Cover Image: It Takes Two

It Takes Two

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Member Reviews

A fascinating insight into the minds of the inspirational double acts that have pioneered in their fields throughout history. Newman not only included romantic relationships but great friendships, rivalries and professional teams too, which kept the book dynamic and offered something for everyone. I particularly loved the broad range of subjects and characters that Cathy covered and her accessible and engaging tone.

Perfect for anyone interested in history, science, art, literature, sociology and much more besides. Inspiring, insightful and enlightening.
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This book compiles all the famous and noteworthy couples of history, and Newman analyses each one to show how they’ve made an impact, how they worked together, or how they’ve become notorious.

This couldn’t have been an easy task. Not only does Newman select some interesting pairs in a large span of history, but she also has a wide variety of dynamics and people, some of whom I had never heard of before reading this. I appreciated that it wasn’t only romantic couples that were the focus, and it would’ve been very easy to just stick with that and call it a day, but she actually took the time to focus on great friendships, rivalries, and professional teams up, and it kept the reading experience fresh and more interesting. Newman divides the dynamics into different chapters, from Commitment, Communication, Competitiveness, Serendipity, Love etc, so there is a wide range to choose if you’re only in the mood for certain types of dynamics.

One of the interesting ones that stuck with me was Henry Cavendish and his friendship with Charles Blagden. I didn’t know much about either of them before reading this book, and it was fascinating how two very different people could work so well together, and how their friends was beneficial for their scientific endeavours, and just how much that partnership helped to cement their names in history, especially when Cavendish isolated himself often and was suspected to have Asperger’s syndrome. There were so many fascinating couples, like the slaves who ran away from their master, feral children , even Beyoncé and Jay Z — there is so much to sink your teeth into, and it was written in an easy to read and accessible way.

However, one of the issues I do have was that the switch between different pairs became more sporadic towards the end. The beginning had more time to analyse in depth, but then it felt like Newman was pressed for time later on and had to rush and move on. Also, more pairs were interesting than others. There were a few duds I wasn’t that invested in, and some only had a short paragraph or two before they were left behind for something more substantial.

Overall this is an well researched book that holds a lot of admiration for the people Newman writes about. It gives you an insight into the not often explored upon dynamics, and it shows that sometimes it takes more than one person to make history. I highly recommend this who wants a more wider and unique insight into historical pairs.
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This book explores the particular magic that is created when particular couples encounter each other and work together to a achievements that they most likely would not have reached by their individual selves.  She discusses how having a counterbalance can draw the best out of people and enable them to spur each other on to greater heights. 

There are a lot of interesting points about how duality can affect people, and why a pair of people can work together more effectively than three or more. The author works through 
Many couples throughout history, exploring how they managed to work together and affect each other, linking them under banners such as love, power and communication.

I enjoyed this - there were a lot of points that I had thought about in terms of couples, and this delved a bit deeper into the subject than the standard pairings that might normally spring to mind such as Lennon/McCartney. I enjoyed the book overall, but for me personally it didn’t really get going until chapter three - I did find it a bit slow to start, but overall I’m glad I stuck with it. Well worth a read!  

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
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An interesting book by one of the best-known political presenters in the country. It felt at times like the premise had been chosen because everything else had been picked, but it did shine new light on the impact of the subjects in a way that conventional non-fiction takes might not have.
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A fascinating read a look at couples who dared to be different to live lives their own way, I so enjoyed this entertaining informative  book I will be highly recommending,It .I sat down to read a few pages got caught up and read for hours love when that happens.#netgalley #4thestatebooks
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Duos or couples throughout history be they romantic, colleagues, friendships or family was explored in this book. Some I had heard off others I hadn't. 
I was at times left wanting more information about the couples, it felt like it was just getting interesting and then it ended. The introduction to one couple to another could be abrupt and a bit disjointed.

Overall I enjoyed this book, 3.75 stars!

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher/author for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review
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It Takes Two: A History of the Couples Who Dared to be Different is a book about how great pairs, from romantic couples to sworn rivals, have made history. It is a paean to partnership in an era where isolationism and strong man politics appears to be failing us. Dyads consist of two individuals maintaining a sociologically significant relationship and can be linked via romantic interest, family relation, interests, work, partners in crime, and so on, and can be found from showbiz to science, from sibling relationships to sizzling affairs. Cathy Newman has penned a fascinating book as to why two is the magic number. Split into seven separate chapters: Commitment; Communication; Competitiveness; Tension; Serendipity; Love; and Power, she explores the dyadic relationship between instantly recognisable names right down to those who deserve to be better recognisable to illustrate that each person in the sacred pairing must gain or accomplish something to make the coupling worthwhile and successful. Throughout history, collaboration has fuelled greatness. From rivals pressuring each other forwards to friends combining their talents, it’s clear: often two heads are better than one.

