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The Collaborative Habit: Life Lessons for Working Together

3.51  ·  Rating Details ·  256 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
In a career that has spanned four decades, choreographer Twyla Tharp has collaborated with great musicians, designers, thousands of dancers, and almost a hundred companies. She's experienced the thrill of shared achievement and has seen what happens when group efforts fizzle. Her professional life has been -- and continues to be -- one collaboration after another.

In this
ebook, 160 pages
Published November 24th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2009)
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I loved Tharp's book, The Creative Habit, and I use it in the course that I teach on Creativity. The Collaborative Habit focuses on collaborating with different groups of people or organization and discusses ways to maximize collaboration without running into conflict. Tharp explains to the reader how to plan out ideas, create collaboration groups, and work with a multitude of different personalities and roles. She provides examples from her own experiences. I find it more dense than the Creativ ...more
Tricia Friedman
Oct 29, 2016 Tricia Friedman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Start to end brilliant anecdotes, and thoughtfully crafted calls to reconsider our habits when collaborating with others. This should be required reading for educators everywhere. Were this not a library book I would have ended up highlighting every sentence.
"Collaboration is how most of our ancestors used to work and live, before machines came along and fragmented society... By the twentieth century, only a few self-isolated sects practiced the collaborative tradition... The result is that most of us grew up in a culture that applauded only individual achievement... The lone heroes are yesterday's role models. The media may still love them, but our new heroes are men and women who know how to gather allies, build teams, and work together toward sha ...more
Kate Arms
Unlike The Creative Habit which is a structural mess, The Collaborative Habit holds together.

This is a simple book. There are some philosophical arguments for collaboration, but mostly this is a few sage words of advice with a story to illustrate where the advice was learned or needed.

A lot of Tharp's collaborations were with famous people, so it feels a bit like a parade of name dropping, but that is simply the nature of her work. If she had not had such an illustrious career working with so m
Oct 12, 2011 Erica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If what you do requires working with other people, read this book.

Twyla Tharp breaks down collaboration and reflects on her years of experience -- the successes, the failures -- with honesty. She lays out the joys and challenges, and establishes basic ground rules to keep in mind when collaborating.

As someone who collaborates promiscuously, I found her book inspiring. Some of what she says will be familiar to anyone who's tried to wrangle the many moving parts (and egos) of collaboration, but th
Wow. Definitely not what I was expecting.

The first two chapters built the case for collaboration with arguments of greater output and a balance to Western self-absorption. What followed after chapter 2 was completely underwhelming.

Tharp spent the remaining chapters talking mostly about her professional dance experience with thoughts about collaboration appearing as an afterthought.

It all came down to expectation. If you're looking for a book on collaboration with more ideas, concepts and case
Jul 07, 2010 Beth rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: nobody
Shelves: meh
Unlike The Creative Habit, this book wasn't that interesting and didn't relate many new insights. When the author wasn't re-hashing stories from The Creative Habit (I suspect many readers of this book also read the other - can we say: "bored now!" - why not use only new examples?), she merely gave other examples of collaborations she had, without distilling the lessons in any meaningful way.

I really enjoyed and got a lot out of The Creative Habit, so I was grossly disappointed by this follow-up.
Ahmad Moshrif
Good but not great in comparison with the creative habit.

رغم عشقي الشديد لتوايلا ثارب وأفكارها، إلا أنني لم أجد ضالتي في هذا الكتاب.
نجمتين من أجل الخبرة والحقيقة الصريحة في هذا الكتاب، ونجمة لبعض الحكايات والمواقف، عتبي عليها أنها لم تُكثر من ذكر الدروس التي تعلمتها من خلال عملها مع الآخرين وفقا لعنوان الكتاب، بل وجدت فيه أنها انشغلت كثيرة بسرد تفاصيل قصص، قد لا تعنينا الكثير نحن القرائ، مما يجعلنا نتوه وسطها بحثاً عن الحكمة او الدرس.

اعتب آيضاً على كثرة الشخصيات المذكورة بشكل سطحي نسبياً، دون ال
Full of great stories of collaboration in the world of dance, there are many lessons about how, when, and why to collaborate to be learned here. These lessons don't apply just to the world of dance, though, they are lessons that can be applied in just about any type of project.

A quick read, entertaining and quite informative. Well worth the time spent reading it, if you are involved in any kind of creative endeavor that involves other people you should definitely add this to your reading list.
Literary Princess
Not what I was hoping it would be. After reading The Creative Habit and getting lots of specific recommendations of methods to make creativity a habit (or to inspire creativity in a moment, which was very useful), I expected the same but about collaboration instead. Not so. This book was filled with stories about various collaborative endeavours Twyla Tharp has been involved in and points out how to make oneself more amenable to collaboration. All of her tips were pretty vague and obvious and no ...more
Apr 04, 2011 Flissy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dancers
Shelves: 2011
I found this book incredibly helpful and encouraging because it relates directly to the kind of dance I do: improvisation with a troupe. I enjoyed all of the anecdotes that illustrate positive working relationships, what makes for good partners, and other enlightening little tidbits. It's a quick read and I think anyone who works with others in any context (which is just about everybody, I think!) would find this book useful and inspiring.
Mar 14, 2012 Jason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012
Twyla Tharp is one of my favorite authors on creativity and this one did not disappoint. Her writing is so eloquent and contagious and just draws me in with its passion. I don't even appreciate her area of passion (dancing) and I am just enthralled by her stories of success and failure.

