Angie's Reviews > Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality

Making Ideas Happen by Scott Belsky
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's review
Dec 10, 2011

did not like it
bookshelves: kindle-clubbers
Read in October, 2011

Written founder of Behance, a company aimed at helping creative individuals become more productive. This book aims to share best-of practices. Despite the amount of knowledge Belskey must have on the topic, and the research that went into this book, the book was a major disappointment. I didn't learn much and struggled to find interesting, novel ideas here.

Belskey divided the book into three sections (Organization and Execution; The Forces of Community; Leadership Capacity). He first summarized the three sections. Then at the beginning of each section, he'd give a more detailed summary. Short sections, each organized around a Behance maxim, could have removed a lot of the fluff that came with the forced structure. I prefer the freewheeling style and tone of Re/Work, which is a concise, not too serious, and accessible-for-all book on principles for starting a business, written by the founders of 37signals. Belskey should had taken some cues from it.

The examples, often accompanied by unnecessary lead-ins giving context of how he knew the person, frustrated me. He often used one example to support a point, when several, presenting opposing ideas and various styles, would have strengthened his point and made it more accessible. For example, he details the R/GA CEO's paper based organization system (to make the point that having a system, regardless of the tech level, is important) but then doesn't profile anyone else in the same way.

Belskey's examples, along with his advertising agency lingo (e.g. brief), imply that he's geared this for the current people in the Behance network (designers, artists, brand planners) rather than just for anyone. That seems short-sighted. Clearly many people outside of that space have ideas that they want to make happen. And a nitpicky but still frustrating gripe: WHY does he use creative as a noun? To refer to a person as "a creative" is ridiculous. I know it's common in agency land, but it doesn't mean it's good practice.

Making Ideas Happen lacked pithiness and punch. Main points got lost in the blather. But the biggest problem was a lack of strong ideas. The execution is seriously lacking, which is ironic considering the topic.
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