The Rise

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

The Rise

From celebrated art historian, curator, and teacher Sarah Lewis, a fascinating examination of how our most iconic creative endeavors—from innovation to the arts—are not achievements but conversions, corrections after failed attempts.

The gift of failure is a riddle: 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 the world’s greatest achievements have come from understanding the central importance of failure.

Written over the course of four years, this exquisite biography of an idea is about the improbable foundations of a creative human endeavor. Each chapter focuses on the inestimable value of often ignored ideas—the power of surrender, how play is essential for innovation, the “near win” can help propel you on the road to mastery, the importance of grit and creative practice. The Rise shares narratives about figures past and present that range from choreographers, writers, painters, inventors, 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.

With valuable lessons for pedagogy and parenting, for innovation and discovery, and for self-direction and creativity, The Rise “gives the old chestnut ‘If at first you don’t succeed…’ a jolt of adrenaline” (Elle).
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 272 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781451629248 | 
  • March 2015
List Price $16.00
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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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