Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. John Lennon and Paul McCartney. Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. Every industry — arts, science, music, sports — is filled with partnerships and rivalries. In his new book, “Powers of Two: Finding the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs,” Joshua Wolf Shenk explores the need for collaboration and the fluidity and flexibility that partners provide. Michael Krasny and Joshua Wolf Shenk pair up to discuss the importance of duality in innovation.

Joshua Wolf Shenk, author of "Powers of Two: Seeking the Essence of Innovation in Creative Pairs"


    The worst and highest death toll from an earthquake where more than one million people were killed from a single earthquake took place in Egypt in t6he year 1201 AD , THE QUAKE HAD A MAGNITUDE OF 7.6 and was felt across the whole middle east.and southern Europe.


    During the year 1201 earthquake in Egypt big chunk of the city of Alexandria fell into the sea.

  • Robert Thomas

    From an arithmetical point of view, it would seem that the effort required to make a disruptive difference in any field may be most efficiently reduced with the addition of a first partner. The value of further additions would be logarithmically less and be quickly offset by the reduced focus that groups suffer.

    This may be reflected most often in the number of “lone geniuses” that are actually duos – of husband and wife – where historical attitudes mask the crucial contribution of the latter.

    On the other hand, there are endeavors of great complexity that REALLY benefit from concerted action by larger, more closely allied groups…

    The Traitorous Eight: Julius Blank, Victor Grinich, Jean Hoerni, Eugene Kleiner, Jay Last, Gordon Moore, Robert Noyce, Sheldon Roberts.

  • Tom

    You mentioned Lennon-McCartney as an example of dynamic duo – with very different approaches. What about Jagger-Richards? Mick Jagger is a jet-setting, glamour guy – the man of wealth and taste. Richards is dry-witted and straight-talking. Jagger gets into the showmanship aspect; Richards is focused on the music. Oddly enough, while Lennon and McCartney split up, Jagger and Richards have stayed together despite frequent acrimony. Richards has been quoted many times saying “We met in the sandbox when we were four. I can’t divorce him.”

  • Guest

    You started to give a thumbnail of the 6 steps in creativity (or similar) and never finished. Could we hear more about these?

  • Fred

    Does the public unknowingly perpetuate and cause the “Lone-Wolf” or independent innovator mythos for famous innovators, even in the face of contrary evidence. On a larger scale do people have a tendency to accept the stories that ignore partnerships and paint innovators as independent and self-reliant. If so, why?

  • Robert Thomas

    Smart & Final.

    The first time I saw the sign, I thought it was for discount funeral services.

    But no; an acquaintance from Beverly Hills enlightened me.

  • Ben Rawner

    Are there any good example of one person becoming famous or successful and then their partner ends up eclipsing them.

  • TimR

    I was slightly reluctant to listen to another discussion of this book, Power of Twos. However, as this book apparently explains, “twos” produce synergy. In light of this book, it is apparent that Michael’s strengths as an interviewer also serve to make him a surrogate in making a brief power of two. I am finding this interview to be very good in comparison to the first one heard. Thanks, Michael. Tim from San Jose.

  • roxie

    Curious if this book explores & attributes gender and/or societal expectations differences of leadership or rivalry styles?

  • Cheryl Ann Fulton

    As a teacher, teaching primarily in one to one private lessons for over two decades, it has been that relationship that has created the harp technique I have developed. I think the student-teacher relationship can be an excellent example of what Mr. Shenk is illuminating.

    Cheryl Ann Fulton

  • Livegreen

    This program emphasizes the power of teamwork. The community I’ve heard emphasize this the mostly is tech & VC communities (as it strengthens their chances of success) but of course the power of teamwork is much more universal.

    Need further proof?: in the scholastic global Odyssey of the Mind teamwork competition an Oakland public school, Glenview Elementary, CONSISTENTLY over the past decade has succeeded at Regional, State, National and International levels (with different teams) based on one common trait: GOOD TEAMWORK.

    Would naysayers have thought this was possible? Of course not, but this is proof that it is…

  • Angeline Siegel,

    I’m wondering how your guest views the role of intersubjectivity?

  • Lyle

    With today being the start of the US open tennis tournament, I think this topic could be attributed fittingly to former rivals and now friends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
    They always pushed each other to greater achievements.

  • 1PeterDuMont2STARALLIANCE8

    Thank you for this wonderful and important topic and guest! It made me realize that in many ways, Forum has been a creative partner for thousands of callers and citizen commentators over the years, certainly including me, stimulating not only questions and comments but bursts of creative writing and social commentary — with the added necessity (and frequent advantage) of brevity.

    An added comment here, shared from a friend years ago who helped me deal with the “Who gets the credit” ego challenge from at least one of my creative partners when he pointed out the seemingly obvious: “People [contribute] different things.”

    Would that all human beings would be generous in giving and sharing credit where credit is due; seeing it as an enrichment rather than a restriction on one’s own happiness.

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