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The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life Paperback – January 6, 2006
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The 30 Best Self Help Books
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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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top customer reviews
I use the term "generously" because she shares frankly, empowering all who will take her advice to heart. She comes across as a person utterly committed to her art--being an artist is not something she does--it is something she is. this comes across clearly. But she doesn't romanticize the artist's identity, insisting that artists are made--by hard work and consistent discipline and habits--more than being born. She even shows how Mozart, the genius of geniuses, attained his heights due to intensive disciplined practice and habit.
There is not a pretentious bone in Twyla Tharp's body, nor is there a pretentious page in her book. I commend it highly.
It is the product of preparation and effort, and it's within reach of everyone who wants to achieve it. All it takes is the willingness to make creativity a habit, an integral part of your life: In order to be creative, you have to know how to prepare to be creative. In The Creative Habit, Tharp takes the lessons she has learned in her remarkable thirty-five-year career and shares them with you, whatever creative impulses you follow--whether you are a painter, composer, writer, director, choreographer, or, for that matter, a businessperson working on a deal, a chef developing a new dish, a mother wanting her child to see the world anew.
When Tharp is at a creative dead end, she relies on a lifetime of exercises to help her get out of the rut, and The Creative Habit contains more than thirty of them to ease the fears of anyone facing a blank beginning and to open the mind to new possibilities.
Tharp's exercises are practical and immediately doable--for the novice or expert. In "Where's Your Pencil?" she reminds us to observe the world--and get it down on paper. Amen! In "Coins and Chaos," she provides the simplest of mental games to restore order and peace. In "Do a Verb," she turns your mind and body into coworkers. In "Build a Bridge to the Next Day," she shows how to clean your cluttered mind overnight.
To Tharp, sustained creativity begins with rituals, self-knowledge, harnessing your memories, and organizing your materials (so no insight is ever lost). Along the way she leads you by the hand through the painful first steps of scratching for ideas, finding the spine of your work, and getting out of ruts into productive grooves. In her creative realm, optimism rules. An empty room, a bare desk, a blank canvas can be energizing, not demoralizing. And in this inventive, encouraging book, Twyla Tharp shows us how to take a deep breath and begin!
Twyla Tharp's rich and remarkable The Creative Habit is a book I will keep close at hand for re-reading and re-inspiring ...f-f-f-frequently. It is one of the most highlighted, underlined, marginal thoughts notes books I have in a library chock full of creativity books. This one is one of the top five on my list.
Most recent customer reviews
From a person who does perfection, she talks about how create perfectly
She shows meticulous attention to the...Read more