Sarah Lewis’s lapidary prose gave me actual goosebumps. It makes me wonder something about PhD candidates, which she was at the time she wrote this book. Do they simply start out with the requisite talent and intelligence, or does the discipline itself make people smarter? Or is it both? That’s a question at the crux of what makes creativity happen, or not happen, and that’s also the subject of the book. What is mastery, how is it attained, and what part does failure play in that process?
There are few books that I think deserve multiple readings, and this is one of them. It’s beautiful, and it’s the sort of book you can flip open at random for inspirational bursts. Lewis presents a series of profiles of people who became successful in various fields via unconventional means. She mentions that she interviewed nearly 150 people for the book. This is the kind of tantalizing tidbit that raises the question, can we have access to some of these interviews? I think we’ll reach a point in the near future when nearly every creative project will have supplementary material online for those who wish to delve further.
The Rise has the capacity to induce a total paradigm shift about creativity, innovation, and their associated work products. The vision is one of fearless exploration, willingness to play and bounce back cheerfully from failure, and true grit. Lewis makes a compelling case that this is really how things get done.
My favorite quote from the book is by Franklin Leonard. “I’ve learned that there is absolutely no value in pessimism.”
I've been working with chronic disorganization, squalor, and hoarding for over 20 years. I'm also a marathon runner who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and thyroid disease 17 years ago.