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Your Life As Art 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 29 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0972553605
ISBN-10: 0972553606
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  • Your Life As Art
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  • Path of Least Resistance: Learning to Become the Creative Force in Your Own Life
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  • Creating: A practical guide to the creative process and how to use it to create anything - a work of art, a relationship, a career or a better life.
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Editorial Reviews


"The most profound yet practical book I've read on creating the life you want to live." -- Joan Jenkinson, VisionTV, December, 2002

You'll love Fritz.... the closest thing to a Renaissance Man since the Renaissance... groundbreaking..... an accessible genius... -- Networking Times, January 2004

From the Publisher

Robert Fritz made history with the release of his classic book The Path of Least Resistance, a book that has influenced readers throughout the world. Now, Robert expands his groundbreaking insights in his latest book. Your Life As Art is a must read. It's wisdom is penetrating; its scope vast; its power life-changing.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Robert Fritz Inc; 1 edition (December 4, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0972553606
  • ISBN-13: 978-0972553605
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #700,139 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Jordan Fritz (born 1943 in Cambridge, Massachusetts) is an author, composer, filmmaker, and management consultant. He is known for his development of "structural dynamics," the study of how structural relationships impact behavior from individuals to organizations. His book The Path of Least Resistance and subsequent books develop the theory and application of structural dynamics and the creative process.

Robert Fritz studied music composition and theater at the Boston Conservatory of Music where he earned a BM and MM in composition. He also studied on scholarship at the Darmstädter Ferienkurse, Germany. He studied cinematography at Maine Media Workshops formerly Rockport Workshops. In the late 1970s, Peter Senge, Fritz, David Peter Stroh and Charles F. Kiefer founded Innovation Associates, a management consulting firm. Fritz's study of music composition along with his close contact with Senge's work in system dynamics, became a major influence for his exploration of the relationship of structure to behavior. His books on structural dynamics are based on his pioneering work with Blue Shield of California, La France, Harvard Vanguard, IBM China, and Ortynsky Automotive among others.

Structural dynamics has been used extensively in corporations, education, and third-world development. The Uganda Rural Development and Training Programme adopted this visionary approach as its fundamental operating principle. In 2009, URDT won recognition for its programmes from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for Changemakers "Cultivating Innovation: Solutions for Rural Communities". Fritz has worked with the Swedish governmental agency Vinnova. He has consulted with the US Department of Defense Special Ops on issues of terrorism, and has also introduced his work to the US Air Force and Department of Transportation. The Managerial Moment of Truth (co-authored by Bruce Bodaken) was chosen as one of BusinessWeek best books of 2006, and Harvard Business Review placed it on their executive reading list.

Structural dynamics has also been used in public school systems as chronicled in School Leaders Building Capacity from Within (Corwin Press) by Leonard C. Burello, Lauren P Hoffman, and Lynn E. Murray. In his book, Schools That Learn: A Fifth Discipline Fieldbook for Educators, Peter Senge features Fritz's structural approach as well.

Fritz has created two separate careers, one as a consultant and the other one as composer and filmmaker. As a composer, Fritz has won commissions from groups such as Collage and Dutch Radio. He has composed music for film, TV, and theater, as well as CDs. Two of his arrangements appear on Celtic Ladies, which topped Billboard Magazine (2007-2008 World Music).

Fritz has made documentaries for government, industry, and television, has written and directed three feature-length films, has directed and co-hosted Creating (a TV series made for a Canadian network), and directed episodes of the PBS series LeaderTalk with Garrison Krause, for which he also composed the theme music. Fritz wrote and directed the TV series Vermont Stories. He created the multi-media work She Was A Dancer for the Brattleboro Museum and Art Center. Overload, a narrative feature film written and directed by Fritz has won nine awards including an Indie Spirit Award in Recognition of Distinguished Accomplishment from The Boston International Film Festival, a Merit Award from the Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood, and Fritz won Best Screenplay and Best Original Score in the made for television category from the Los Angeles Movie Awards.