Some of the most memorable of the great pairings who worked together to change history featured throughout the book were: the relationships between Amelia Earhart and George Putnam, sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell and slaves Ellen and William who bonded through escaping their captor. The story on the lives of Amala and Kamala, the feral children, who were discovered with an unbreakable and enduring bond due to their animalistic behaviour was also both heartwarming and memorable. It's educational and thought-provoking as well as entertaining with plenty of anecdotes to keep you absorbed and it's clear Newman is a highly perceptive person as she writes with such nuance and with great admiration for those she includes. Essentially, this is an accessible, interesting and endlessly captivating exploration of the concept of dyadic relationships and what makes them work so incredibly well provided all the necessary ingredients are present. A great insight into the proven power of two where couples can become much more than just a sum of their individual parts. Highly recommended. Many thanks to William Collins for an ARC.
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A really fascinating read about famous couples from history - this will be a great addition to our school library!
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‘All this set me thinking about the ‘power of two’ - the unique, contained bond that can form between two people and generate a particular kind of catalysing spark.’

It Takes Two by Cathy Newman is a book about the powerful duo’s within history showing how they bounced off one and another. 

Dyads or the unit of two work together best when there is not one individual in power, they work together, and each accomplish something great. The real power within a dyad is knowing when to take the lead and when to submit, this classical makes the most power full dyads. 

Some interesting couples discussed and how they notably worked to change part of history from Bill to Melissa Gates, Amelia Earhart and George Putna, Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell. There are also dyads discussed are not all well known, such as feral children that were found and they were connected with such a bond to each other, also slaves that escaped from their captors. 

A very intriguing and educational novel that I genuinely learnt something from.
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It Takes Two is an enjoyable book with the loose theme of two people with an association. Sometimes this association is a working partnership, sometimes a marriage, sometimes a passionate friendship and sometimes even a chance encounter with long term repercussions.

I thought that Cathy Newman picked interesting couples to talk about, some of whom were famous and already well known to me, others of whom were new and fascinating.  There was occasionally a jarring note when the segue between one couple and the next just didn’t work for me, but overall this did not detract from a solid four star read.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
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I read this book thanks to NetGalley. 

It's a pleasant read, a series of linked anecdotes about couples - business partners, artistic partners, married couples, lovers of all shapes and sizes. However, it didn't add an awful lot to the idea that two people can spark off each other to create something bigger than they would have done alone.
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Fascinating study of famous, and not so famous, couples. Dyadic relationships are everywhere through history but how often do we look at what makes them tick?
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The first book by Cathy that I have read. It is very interesting, illuminating and compulsive. The power of two, two people, not just opposite sex but same sex through history, politics, entertainment and love. A unique look at something we take almost for granted, a friend, mentor, leader or lover. All can inspire and make the duo more attractive, powerful and compelling than them being singular. 1 plus 1 in this instance does not make two.
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I love Cathy Newman and this lived up to expectations. I was enthralled throughout and got so much from it.
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A bloody great take on histories duality- a truly spectacular read. 

‘All this set me thinking about the ‘power of two’ - the unique, contained bond that can form between two people and generate a particular kind of catalysing spark.’

Centring around dyadic group bonds, this novel accounts of a striking duality between pairs; both well known to the masses- and others- gems of history I had not previously heard of.  

Well known dyads such as Virginia Woolf, Sherlock and Darwin- are still ones you wish to hear of. The author reflects history in a different view, showing how their achievements bounced off of one another and worked through means of a mental (and sometimes physical) bond. 

However my favourite accounts were those of Ellen and William; slaves who escaped their captors through the wildest of means, and Amala and Kamala. Ferrel children whose beings are most intriguing due to their animalistic qualities and bond. 

This is most definitely a great historical take. Intriguing and captivating - I was drawn in by the dyads featured. A great variety exploring both heterosexual and LGBT+ pairings, as well as completely out there accounts you may be yet to hear. 

I greatly enjoyed this read!

TW: very mild mentions of rape in some histories- not described in depth just mentioned briefly. 

Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with an ARC of this book in return for an honest review.
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It really takes two for success as Cathy Newman so perceptively describes in her wonderful book. 

Dyads or basic unit of two individuals tend to work best horizontaly rather than vertically. Usually everything goes wrong when one person, for whatever reason, moves into position above other. The decisive characteristic of the dyad is that each member must actually accomplish something. And a sense when to lead and when to submit seems to be at most importance in a couples success.

As the author says: "Sometimes, to appreciate people fully, we need to see them through the prism of the person closest to them."

And then she takes us to a journey of famous couples, such as sisters Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, Bill and Melinda Gates, Amelia Earhart and George Putnam and many more. 

It's a study and celebration of coupledom. In each case, each half of the couple brings something different into the partnership.

Very interesting, insightful and modern approach to history.
Must read!
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This is the 1st book of Cathys that I have read.

This book tells the story of two and the different relationships and characters between two people for instant the difference between virgina woof and her sister Vanessa to bill gates & Paul Allen.

I enjoyed this book 

With thanks to NetGalley & 4th estate & William Collins for the arc of this book in exchange for this review
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