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Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity

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When Hugh MacLeod was a struggling young copywriter living in a YMCA, he started to doodle on the backs of business cards while sitting at a bar. Those cartoons eventually led to a popular blog-gapingvoid.com-and a reputation for pithy insight and humor, in both words and pictures.MacLeod has opinions on everything from marketing to the meaning of life, but one of his main subjects is creativity. How do new ideas emerge in a cynical, risk-averse world? Where does inspiration come from? What does it take to make a living as a creative person?Ignore Everybody expands on MacLeod's sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice. For example:-Selling out is harder than it looks. Diluting your product to make it more commercial will just make people like it less.-If your plan depends on you suddenly being "discovered" by some big shot, your plan will probably fail. Nobody suddenly discovers anything. Things are made slowly and in pain.-Don't try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. There's no point trying to do the same thing as 250,000 other young hopefuls, waiting for a miracle. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one.-The idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be yours. The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.After learning MacLeod's forty keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock your own brilliance and unleash it on the world.

159 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2009

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Hugh MacLeod

17 books121 followers

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 584 reviews
Profile Image for Renee.
119 reviews11 followers
October 14, 2012
I checked this out because I enjoyed the original Gaping Void post. I also lent it to my mother, a Seth Godin fan who'd heard Godin rave about it. We're both writers; I'm a newbie, but Mom earns six figures with her writing. Creativity is vital to what we do, and we represent both ends of the experience spectrum.

Neither of us cared for this book.

I made it through the whole thing (if nothing else, it's a fast read), but Mom handed it back halfway through. She said that the advice seemed to state the obvious (agreed), and she felt like in each chapter, the author merely repeated a point fifty different ways, instead of building a case for it (ditto).

Also, the author contradicts himself: ignore everybody, except for some people; keep your day job, but don't turn into a burnout wage slave; money doesn't matter, except when it does. Nuanced thinking is great, but it shouldn't muddy the message.

In the end, it's a blog post on steroids, and that's not good enough for a $24 hardcover book. The whole book can be reduced to pithy one-liners (some contradictory), and I expect more from print.

I wasn't crazy about the author's persona, either; Seth Godin defended MacLeod's profanity & sex references as brave, but they seemed superfluous. The condescension MacLeod directed at certain ex-colleagues & friends also rankled. He draws cartoons on the back of business cards. You'd think he'd know better than to make harsh judgments on people's lives & careers based on a lunch or chance encounter at a bar.

So, yeah. Not my favorite. Similar work that I found more useful: Stephen King's On Writing, Ira Glass on Storytelling (available on YouTube); John Gardener's On Becoming a Novelist (caustic, but smart); some of Daniel Pink's work.
Profile Image for Vaishali.
1,032 reviews262 followers
March 14, 2021
Pretty good stuff for such a short book :

The 40 Keys
1. Ignore everybody.

2. The idea doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be yours.

3. Put the hours in. Time, effort, and stamina are why 99% people don’t complete anything.

4. Good ideas have lonely childhoods.

5. If your business plan involves being discovered by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.

6. You are responsible for your own experience.

7. Everyone is born creative. Everyone was given crayons when they were little, but then they were taken away. One day, you want those crayons back.

8. Keep your day job.

9. Companies squelching creativity can no longer compete with companies fostering creativity.

10. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.

11. The more talented someone is, the less they need the props. Dump the fancy equipment; work more on your talent.

12. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd… avoid the crowd altogether. All existing business models are wrong. Find a new one.

13. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.

14. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.

15. Dying young is overrated. Don’t do drugs and alcohol... It's really stupid.

16. With success, learn where to draw the line between what you are willing to do vs. what you are not.

17. The world is changing. Be aware and change with it. Make sure you have a few good people whom you can trust. Avoid those who play it safe… they are extinction.

18. Merit can be purchased; passion can’t. The only people who can change the world are people who want to… and not everyone wants to.

19. Avoid the water-cooler gang. All they do is complain.

20. Sing in your own voice. It doesn’t matter how bad or good it is. Time waits for no one, so don’t make excuses. Just get on with it.

21. The choice of medium is irrelevant. Just do it.

22. It’s harder to sell out if nobody has bought in. Just do your thing. Diluting your product to satisfy the masses will just make the product cheesier.

23. Nobody cares. Do it for you.

24. Worrying about commercial vs. artistic craft is a waste of time.

25. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually. In fact, inspiration comes AFTER you start the boring scut work, and when you least expect it.

26. You have to find your own style. A Picasso always looks like a Picasso, and Pollack found his thing with splattered paint. It’s not the format that made their art great; it’s when the artist found his own voice immersed in a particular area. So find your signature style. Put your whole self into it, and you will surely find that voice.