---Structural dynamics---
Structural dynamics is the study of how structural constructs lead to predictable behavioral patterns, otherwise known as macrostructural patterns, the long-range patterns that reoccur in a person's life. Two basic patterns can be observed: oscillating and advancing. These two predictable patterns occur in quite specific and unique ways; and in each instance the same steps and the same sequence can be observed in every aspect of personal and professional life. The oscillating pattern emerges when a person, team, or organization takes action to accomplish a goal; and after achieving the desired result a reversal occurs. Examples illustrating this sequence include the business success that eventually leads to a financial loss, the great love that ends with a break-up, the successful project that turns into an undesirable predicament. In contrast, the advancing pattern creates momentum when outcomes are achieved, and accomplishment builds a platform for future success.

---Tension-resolution systems---
Underlying structures cause these behavioral patterns. The basic structural unit is the "tension-resolution system". In musical composition, harmonic tension behaves as a structural dynamic when it seeks resolution. Similar tension-resolution systems appear in behavioral macrostructural patterns. In the oscillating pattern, opposing tension-resolution systems dominate, and "non-equilibrium" occurs when the desired outcome is achieved. Structurally, the opposing tension resolution system remains and resolving it requires moving away from the achievement. In the advancing pattern, a single tension-resolution system dominates, and equilibrium occurs by achieving the desired outcome, the structural point at which the desired state and the actual state are equal. From these observations, this principle was developed: the underlying structure of anything determines its behavior. Without a change of underlying structure, change efforts fail, and the original behavior patterns reoccur. This explains why many sound change efforts fail within organizations. Organizational oscillating patterns occur when building up capacity, then downsizing, then building up capacity again; or centralizing decision making, de-centralizing decision making, and then centralizing it again; or focusing on long-term growth, then refocusing on short-term demands, and later refocusing on long-term growth again. When an underlying organizational structure leads to oscillation and remains unchanged, the structure rejects any change effort in a similar way that a body rejects an implanted organ. Conversely when a change of underlying structure designed to support advancement occurs, any subsequent change effort increases the likelihood of success and sustainability.

---The creative process---
Fritz developed his ideas about the creative process from the arts rather than psychology, making a distinction between the creative process and creativity. Creativity usually focuses on idea generation and comes from suspending the norm. However, Fritz argues that to advocate withholding critical judgment in favor of free association, brainstorming, or other systems in an effort to bypass the usual thought processes will not guarantee successful creativity or accomplishment of the goal. In the arts a consummate professional must produce consistent quality outcomes and meet rigid deadlines. Rather than freeing the mind, an artist focuses the mind, often by using structural tension--the relationship between two related data points. With repeated application and refinement what was once the unusual then becomes the usual. A desired outcome or goal, the first data point is contrasted with its relational current reality, the second data point. As the creative process begins, a difference exists between the desired state and the actual state, and this difference creates a useful tension. The composed tension is not psychological nor is it associated with stress, anxiety, or pressure. Rather it is structural. Clarity about the desired outcome and the actual situation, establishes a structural tendency that moves the structure toward tension resolution; and strongly motivates the best actions to achieve the desired outcome. The actions may be conventional. But often inadequate resources limit the conventional means to accomplish goals. Therefore, invention and innovation emerge naturally bringing forth new ways to accomplish goals. Fritz argues against glorifying inspiration. Professionals can create irrespective of their circumstances. Ideas about structure and the creative process fundamentally underscore Fritz's observations that like other structures, the mind seeks equilibrium. By nature, the mind desires a state of equilibrium and attempts to create order out of disorder. Fritz advocates using the mind to compose a structured state of non-equilibrium (structural tension) in order to originate new ideas. The mind then generates structurally relevant ideas which do not emerge using usual thought processes.

---Problem-solving vs. creating---
Fritz argues for a distinction between problem-solving and creating. Problem-solving is taking actions to have something go away: the problem. While problem-solving has its place, as a persistent approach, it limits accomplishment. The elimination of a problem does not mean that the desired result can be created. As distinguished, solving a problem does not by design lead to a creation. Creating is taking action to bring into being that which does not yet exist: the desired outcome.

