The Improvisation Edge

The Improvisation Edge

Karen Hough

3/7 Stars

This book examines how skills in improv can improve your ability to build trust and collaborate in creative ways. The main tenants are: accept other’s suggestions, explore and build on those suggestions, everyone contributes, and use mistakes as a platform. She also emphasizes how play is crucial to creativity.

All of these ideas are good, and all are very basic to stage improvisation. “Yes, and” is the first thing you learn in improv classes, and that is the first half of the book. The first half. Unfortunately, even with that amount of space, the author does not really go into the challenges to “Yes, and”. Her focus is on the argument that improv works, rather than improv works, and here is what you have to go through to achieve it.

Part of this is the examples she chose to include. Honestly, I could have used less “my company has big name clients and here are CEOs that go through our workshops”. That was a lot of the book. Unfortunately, these examples are almost exclusively about how enthusiastically said CEOs embrace the concepts in the book. What about when people are resistant to the idea of play in the workplace? If you don’t have active participation in this type of interaction, it just doesn’t work well. Attitude is very important when working with other people, and I felt like that could have been examined more closely.

I am not talking about outside challenges, by the way. That was covered beautifully and was probably the best part of the book. Improvisation is really a very good way to tackle unexpected circumstances and the latter third of the book looks at how to do so.

All in all, this is a decent book and would be worth reading for those of you who have no background in improv at all. If you have some experience, though, you will already be familiar with the ideas and implementations described here.

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