27. Write from the heart. There is no silver bullet. There is only the love God gave you.
28. The best way to get approval is to not need it.

29. Power is never given, but always taken. People who are ready give off a different vibe than people who are not. Animals can smell fear … and the lack thereof. It’s not about becoming, it’s about doing. “The future belongs to the geeks; nobody else wants it.”

30. Whatever choice you make, the devil gets his due eventually. Selling out has its price… but not selling out has its price, too. Warhol sold out quite nicely, which didn't diminish his value as an artist one bit.

31. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it. “I no longer have feelings. I used to have them, but then I got scared of being poor.”

32. Remain frugal.

33. Allow your work to grow with you. Time goes by fast, make sure you have something visible to show for it.

34. Being poor sucks. Young people underestimate how competitive the world is and how important money is... and the world punishes them hard for this.

35. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs. Ensure that job makes money.

36. Enjoy obscurity while it lasts.

37. Start v/blogging. Repeat in multiple languages.

38. Meaning scales, people don’t. The size of the endeavor doesn’t matter, just so long as it means something to you.

39. When your dreams become reality, they're no longer your dreams. Make sure your destiny is worth the cost. Produce work that :
* you are proud of
* makes you a good living
* makes you exceed your limits
* gives people a lot of joy and value

40. None of this is rocket science:
* Work hard
* Keep at it
* Live simply and quietly
* Remain humble
* Stay positive
* Create your own luck
* Be nice and polite
* Enrich, simplify, repeat

Profile Image for Amy Suto.
Author 4 books11 followers
December 22, 2011
The premise of this book is simple: a self-important cartoonist with mediocre drawing skills rants about how awesome he is for 150 pages.

Just because he likes to draw (badly) on the back of business cards doesn't give him a free pass to write a watered down, uninspired perpetual blog post advising creative types when he does barely fits in the category himself.

There are a few lines of good advice here and there, but they are overshadowed by his repetitive internal ramblings about himself and his supercreativeandridiculoslygamechanging idea of drawing cartoons on a smaller scale.

This book is light, unsubstantial, and hardly worth your time.

Read "The Accidental Creative: How to be brilliant at a moment's notice" by Todd Henry instead.

That's a creativity how to guide done right. And it goes without the overflowing condescension and sexual references that "ignore everybody" is known for.
1 review1 follower
October 10, 2009
I hate this book and I hate myself for finishing it.

Evidently somebody (um, somebody named Seth Godin) told this guy who blogs poorly-drawn, unimaginatively-written cartoons that he's such a success and creative genius that he should write a how-to book on being more like him. Luckily for me he didn't have much to say so he used a lot of space putting in crappy cartoons—making it a mercifully short read.

His whole schtick is that his comic strips fit on the backs of business cards. I don't get it. Garfield isn't such a comedic genius of a cat because the shape of his cell is square...he's awesome because he hates Mondays so much!

Anywaste, lots of "don't give up and you'll one day have an idea as good as mine" and "people told me a long time ago that I should do something with my brilliant comics" and "I could have been way more successful but I decided not to sell out to the man and keep my day job even though I'm so prosperous I don't need to work."

Bitter cartoons. Self-congratulation. Writing that sucks instead of being awesome.

What a tool.

This book only gets 1 star because I can't give it fewer.
Profile Image for Emma Sea.
2,184 reviews1,065 followers
June 2, 2016
I enjoyed MacLeod's writing, and find his cartoons witty and just in my favorite kind of humor. I mean, quite a few are misogynistic, too, but still, I wish I'd read them before I got married so I'd known what I was getting into.

Not a deep read, but an entertaining one.

Profile Image for D.
495 reviews2 followers
June 26, 2017
Hugh's writing really resonates with me.

The price of being a sheep is boredom.
The price of being a wolf is loneliness.
Choose one or the other with great care.

Please go to bed with me 2.0

Big offers are a good thing, but personal sovereignty matters a whole lot more over the long run.

If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
The pain of making the necessary sacrifices always hurts more than you think it’s going to.
I know. It sucks. That said, doing something seriously creative is one of the most amazing experiences one can have in this lifetime. If you can pull it off, it’s worth it.

Wake up and tell me that you love me…

I’m not a loser. I just happen to like pleading for sex.

Hang out more with creative people, the freaks, the real visionaries. Avoid the dullards. Avoid the folk who play it safe. They can’t help you.

The market for something to believe in is infinite.

I’m not scared of commitment. I’m scared of you.