* Boston International Film Festival - Indie Spirit Special Recognition Award
* Los Angeles Reel Film Festival Honorable Mention
* Honolulu Film Festival Aloha Accolade Award for Excellence in Filmmaking
* Los Angeles Cinema Festival of Hollywood Award of Merit for Narrative Feature
* Accolade Competition Award of Merit
* Los Angeles Movie Awards Award of Excellence (television), Best Original Score, Best Screenplay, Best Actress (for Katherine Partington)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
As a long time fan of Robert Fritz's books, I come by my eager anticipation for this new release quite naturally.
You see, I've been caught up in a pattern for the past few years that goes something like this: Robert Fritz releases a new book - I then read it and digest it - then I apply his teachings and as a result, my life experience becomes significantly altered for the better. With each of his four previous books, I have been blessed to see my pattern repeat itself over and over again.
From each book to the next, Robert Fritz introduced me to new facets of the art and science of developing my creative process, whether applying it to my personal life, my professional life or my organizational life.
And now, with Your Life As Art, Robert Fritz stretches my understanding of the creative process even further. He ties the key ideas and principles from his previous work together with his new ideas into one clear and compelling central theme.
You do not need to have read any of Robert's previous books in order to enter the fascinating universe of this new one. It is highly readable to both novice and seasoned readers alike.
I feel my life being transformed and enriched yet again. What a thankful pattern I have. Thank you, Robert!
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Format: Paperback
My disappointment with this book began before completing the first page. His reference to the creative process as a an "operational practice" was the first indication that this book would be geared to readers of more linear, structured makeup than myself. "Mechanized," "systematic," "measurable," were words I tired of reading. I hadn't seen so many boxes and flow charts since working on my undergraduate business degree.

I loved The Path Of Least Resistance. That book I have reread about every five years, (which means I have read it five times at least and yes, he does make a point about looking at your life cycles.) Each time I have read it, I would again benefit from his organic analogies and his frequent quotes from famous people in music, literature, and politics. His humor and light touch make the read like a talk with a good friend. There are lines from that book that I have permantly etched into my consciousness and I now share them with my two musical children (who incidently are both composers).

In a nutshell, if you are a random abstract thinker who prefers literature to business abstracts, stick with Path of Least Resistance. It is truly a pearl. In fact, now that I have finally finished slogging through "Your life as Art", I am going to reread The Path Of Least Resistance.
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Format: Paperback
Using what I've learned from reading all of Robert Fritz's books, and especially Your Life as Art, I've seen changes that are nothing short of phenomenal with clients in my psychiatry practice, and in my own life. After years in therapy trying to "fix themselves," often without success, I hear clients newly introduced to this work say, "Oh! You mean creating what matters in my life is what it's about!?!" It often doesn't take them long to put this into practice, with gratifying results.
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Format: Paperback
Your Life As Art is a book where once you start reading it, you cannot put it down.Robert Fritz has shown me how i can become the dominant creative force in my life.If you are a person who doesn't know what you want,have trouble getting started on what you want, or wonder why you always do what you do, then this is a book for you.The chapter on True Love and desire is worth the price alone.It seems as if Robert knows how you think about your life.He guides,inspires and has you reach down inside of yourself for what you can truly become. The artist of your own life!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've read and re-read this book and have bought a copy for my daughter.

Robert Fritz gets practical here. Each chapter gives you specific logical and actionable ways of looking at your own behavior and what you want to get out of life.

This is anti-"self help" which is fine with me. It explains why we fail time and time again at changing our own behavior. And it gives us a method that transcends our failures and lets us actually choose what we truly want.

It is not the usual brainwash-yourself claptrap. I am a fan of Tony Robbins but in many ways, I think that whole school views us as somehow imposing our will on ourselves.

If we can only use certain tools like neuro-linguistic programming or tell ourselves something enough times, that self-help school says, we can force change on ourselves.

Thing is, many of those tricks used in self-help do work. But do they make us happy? And can they really let us watch as our lives are transformed?

I don't like the idea of programming my mind. I do like tricks sometimes as they are quite useful. But overall, I want to live my life in a fashion that is free from force and war, including and especially internal war.

That's what this book lets you do. You can determine what you want, and go after it, free from the conflict that is perpetually tugging you back into your old ways. And you can watch your life transform and do it for its own sake.

That is the meaning of the title, of course.

Isn't it fun to watch an artist create something? So it is also a rare treat to watch how Fritz unfolds the story of how he discovered these concepts. How he tried them out in seminars and how they failed or how they worked, and how his ideas evolved and developed, much like an artist develops a canvas.

Read and re-read this one. It is one of the greats. It will forever change how you look at your life and how you relate to it and relate to yourself.
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