#CBR7 Review #112: Yes, And by Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton

My friend A and went to Barnes and Noble a few months back, and her wide array of interests led to a surge in my Goodreads To-Read list. I’m not familiar with Business, Management, or good Self-Help books, so I am up for suggestions. At the same time, I am looking for ways to improve my pedagogy. While I’ve been reading a lot of novels to widen my learning base for my fall class, I’m also looking for books that will help me sharpen my teaching skills and articulate them in my statements of teaching and letters of application. I never expected a book by the minds behind Second City to be so useful and interesting.

Yes, And is a two-word encapsulation of Second City Company’s philosophy. It’s a way to combat “No, but…” thinking by improvising solutions and brainstorming means of collaboration. Kelly Leonard and Tom Yorton take you through various exercises and activities to strengthen your improvisation techniques, brainstorming capabilities, and overall communication skills as an individual and a member of an ensemble in your profession and life. They advocate for a model of ensemble over team–while team implies competition, an ensemble only works when everyone plays an equal role. There are several exercises they model in an appendix with directions on enacting them in the workplace.

I liked this book’s incredible enthusiasm and can-do spirit. I also like the idea of practicing these improv techniques for myself as a teacher and a potential colleague. I’m going on the job market again this fall, and I am eager to practice these “Yes, and…” skills in my job talk and interviews.


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