Write from the heart.

gaping void blog.
Profile Image for nananatte.
347 reviews113 followers
January 30, 2021
สั้น-ตลก-เปิดโลกว่า... คิดแบบนี้ก็ได้นะจ้ะ

วีเลิร์นเอามาพิมพ์ใหม่ในชื่อ "ช่างหัวคุณสิครับ"... อะไรทำนองนี้ ก็ยังแนะนำให้อ่านกันอยู่ค่ะ

ส่วนใครที่เป็นฟรีแลนซ์หรือทำงานสายสร้างสรรค์ เราเชื่อว่าอ่านเล่มนี้แล้วจะได้กำลังใจ แง่คิดดีๆ ให้หยิบเอาไปใช้ค่ะ
ถ้าจะให้ดี ควรอ่านเล่ม "ขโมยให้ได้อย่างศิลปิน" ด้วยค่ะ เล่มนั้นก็ดีจ้ะ :-)
Profile Image for Todd.
28 reviews15 followers
June 23, 2009
Hugh writes without apology. He's telling you how to keep that creative spark alive.

His 39 tips (really 40) are all about defending your creative spirit and your right to have it. The tips are typically short, numbering no more than a few paragraphs each. A handful are longer where he relates personal experiences.

The book isn't meant to tell you think right and you'll win. It doesn't tell you the world will line up to help you succeed. This is not a law of attraction book. This book makes you feel like having a creative spark puts you in an eternal war. Beyond that, he tells you everyone has this spark, and most of the world is out to crush it.

Sounds a bit depressing but quite the contrary, it's uplifting and funny. It challenges you a bit though, and Hugh isn't afraid to use a rough word here are there to make his point.

Best takeaways? Keep your day job and apply force and focus to your creative endeavors.

I'm reminded by reading this book how few people challenge themselves in the creative area, but settle to just be another bystander in life.

Cheers Hugh. A fan.
Profile Image for Yousif Al Zeera.
236 reviews80 followers
September 16, 2017
*Not a deep book but a light book for the weekend.

*Hugh is a humorous/sarcastic cartoonist who draws on the back of business cards. Made his fame by doing this. The book sheds some light on his story and what we do to maintain our creativity spark. Came to know about Hugh through reading one of Seth Godin's books.

*The book contains some of his cartoons. Amusing, unfiltered, undiplomatic, direct, no zig zag, straight-to-the-point, unapologetic, strongly-worded, unconservative, non-conformist and original.
Profile Image for Jenny.
15 reviews107 followers
November 17, 2017
This book doesn't really share 40 keys to creativity, but rather 40 keys to live a life of creativity without getting discouraged. It's a simple and quick read without anything mind blowing, but I really appreciated the advices given because they were direct and sugarcoat-free. As someone who doubts her ability to be creative and therefore often gives up on projects midway even with the rare courage to start at them, this book nudged me in the most helpful way and I am grateful for it. This reminded me of the time I used to spend ridiculous amount of hours writing silly stories and playing horrendously on my mom's piano with zero interest in sharing and gaining approval, but purely because they were fun, rewarding, challenging, and my own. Puberty and involuntarily learning to be self-conscious did more damage than I thought, but I'm claiming my freedom to unapologetically scribble awful pictures with crayons again.

However, this book had several flaws. One of them is that it is contradictory. The first half of the book hammers on the importance of creating art just for the sake of creating art and how you should never let it be bound to monetary value. Then the second half tries to advise how you can sell it or build a business with it. I also could tell from the examples of his back-of-the-business-card art that I am not an audience for his cartoon. I enjoyed a few of them, but not most. I wished that the cartoons included in the book synced with the message of the book instead of random ones from his portfolio that he liked, especially because half of the book was taken to display them and I picked up his book for his advice on creativity, not his cartoon. And I found his demeaning tone towards people who didn't succeed as they had hoped or those who managed to achieve their dream to find out that it actually make them unhappy quite uncomfortable and annoying. Another thing. The author repeats himself a lot throughout the already a short book. Especially about how how he drew on the back of business cards.

But as I shared in the beginning, this was a good and timely read for me. I appreciated the stress on hard work and realistic expectations to have no expectations as well, which I strangely found to be more encouraging than the opposite. At the end, I could drop the things I didn't like about the book, sort out the contradictions in my own way, and walk away with many simple and helpful advices.
Profile Image for Bonnie.
418 reviews6 followers
June 27, 2012
Most all of MacLeod's 39 ideas are spot on. Half, if not more of MacLeod's 39 ideas and their explanation, had the f-bomb in them. I was going to count them, just for curiosity's sake, but decided against it (because I actually don't have too much time on my hands). For such a creative guy, I would have preferred that he came up with more unique words than using the f-word, time and time again. Very disappointing in that aspect. Imagine if this review had friggin' this and freaking' that every other sentence. Boh-ring! Much of his cartooning involved drinking or sex, which for me personally, I didn't get the connection of it to creative thinking, which I don't think he meant to make a connection to but to entertain, and I'm guessing some audiences it did, however for me, it detracted from the point that he was making. I get that for him, that's his unique style of cartooning.

