Download The Art of Is: Improvising as a Way of Life Audiobook

The Art of Is:  Improvising as a Way of Life Audiobook, by Stephen Nachmanovitch Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Stephen Nachmanovitch Narrator: Robertson Dean Publisher: Blackstone Publishing Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: April 2019 ISBN: 9781982665104
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book)
Regular Price: $19.95 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $12.95$7.95$7.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

A critically acclaimed musician and teacher presents a guide to the dynamics of improvisation

It’s easy to assume that Martin Luther King Jr.’s famous and endlessly influential “I Have a Dream” speech was prescripted, vetted by others, written, and rewritten. It was not. Instead it was given on the fly, when from the audience singer Mahalia Jackson urged King off his prepared text. The result has inspired millions.

The Art of Is contains breath-of-fresh-air thinking about how to cultivate the kind of game-changing creativity everyone seeks. Stephen Nachmanovitch shows exactly how the passion and immediacy of improvisation can be cultivated and how, in fact, we all improvise all the time—whether we are driving or deep in conversation. He explores ideas about being in the moment and reacting to people as they are, finding gold in unexpected distractions and roadblocks, and not only accepting but also celebrating imperfections in everyday practices. This creative mindfulness also makes innovation the province not of solitary geniuses but the result of engagement and interaction—and makes clear that improvising, creating, innovating are only of value when rooted in an ethical and social foundation. The results, Nachmanovitch shows, foster meaningful change and invention—and may just ignite a dream.

Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Narrator Robertson Dean lends his judicious pacing and artful vocal variation to this production, accompanying listeners through musician and teacher Nachmanovitch’s reflections…Dean offers a consummately professional performance with his deep, mellow voice and natural ability to mix up pace and emphasis in ways that keep the audiobook’s more abstract moments engaging to the ear…Dean’s narration connects listeners with the author’s observations on art and humanity.”


  • “A philosophical meditation on living, living fully, living in the present…Drawing from the wisdom of the ages, The Art of Is not only gives the reader an inside view of the states of mind that give rise to improvisation, it is also a celebration of the power of the human spirit that, when exercised with love, immense patience, and discipline, is an antidote to hate.”

    Yo-Yo Ma, multiaward-winning cellist and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient

  • “The Art of Is is real art! It is so lucid, grand, kind, easy-going, and deeply helpful, I could not stop reading it…Steve takes us with him on his life-walk of love in music all over the world… This is a lovely guidebook for our own journeys, helping us appreciate ourselves and each other as the precious human beings endowed with liberty and opportunity that we are!”

    Robert Thurman, Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhist Studies, Columbia University, and co-founder of Tibet House US

Listener Reviews

Be the first to write a review about this audiobook!
Write a Review

About the Author

Stephen Nachmanovitch, a pioneer in free improvisation on violin, viola, and electric violin, performs internationally and teaches widely on creativity and the spiritual underpinnings of art. He is the author of writings, books, music, multimedia works, and computer software in a variety of fields. He holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD from the University of California–Santa Cruz.

About the Narrator

Robertson Dean has played leading roles on and off Broadway and at dozens of regional theaters throughout the country. He has a BA from Tufts University and an MFA from Yale. His audiobook narration has garnered ten AudioFile Earphones Awards. He now lives in Los Angeles, where he works in film and television in addition to narrating.