Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

Qty:1
  • List Price: $14.95
  • Save: $4.74 (32%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
In Stock.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Free Play: Improvisation ... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: The item shows wear from consistent use, but it remains in good condition and works perfectly. All pages and cover are intact (including the dust cover, if applicable). Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 3 images

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art Paperback – May 1, 1991

4.4 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

See all 6 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$10.21
$6.71 $2.09

Get unlimited access to the world's best-selling magazines
One low monthly price, 100s of your favorite titles. > Try Texture FREE
$10.21 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. In Stock. Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art
  • +
  • Effortless Mastery: Liberating the Master Musician Within (Book + CD set)
Total price: $27.06
Buy the selected items together


Editorial Reviews

Review

"Stephen Nachmanovitch has produced a celebration of human uniqueness. What it amounts to is a guide for gettingthe most out of whatever is possible"
Norman Cousins, author of The Anatomy of an Illness

"This is an unusually intense, packed, thought-through book on the most difficult subject in the world: mystic creativity. If you wantto be intellectually informed about how people actually craete things, then you should read it at least once."
Robert Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

"Would that Free Play found its way into every school, office, hospital, and factory. It is a most exciting book and a most important one."
Yehudi Menuhin, violinist

"Nachmanovitch tells it like it is in the most important book on improvisation I've yet seen."
Keith Jarrett, pianist

"Free Play is a superb guide for anyone who aspires to create, whatever medium."
—New Woman

"This book is important not only because it delves into the creative process, but also because Nachmanovitch creates the opportunity for the reader to get in touch with her/his own creative possibilities and abilities."
—Harvard Educational Review
 

From the Inside Flap

(see description)
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

New York Times best sellers
Browse the New York Times best sellers in popular categories like Fiction, Nonfiction, Picture Books and more. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons; Reprint edition (May 1, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874776317
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874776317
  • Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #31,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Reading Free Play is a journey; and as such, it is not an easy one. That is its most enduring reward. When a good friend gave me the book to read in 1993, I doubted what I could possibly gain from it, since I considered myself hopelessly awkward compared to her. Through such a toxic prism, I couldn't make any sense of the book, much less embrace it. It read like one big abstraction, with no relevance to me or my life. After a month of fitful starts and stops, I returned the book to my friend in frustration.
Something about it, though, made me buy my own copy in 1998. I started taking voice lessons for singing early last year, and am preparing for a major performance next week. Two weeks ago, I decided to take another stab at reading Free Play. In doing so, I found my key to appreciating the book, and relishing all it has to offer, from beginning to end. Although Nachmanovitch is a musician, he beautifully expands the idea of Improvisation to include any medium through which we express ourselves, and live.
Some friendly advice: When sitting down to read this book, get rid of all negative thoughts and judgments about yourself. While reading it, think of all the things in life you love to do, regardless of how well you or others think you do them. Whoever you are, and whatever you do, this book will help you discover what creativity is, where it comes from, how we block it, and how we can make it sizzle. If you stick with Free Play, you will get to know what's possible when you conquer fear and self-doubt just long enough to do what you love, for its own sake and on your own terms. Stephen Nachmanovitch has written a labor of love, and encourages us to see and live our lives this way. For that, Free Play is a true classic.
Comment 126 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
This a wonderful handbook for anyone trying to create art or live life creatively. It's practical in that offers helpful techniques on getting past "blocks." It's inspiring in its insights into the nature of the creative act. It's enjoyable to read with its plethora of quotations, illustrations and photographs, and teaching stories. It's wise, it's playful, its honest. In short, it's a piece of art in and of itself--accessible, illuminating, beautiful. It should be every artist's companion.
Comment 51 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
I love this book. I have read this highly readable book more than 25 times in the last five years. So much that I took its message to heart, as I will specify below. The book suggests inspiring stories, tips, and lessons for making yourself more flexible at the core. Let Go - this is the central message of the book. Letting go of our preconceived notions can improve our sense of autonomy, and help us play freely the game of life. Like a god. On one inspired moment after reading this book, earlier this year, I let go of this great book. So it won't any longer be a crutch I hold on to in every moment of difficulty. I have recommended this book to all my friends.
1 Comment 61 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
It's sub-title is "The Power of Improvisation in Life and the Arts," and it is truly a treasure for those who would seek new ways of creating and living. It contains well-informed discussions on sources of ideas; going about the work; silencing that ever-present critical shadow; and making art because "we have an ilienable right to create." With wonderful quotes from Henry Miller, Rumi, William Carlos Williams, William Blake and Martha Graham, to name a few, this book is completely dog-eared and remains my bed-side companion. I have given it as gifts to younger members of my family - who are not artists - to "cheer them on" them as they explore what their lives have to offer.
Comment 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been buying books at Amazon for years, and this is the first review I ever felt compelled to write. Simply put, this is the book I buy and give to family and friends. The knowledge contained in this book is potent and reflect the juicy nuggets of a lucious truth that can be known and experienced in this life. Why just connect with the font of life when you can merge fully into it. I highly recommend this book.
Comment 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback
Stephen Nachmanovitch has written more than just a book on improvisation and innovation. Contained within are anecdotes and lessons to be re-read. By combining an avid interest in Eastern religion and philosophy with the perspective and expertise of a seasoned musician, he has managed to deliver a book that challenges readers to live actively in order to live freely. For those looking for a more practical, hands-on approach to creativity that focuses on techniques with a modern business-oriented feel, this book would be a mistake. That said, let's continue on to what can be found within.

Mr. Nachmanovitch clearly knows his stuff (look into his educational background and you'll see why) and one would do well to be acquainted with some basics in American and English literature as well as Eastern philosophy to understand some of the allusions he makes throughout the book. I think this is where the feel of the book stems from. Additionally, all these philosophers and poets focused on an inward development and enlightment which Mr. Nachmonovich beleives to be critical for unblocking the creative process since, as the book introduces early on, all people are inherently creative. Living is a creative experience.

Personally I will keep this book to re-read every few years to discover new things about myself and life, and so I recommend this to anyone to at least give it a try. This is not to say that there isn't room for improvement. I disagree with how the author organizes the concepts in the book because often they overlap and meld into each other. While this may serve the overall feel of the book by creating a sense of continuity and unity, it also creates confusion.
Read more ›
1 Comment 13 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art