, reveals much about her own struggles, goals and achievements. Finally, the book is also a rumination on the nature of creativity itself, exploring themes of process versus product, the influences of inspiration and rigorous study, and much more. It deserves a wide audience among general readers and should not be relegated to the self-help section of bookstores.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School--Tharp shows how and why artists must actively seek and nurture inspiration. The dancer/choreographer draws heavily on her personal experiences to guide readers into cultivating habits that give birth to success. In addition, she recounts the experiences of artists from other disciplines, including painting and cinematography. Vignettes from the lives of people such as Mozart underline the fact that even geniuses work hard to realize the fruits of their labor. A personable tone is carried throughout the book, and within the text is a gold mine of advice. Tharp not only promotes tried-and-true habits, but also encourages readers to dig deep within themselves and come up with their own answers. Most sections conclude with exercises; they are fun and almost seamlessly bring home the author's main points. The black-and-white illustrations and photos are few in number. Students from all manner of creative arts who wish to make their dreams come true would benefit from reading this book.--Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Top Customer Reviews
The Creative Habit is a remarkable book on creative activities that anyone involved in dance, music, painting, sculpting, writing or theater will find very relevant. If you have a good imagination, you will also be able to extend the concepts here to other fields that require creativity such as business.
Where most books on creativity focus on helping you get into a brief creative groove, Ms. Tharp's work focuses on having that groove all the time in your life. Her book is informed by not only her own very creative career . . . but also by extensive contact with other creative people and having read about how others have created in the past. I found her to be the best read person on creativity whose writing I have seen.Read more ›
This is a book I will turn to again and again. Simply the best of its kind.
It would be a mistake to ignore the reference to "habit" in their titles because almost three decades of research conducted by K. Anders Ericsson and his associates at Florida State University clearly indicate that, on average, at least 10,000 hours of must be invested in "deliberate," iterative practice under strict and expert supervision to achieve peak performance, be it playing a game such as chess or playing a musical instrument such as the violin. Natural talent is important, of course, as is luck. However, with rare exception, it takes about ten years of sustained, focused, supervised, and (yes) habitual practice to master the skills that peak performance requires.
Tharp characterizes this book as a ""practical guide" but she also frames much of its material within a spiritual context. The creative process can probably be traced back to the earliest humans and yet so much of it remains a mystery. When Henri Matisse was asked if he was always painting, he replied, "No but when the muse visits me, I better have a brush in my hand." Of course, he was also prepared to transform an in inspiration into a work of art...and did on countless occasions.
In the first chapter, Tharp acknowledges what she characterizes as "a philosophical tug of war...It is the perennial debate, born in the Romantic era, between the beliefs that all creative acts are born of (a) some transcendent, inexplicable Dionysian act of inspiration, a kiss from God on your brow that allows you to give the world The Magic Flute, or (b) hard work.Read more ›
Twyla Tharp has created a book that is inspiring while being infuriating, especially for someone trying to master something new. The transcendant talent of Mozart or Isaac Newton inspires, but Ms. Tharp insists that those transcendant geniuses were the product of showing up every day and working at whatever their craft was. There's no magic; there might be inborn talent, but it's doubtful. Instead, you have to sit down every day and work through idea after idea until you find the gem that creates art. With practice, again every day, this will happen more and more often, and if you work at it every day for long enough, you will make being a great talent into a habit that becomes your way of life.
Thank you and curse you Ms. Tharp for reminding me of what my parents and teachers always told me: work hard, do your best, stick to it, and good things will happen.
Most recent customer reviews
Not much in the way of tools you can use to work on creative habits. Interesting to read about Twyla Tharp's life...but I wouldn't buy it again for anyone.Published 8 months ago by Deb B.
It's everything that I thought it would be and more. I love how open and honest Tharp is about her creative process. Read morePublished 20 months ago by orchid
Brilliant. Even though I can't dance a step I got a world of good out of this book.Published 21 months ago by Benowen
A neat personal reflection on a creative life filled with some great exercises and tipsPublished 21 months ago by Iain Moggach
I first read this book a number of years ago on the recommendation of a local artist who was a mentor and confidante to many artists. Read morePublished on June 30 2014 by Andrew Raczynski
An Excellent down to earth writer. Offers great advise, support and experienced insight on how to nurture your bursting creative life and self expression.Published on Feb. 8 2014 by Margery Digiandomenico
This could be the book that spawned my own creative project, a series of projects that I have been meaning to do, some for a long time, others will be spawned along the way -- but... Read morePublished on June 11 2013 by TheodoreStreet