This is a must book for anyone wanting to know how to work creatively with others. Building off her first book, The Creative Habit, this one moves into the world of collaboration. Great read.
I have a feeling I might like it more the second time around reading. The Collaborative Habit is stories and anecdotes of Tharp's experience collborating over a professional lifetime. It is not a workbook like The Creative Habit, so for me this book was overshadowed by the earlier book. Worth a borrow from the library; even if only to admire the design and layout of the book itself.
This book was powerful as Twyla Tharp talks about the various composers, choreographers, and dancers she has worked with both classical and modern. Having read The Creative Habit a number of years ago, it was refreshing to hear the same enthusiastic and inspiring voice from Twyla's writing. This will be one of those books I reread periodically and hopefully will be able to put some of these practices to use in the future with collaborations of my own.
Dec 22, 2009 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm a big fan of "The Creative Habit," her previous book, and compared to that one, this one is disappointing. Lots of helpful generalities and lots of personal stories. There are good lessons to get out of this book, but it doesn't feel like enough. Not to mention the entire book is double-spaced presumably to hide the fact that it's actually a book half its size... Stick with "The Creative Habit," an incredibly helpful book.
May 02, 2012 Teri rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This definatly is not about is more about collaging if that is a social skill we haven't explored it much...but to me collaborating is more than working with someone else where each brings their talent to the table. If there was collaboration going on it wasn't explained very well. I just heard a Nora Jones interview...she started from scratch working with a musican on what i consider a real collaboration. Write about it Nora!!
Mar 31, 2010 Eric rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stopped-reading
This book did not do it for me, so I actually stopped and gave it back to LVCC. It had some interesting ideas and I learned a little about ballet, but in general it is too heavy on the "this is my story" and too light on the "this is the theory behind my lesson" for my taste. I may get to come back to it some day.
Jun 17, 2011 Sylvie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
After loving The Creative Habit, I was all set to love this as well. Unfortunately, it is nothing like that book. It is more a mish-mash of very personal anecdotes than anything else, and, while the stories could have been the basis of an interesting memoir, they do not really inspire or provide pratical guidance for those seeking to improve their collaborations.
May 11, 2010 Dvdurante rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was amazing. It really teaches you the art of putting aside your ego to get sh*t done and how reducing competition in a team is one of the most important steps toward success. It also talks about how to maintain your own identity and pride in your work, while still managing to make the best collaborative work you and your team can. READ IT!!!
Aug 27, 2011 Colleenish rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I thought I was reading another book, and got half way through before I realized that this was not the book I meant to read. Tharp is a professional choreographer, and name drops a lot of names that mean nothing to me. I think the advice about collaboration was sound, but I found it very boring.
Jan 14, 2011 Sabkymom rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I never expected to learn so much from a choreographer! Through her numerous real life collaborative examples, Tharp identifies what works and doesn't and why in a very open and entertaining narrative. A quick read and great for inspiring better work and personal relationships.
Louisa Morris
Nov 29, 2010 Louisa Morris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked it a lot-- professionally, it had a lot to offer me. The writing isn't great (it's as though the book was dictated, then transcribed literally), but overall, I enjoyed reading it. The insight into the dance community was fascinating.
This had some good, interesting anecdotes about her collaborations with famous people. But this book pales in comparison to The Creative Habit, which I loved a lot.
May 30, 2011 Greg rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
useful & thoughtful. Though the part of me that resents waste wonders about the huge margins and spacing. The layout implies an overdue, underlong term paper. But that's niggling. Good stuff.
Meredyth Pederson
I was so hopeful, but ultimately disappointed by this book. Tharp is writing for non artists and her definition of collaboration is very broad.
Jan 03, 2011 Pat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was OK. I enjoyed reading about the world of dance, but it really felt more like a short memoir than a good "how to" develop the collaborative habit.
Jan 12, 2012 Karen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Quick,interesting read by a choreographer, who shares how her experiences in collaboration with individuals and institutions relate to successful life experiences for each of us.
Mar 21, 2010 Rayrumtum rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: creativity
This book by a noted choreographer is chuck full of anecdotes in the fields of arts and business with tips on collaboration. An easy read that is substantively not terribly deep.
Mar 09, 2011 jodi is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Awesome stories. Hoping it might inspire me to try harder to work with online colleagues and offer insights for getting student, learning online, to work better together.
Ms. S...........
Great book for times when people are struggling and worried about keeping their jobs. If we can find new ways to collaborate, it can only help us in the end!
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Twyla Tharp is an American dancer and choreographer. She has won Emmy and Tony awards, and currently works as a choreographer in New York City.
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“In the end all collaborations are love stories.” 10 likes
“Don’t sign on for more problems than you must. Resist the temptation to involve yourself in other people’s zones of expertise and responsibility. Monitor troublesome situations if you need to, but don’t insert yourself unless you’re running out of time and a solution is nowhere in sight. In short, stifle your inner control freak.” 8 likes
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