Summary of Yes, And

How Improvisation Reverses “No, But” Thinking and Improves Creativity and Collaboration

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Yes, And book summary
Chicago’s Second City improvisational techniques can help you and your firm be more creative, less fearful and more nimble.


9 Overall

9 Applicability

9 Innovation

8 Style


Many comedy stars performed at Chicago’s renowned improvisational theater company The Second City, and went on to fame and success. They include Mike Myers, Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Bill Murray, Bonnie Hunt, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, and many more, including the late Gilda Radner, John Candy and John Belushi. Second City also has trained managers, marketers, teachers, lawyers and leaders. The executive vice president of Second City Inc., Kelly Leonard, and the CEO of Second City Works, Tom Yorton, weave funny anecdotes into this clear-headed, practical guide to applying improvisational techniques to personal and organizational growth. Their storytelling, as you might expect from their improv foundation, rambles, and not all of their examples line up with the points they try to illustrate. Yet the authors demonstrate rigor and concision when they discuss the core of their approach. Their simple, applicable exercises can heighten your awareness and help you be present, listen actively, respond to a crisis, face failure fearlessly, trust your co-workers, collaborate effectively and get out of your own way. getAbstract recommends their time-tested, commonsense system to executives, managers, HR officers and anyone who works with other people.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the Chicago improvisational troupe Second City uses the “Yes, And” tactic to spur collaboration and creativity;
  • How to apply “improv” techniques to personal and corporate growth; and
  • How Second City’s strategies for listening actively and responding fluidly can help you in any situation.


Second City
Chicago’s Second City theater troupe presents ensemble-based, improvisational comedy. Its actors team up to co-write every performance in spontaneous collaboration. Second City also teaches its cooperative, improvisational – or “improv” – techniques in its corporate consultancy...
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About the Authors

Second City Inc. executive VP Kelly Leonard has been with the troupe since 1988. Second City Works CEO Tom Yorton teaches businesspeople how to use comedy and improv to improve their performance.

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    Tim Drewitt 2 years ago
    As one of life's "cup half full" optimists, I loved this summary. I was introduced to "Yes, and" 10 years ago, but need to use it more. And when I look back at all the teams I've worked in - and they were all great - I can now see the most productive were those where we behaved like - and were also financially   incentivised - as an "ensemble".
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    Golden Helen 2 years ago
    I liked this book summary. It is hard not to use some words like No. I try to do what I can for people.

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