It Takes Two
Cathy Newman, Read by Laura Costello

Book cover image

Narrated By: Laura Costello

Duration: 9 hours and 54 minutes

What to expect

‘Sometimes, 1+1 = changing the world. Cathy Newman’s witty, warm history on the power of determined couples will make you look at your relationship and wonder, “Could we be doing more this weekend than just going to IKEA?”’ CAITLIN MORAN

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.

In It Takes Two, Cathy Newman rewrites the history books to expose this strange power of two – the reason Holmes and Watson need to come as a pair, and Apple could not have been started by Steve Jobs alone. Bringing together an extraordinary range of stories from around the world, Newman shows how double acts have relied on each other, how minds have married to usher in miraculous discoveries, and how those we think of as lone geniuses often did not work solo.

How did William and Ellen Craft work together to pull off a perilous cross-country escape from slavery? How did the queer artists Marcel Moore and Claude Cahun become icons of the surrealist movement, then heroines of the resistance during WW2? How do today’s most powerful couples – from Beyoncé and Jay-Z to Bill and Melinda Gates – negotiate coupledom and individual achievement in the spotlight?

Vibrant, feminist and unexpected, this brilliant history shows the value of friction, obsession, difference and trust when it comes to progress – and retrieves the work of many who have been forgotten, asking why certain collaborators are so often left out of the narrative.

Genre

True stories of discovery, Social & cultural history

Listen to a sample

PRAISE FOR IT TAKES TWO

‘Sometimes, 1+1 = changing the world. Cathy Newman’s witty, warm history on the power of determined couples will make you look at your relationship and wonder, “Could we be doing more this weekend than just going to IKEA?”’ 
CAITLIN MORAN

‘A fascinating and illuminating insight into the relationships of extraordinary people. Cathy Newman shows us how and why (to use a familiar phrase) it takes two to tango’
BRUNO TONIOLI

‘Witty and insightful, challenging and unexpected – this book is a joy’
RUTH DAVIDSON

‘A fascinating look at the enduring popularity of the double act, it’s difficulties and intricacies, and just how interwoven duos are with every facet of popular culture and history. Cathy Newman takes us deeper into the relationships we’re familiar with, and lays bare the importance of these relationships in shaping our world’
SARA CANNING

‘This book is chock-full of odd couples who turn out to make perfect sense – just like me and Susanna … We’re a team – and that’s the secret of a successful pairing.
It Takes Two on telly – and the world stage’
PIERS MORGAN

‘It’s a fascinating study of couples and collaboration, ending very often in anger and bitterness – Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, Joan Baez and Bob Dylan and so on’
MICHAEL MORPURGO, The i