Summary of Happy Accidents

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  • Innovative
  • Applicable
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Performers David Ahearn, Frank Ford and David Wilk of the Four Day Weekend improvisation group offer a new approach to conquering negativity, setting priorities, and getting the most from your life and work by using techniques from improvisational comedy. They harness the positive power of saying “Yes, and” instead of “No, but.” They suggest saying “yes” to affirm others and then saying “and” before adding your thoughts and feelings. The authors draw on two decades of experience in improv to show you how to open your mind-set to new possibilities, have faith in providence and take advantage of opportunities. Chapters end with highlights, exercises and “encore exercises” drawn from improv. getAbstract suggests this doorway into a different approach to readers who are open to an unconventional perspective with a dash of stagecraft.

About the Authors

David Ahearn, Frank Ford and David Wilk co-founded the Four Day Weekend comedy improvisational group.



Starting with Comedy

David Ahearn, Frank Ford, David Wilk and Troy Grant sat together one night in a dark apartment. The utility company had turned off the power due to nonpayment. A comedy club had just fired three of them. The fourth had recently quit his job as a stand-up comic due to a conflict with management. In time, with the aid of a few “happy accidents” – great, coincidental breakthroughs – and the potency of saying “Yes, and” to new opportunities and viewpoints, they created the flourishing Four Day Weekend improvisational troupe and had great success.

In 1997, Four Day Weekend booked a six-week run. Due to a series of happy accidents, it performed more than 5,700 shows as of 2017. Group members realized they could achieve almost anything if they shifted from a habitual, negative “No, but” perspective to a positive mind-set that responded to people, ideas and opportunities with “yes, and.”

Stand-Up and Improvisation

Comedians who perform stand-up comedy draw on their egos and their individual perspectives and ideas. They work alone. Improv depends on the members of a group working together. An improv group ...

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    K. B. 2 years ago
    Really good!.
  • Avatar
    V. S. 3 years ago
    Some of the pointers were really good, will carry it ahead I am sure it will help.
    #getLearning #getAbstract
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    A. K. 3 years ago
    I feel that this is a simple yet useful concept, simply because when you say "Yes", the door is open, anything is possible; but when you say "No", the door is shut, and is hard to open it again.

    I personally don't think it is worth reading the whole book of 184 pages describing a simple concept, but reading the summary from getAbstract is easier.
    #getLearning #getAbstract
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    G. O. 3 years ago
    Day 2 #getLearning #getAbstract #readingchallenge

    "The key is to continually strive to become the very best that you can be and to encourage those around you to be their very best as well" this remind me of the quote that when let your light shines, it gives others the permission to do the same.

    As much as the book expresses that we should embrace our differences, it goes further to celebrate the secret Blue Butterfly �� and treadmill of success as a way of rallying people round to show kindness. David, Frank and David have just summarized the facts here: embrace diversity, be passionate, show kindness, ask much more and you never know how you are adding value to people around you. Stay open and be ready to help and add value to people daily. John Maxwell talks about this a lot.

    It was a great adventure for the troupe and I can't agree less that when you say Yes, and. it exudes confidence than no, but. The determination of the troupe with cheer optimism may have created the "Happy Accidents" that It wasn't so difficult for the authors to conclude that; Negative people say, “No, but.” Positive people say, “Yes,and. And I just saw a book Yes, And written by Kelly Leonard And atom Yorton. Interesting.
  • Avatar
    J. W. 3 years ago
    This is a change of focus from me to we.

    Many hands make light work
  • Avatar
    A. P. 3 years ago
    I like this idea, another great summary
    • Avatar
      Gboyega Olorunfemi 3 years ago
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    C. P. 3 years ago
    Another good example that a
    positive and open mood will lead to collaboration.
    Furthermore, this story tells us that you should not limit yourself within your known and accepted boundaries of comfort, but 'first to understand before being understood' as in Stephen Covey's 7 Habits in order to create something new.
    Thanks for this!

    #getLearning #getAbstract
    • Avatar
      Gboyega Olorunfemi 3 years ago
      Thank you for bringing Coveys perspective to bear
  • Avatar
    M. G. 3 years ago
    I like the 'yes and' approach but find the rest of the abstract too loose in its theme. It has a series of feel good stories but no ideas beyond some statements of the obvious in my opinion.
    • Avatar
      Gboyega Olorunfemi 3 years ago
      Yes, and the troupe showed determination with optimism to navigate whatever odds that may have gone their way...
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    B. S. 3 years ago
    The premise is a good one, but it doesn't necessarily account for human's needs to be a) right and b) in charge. I feel like if you say "Yes and", without including some gratitude for what the other person is doing to participate in the activity, you may lose their trust and it may not end as well as you would like.

    I guess if you added in there the need to define people's roles and how they will work together and communicate, perhaps this will set the tone for the rest of the work you do together and if you say "yes and" it will be taken in the positive vein it was intended.

    Definitely worth trying!
    #getLearning #getAbstract.
  • Avatar
    S. S. 3 years ago
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    H. H. 3 years ago
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    P. H. 3 years ago