The Art of Is: Improvising as a Way of Life

Written by:
Stephen Nachmanovitch
Narrated by:
Robertson Dean

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
April 2019
7 hours 4 minutes
A critically acclaimed musician and teacher presents a guide to the dynamics of improvisation

It’s easy to assume that Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous and endlessly influential “I Have a Dream” speech was prescripted, vetted by others, written, and rewritten. It was not. Instead it was given on the fly, when from the audience singer Mahalia Jackson urged King off his prepared text. The result has inspired millions.

The Art of Is contains breath-of-fresh-air thinking about how to cultivate the kind of game-changing creativity everyone seeks. Stephen Nachmanovitch shows exactly how the passion and immediacy of improvisation can be cultivated and how, in fact, we all improvise all the time—whether we are driving or deep in conversation. He explores ideas about being in the moment and reacting to people as they are, finding gold in unexpected distractions and roadblocks, and not only accepting but also celebrating imperfections in everyday practices. This creative mindfulness also makes innovation the province not of solitary geniuses but the result of engagement and interaction—and makes clear that improvising, creating, innovating are only of value when rooted in an ethical and social foundation. The results, Nachmanovitch shows, foster meaningful change and invention—and may just ignite a dream.
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