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Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration--Lessons from The Second City Hardcover – February 3, 2015

4.1 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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  • Yes, And: How Improvisation Reverses "No, But" Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration--Lessons from The Second City
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  • The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning
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  • The Playbook:  Improv Games for Performers
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: HarperBusiness (February 3, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062248545
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062248541
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
As others have commented the book has a very heavy self congratulatory tone. I made it about 70% of the way through the book before I'd had my fill and the "aren't we great" message continued throughout. Even when discussing the times Second City screwed up the author somehow made it sound that they were brilliant anyway.

The book could have used a LOT more examples. Way too often it describes how some technique is really helpful applied to a business and then doesn't show us an instance of when and how it helped. There are some examples in the book, but maybe 20% of what you'd want in order to actually understand and be convinced by the material they present.
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Format: Kindle Edition
I confess that YES, AND really surprised me. The ideas are far more relevant than I would have ever imagined.

The theme of this book is to use comedy improv training to help people become more creative, more innovative, more open to other ideas. In comedy improv, they call the practice of building up on another person's start the "Yes, And" approach. By using this approach "creative breakthroughs occur in environments where ideas are not just fully explored, but heightened and stretch two levels that might seem absurd at first."

In our work life, when we work in groups, we try to be more willing to listen and to build up on the others ideas. At Second City, the performers did not become great by working as a soloist; instead, they did it by learning to work in groups. The authors call this habit, "The importance of the ensemble." Second city realized after a half of century of doing comedy, that "dialogues push stories further than monologues."

One of the more interesting ideas in this book is the idea of "Follow the follower." What this means is that a group is free to allow any member to be the leader for a time that is when his or her expertise is particularly needed.

There is one part of this book--right at the very end, that is worth the price of admission alone. It is a list of tips on how to communicate with people better. Here's a few:

♠ Look people in the eye when you meet them.
♠ Smile.
♠ Don't check your text or email when someone else is talking. (Oh that one hits too close to home.)

The authors include an appendix that are actually exercises based on the routines of Second City. There is also an extensive NOTES section. as well as an. index.

√ All in all, YES, AND was a surprising book.
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Format: Hardcover
Such Promise... Such a Disappointment. The authors are certainly well intentioned, yet like much of the material at Second City, the book reads far too hastily put together, lacks structure, is blisteringly on-point and great in flashes... but would be well served with some serious editing.

-- Gratuitous name dropping for no other reason than attempting to lend credibility.
-- Patronizing writing attempting shape our imagination as to how principles can be applied outside of theatre.
-- Lack of defined interlocutor/audience: is it a management book? Business book? creativity self-learning book? Or a pitch to hire them for your business?
-- Continual switching of 'voice' with the reader.

In later chapters of the book, (Using Failure & Follow the Follower) it reads much better. The writers use specific examples from their experience, go into details about what happened, then extract clear principles that resonate through out the rest of the chapter in a concise, authentic readable manner. - More of this!

If you are looking for great stories and humorous anecdotes of Second City... you'll probably be disappointed.
If you are looking for a concise management book that will give you food for thought... you'll probably be frustrated by the uneven tone of the book.

* For creativity and nourishing a creative culture within an organization... look up: Ed Catmull's book on Pixar: "Creativity.inc"

But, if you can accept their self-aggrandizing importance of improvisation and be able to look through the occasionally patronizing language... you will uncover some worthy ideas for life (Active listening, "Yes, and", give and take, embracing Failure, leadership is intelligent following, and basic translations of the d.school design thinking process).

The writers have the potential for a great book here. Unfortunately in its current form, it doesn't read fully formed... Yet.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you are laughing at the idea that the Second City folks could right a serious book about leadership then you REALLY need to read this book.

I bought this book on a whim. I liked second city and the title grabbed me, because as a peacebuilder, I focus on both-and rather than either-or solutions, so Yes, And sort of struck a chord.

What I realized as I read the book that improv and problem solving have a lot in common wherever they occur. Their tools resonate with what works for my colleagues on the ground--work in teams (whoops, I mean ensembles), listen well, build on and support what others are say, and most of all, yes-and the person you are working with. Always take what s/he is saying AND build on it. Expand the frame of the discussion.

You'll probably get somewhere and have some fun getting there.

I was reading the book and smiling when the CEO of the group I work for came in. Melanie and I are both Jewish and I was reading about Jewsical the Musical which got us laughing more than it did Second City audiences.

Then, I explained why I was reading the book, and we both simultaneously decided that we should get the Second City folks to do a workshop at the Alliance for Peacebuilding's next annual conference so that our idiot savant improv artists could get some serious training (hopefully in some not so serious ways) in doing what they already do better.

If only we could afford them.
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