The Rise

Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Search for Mastery

The Rise

Read by: Sarah Lewis
From celebrated art historian, curator, and teacher Sarah Lewis comes “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” (Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift).

It is one of the enduring enigmas of the human experience: many of our most iconic, creative endeavors—from Nobel Prize–winning discoveries to entrepreneurial inventions and works in the arts—are not achievements, but rather, corrections after failed attempts.

The gift of failure is a riddle. Like the number zero, it will always be both the void and the start of infinite possibility. The Rise—part investigation into a psychological mystery, part an argument about creativity and art, and part a soulful celebration of the determination and courage of the human spirit—makes the case that many of our greatest achievements come from understanding the importance of this mystery.

This exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of creative human endeavor. The Rise begins with narratives about figures past and present who range from writers to entrepreneurs; Frederick Douglass, Samuel F. B. Morse, Maya Lin, and J.K. Rowling, for example, featured alongside choreographer Paul Taylor, Nobel Prize–winning physicists Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, Arctic explorer Ben Saunders, and psychology professor Angela Duckworth.

The audiobook explores 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 not a how-to book, it contains important lessons for pedagogy and parenting, innovation and discovery, and self-direction and creativity.

The Rise is an inspiring audiobook about what it means to be human as we struggle for mastery in our various spheres.
  • Simon & Schuster Audio | 
  • ISBN 9781442370463 | 
  • March 2014
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About the Author

Sarah Lewis
© by Annie Leibovitz

Sarah Lewis

Sarah Lewis has served on President Obama’s Arts Policy Committee, been selected for Oprah’s “Power List,” and is a Critic at the Yale University School of Art in the MFA program. She is also an active curator, having held positions at both the Tate Modern and The Museum of Modern Art. Her writing on contemporary art has been published extensively. She received her BA from Harvard University, an MPhil from Oxford University, and her PhD from Yale University. She lives in New York City.

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