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Free Play: Improvisation in Life and Art Paperback – May 1, 1991
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—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."
"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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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 ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Hated, hated, hated this book. Was looking for a good companion to books about Anthony Braxton and Derek Bailey, but this was mush. Read morePublished 2 months ago by messageboards
Awesome book to open the mind of free writing and imagination. Being a Christian and still being able to see his misunderstanding of Biblical terms and use of other religious... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Angela Villa