The Rise: Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

By Sarah Lewis

An inspiring book about what it means to be human as we struggle for mastery in our various spheres.

It’s one of the enduring enigmas of the human experience: many of our most iconic, creative endeavours – from recent Nobel Prize-winning discoveries to entrepreneurial invention, and classic works in the arts – are not achievements, but conversions, corrections after a failed past attempt.

The Rise – part investigation into a psychological mystery, part argument about creativity and art, and part soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit – makes the case that many of the world’s greatest achievements have come from understanding the central importance of this mystery for working and living at the height of our capacity.

Written over four years, this exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of creative human endeavours. The Rise begins with narratives about figures that range from choreographers, painters, inventors, explorers, and entrepreneurs; Frederick Douglass, Samuel F. B. Morse, Diane Arbus, and J.K. Rowling, for example, feature alongside choreographer Paul Taylor, Nobel Prize-winning physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, and Arctic explorer Ben Saunders.

Each chapter focuses on the inestimable value of often ignored ideas – the power of surrender for fortitude, the criticality of play for innovation, and the propulsion of the “near win” on the road to mastery, the importance of grit and creative practice. While it is not a how-to book, it contains important lessons for pedagogy and parenting, for innovation and discovery, and for self-direction and creativity.

The Rise is an inspiring book about what it means to be human as we struggle for mastery in our various spheres.

Format: Paperback
Release Date: 26 Mar 2015
Pages: 272
ISBN: 978-0-00-758471-0
Sarah received her B.A. from Harvard University, an M.Phil from Oxford University, and will receive her PhD from Yale University in 2012.Selected for Oprah’s 2010 “Power List,” and included as a member of President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, her writing has been published widely. She has taught at Yale University, School of Art in the MFA program and has been an active curator, holding positions at both the Tate Modern and the Museum of Modern Art. She was also selected to be the Co-Curator of the 2010 SITE Santa Fe Biennial.She sits on the boards of the Harvard University Alumni Association, The CUNY Graduate Center, The Andy Warhol for the Visual Arts, The Brearley School, and the Madison Square Park Art Program.

‘Sarah Lewis has assembled a rich trove of reflections not just on creativity but on the too-often ignored role that failure and surrender play in almost any ambitious undertaking. That counter-intuitive point of attack makes ‘The Rise’ a welcome departure from standard accounts of artistry and innovation’ Lewis Hyde, author of ‘The Gift’ -