The Collaborative Habit — new from the brilliant Twyla Tharp

at the top of my list of favorites

In the first decade of the First Friday Book Synopsis, my favorite book — the best book I read — was The Creative Habit by Twala Tharp.  Tharp is the award winning, Kennedy Center Honoree, choreographer. I realize that “best” is very subjective, and many would put other books at the top of their lists.  But I put The Creative Habit at the very top of mine.  It taught me so much.  And I simply admire anyone who is the best at what they do trying to share with the rest of us.

Here is the last paragraph from her Kennedy Center biography:

“I have always believed a strong classical training is a very good foundation for moving in any direction,” Tharp has said. In virtually any direction she chooses, she has given us quite a lot.

One of her main points it this:  life is made up of habits.  Good habits, practiced habitually (that’s what makes them habits!), lead to success.  So, creativity is a habit to be nurtured and cultivated.

Well, somehow I have missed that she has written a new book.  I learned about her new book:  The Collaborative Habit:  Life Lessons for Working in this NY Times article, Tharp Is Back Where the Air Is Rarefied.  (Yes, I have already ordered the book from Amazon, and can’t wait to read it).

A lot has been written about collaboration, like Don Tapscott’s terrific book Wikinomics:  How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything.  But just as with creativity and innovation in her earlier book, Tharp seems to approach the issue from a completely different world than other business book authors.  Here are a few excepts (picked up from the preview pages on Amazon):

For some of us, collaboration is a superior way of working; for almost all of us, it’s inevitable.

I’m a choreographer who makes dances that are performed on stages around the world.  It’s just as accurate to say I’m a career collaborator.

I define collaboration as people working together – sometimes by choice, sometimes not.

The brilliant CEO, the politician who keeps his own counsel, and the lone hero are yesterday’s role models…  The real success stories of our time are about joint efforts:  sports teams, political campaigns, businesses, causes.

Collaboration is the buzzword of the new millennium.

Collaboration may be a practice – a way of working in harmony with others  — but it begins with a point of view.

As seems to be happening with increasingly frequency, as I read about this book, I had this feeling – I really can’t wait to read it!

Twyla Tharp's new book, The Collaborative Habit


I’m not alone in my admiration of The Creative Habit.  Cathie Black, president of Hearst magazines, listed “five books helpful to success.”  Her list was published in the Wall Street Journal (Getting ahead. How to succeed in business? Invest some time with these books. Wall Street Journal, October 27, 2007), but I found it here.  Here is her list:

1) Personal History by Katharine Graham, Knopf, 1997
2) The Creative Habit by Twyla Tharp, Simon & Schuster, 2003
3) Winning by Jack Welch with Suzy Welch, HarperBusiness, 2005
4) Never Check E-Mail in the Morning by Julie Morgenstern, Fireside, 2004
5) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey, Free Press, 1989.

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