After all this, he still had some very sound advice. I'm not a starving artist, so I will not necessarily take them to heart as another might, but many ideas were transferable to whatever ideas/plans/dreams the artist/creator in each of us has and wants to turn into a reality. He has definitely converted me to the importance of blogging if you have an interest at all in sharing the creator within with those creators without, like-minded and not-so-like minded alike.
Profile Image for Linda.
22 reviews16 followers
January 13, 2011
It took me two hours to read and it was a very pleasant read. Deep in your heart you knew most of this and Hugh put it on paper, in his words and with his cartoons. It’s not a guide nor is it telling you what will happen if you do x. It’s bringing you down to earth and making you feel good about the way you are, helping you to not think about what other people think about your “art” too much. It shows nicely the power a blogger can have because he's not dependent on anyone to bring his thoughts out into the world.

On the train a very sweet Afro-American woman sat next to me while I was reading this book. Before she had to leave, she asked shyly if I could write down the author and the name of this book for her. She had been reading the book with me and stressed that she liked it very much so far. That’s better than any review, right Hugh? Rock on.
Profile Image for chantel nouseforaname.
628 reviews312 followers
May 28, 2021
This dude is so miserable. I kinda loved it. Sometimes you just have to listen to a crotchety middle-aged man begrudgingly give you advice that you can actually use.

Hugh MacLeod is hilarious. I listened to this book on Scribd.com, you can listen to it here. The narrator William Dufris nails the attitude of the text.

MacLeod’s ideology rings factual. His analogies are all over the place and he says around his 10th point — “My advice is you don’t really need my advice. Know that everyone has their own Mount Everest to climb.”

He says you don’t need any fancy bullshit to be creative. Be innovative and question how much freedom your art gets you. Accept the pain of your creativity. Don’t compare yourself to others. Stay away from drugs, you’re not Jimi Hendrix, Bukowski or Charlie Parker. Etc. He also shares some priceless wisdom: Art suffers the moment people start to pay for it.

He puts forth a lot of good advice that most people already know, but sometimes or seldom listen to. It’s the delivery that makes this book work. His delivery is absurd, quirky and borderline obscene. He reminds me of one of my friends.

There were a few oddly timed jokes I thought were inappropriate and ridiculous. I went and downloaded the book and realized that he was just reading the jokes off the silly cards he illustrated back in the 90s. Fun times.
Profile Image for Sudha Shashwati.
21 reviews79 followers
November 15, 2020
I don't give 1 star ratings. To be honest I don't remember if I have ever given a 1 star rating to any book, but most probably I have not. There is always something I can take away, no matter how small, to salvage the disappointment. This one however was such an obscene waste of time, money and paper that I'm upset with myself for my foolish optimism and some strange compulsion that compel me to keep reading until the last page.

Some good books may come out of blog posts, but not every popular blog should be allowed to become a book. Things that are obvious may appear okay in a blog post whose readers most probably don't have a great attention span anyway and are looking for something crisp. But you can't put together 40 such posts and call it a book! I honestly learnt not a single thing by reading it.

Also, all the content in this book can be figured out from the contents page; the reader learns absolutely nothing more by going through the chapters. A single point is reiterated in a hundred ways accompanied by badly drawn, snarky cartoons. That's all there is in it.
Profile Image for Ulina.
148 reviews20 followers
March 3, 2014
The book was published in 2009 but the tone of the book sounded like it was published in the 1980's. This may be because he worked in advertising (which I feel like he mentioned once every 3 paragraphs). Advertising, especially in NYC may still have that persona where they only care about sex, money and social status. He mentions sex a lot in this book. He gives off the tone that woman are just objects. He ends almost every chapter or section with a reference to sex. Maybe his target audience is men in their early 20's because he sounds like he is trying to be frank and down to earth, by coming off as not really caring and cursing.
Instead of using commas, he likes to repeat the same sentence 5 times and just change one word. I get that he is trying to bring emphasis to what he wrote but he used that tactic about 6 times. I found it annoying after a while.
But, if you can get past all of that, the underlying meaning of what he was trying to convey is helpful.
Profile Image for Daniel.
142 reviews14 followers
July 4, 2009
I was pretty disappointed with this book. MacLeod doesn't actually build an argument in this book, but instead seems to repeat the same points in each chapter. The observations he makes, while contradictory, seem a little obvious to me, but I may not be his intended audience, and there is something to be said for reminding people of the obvious truths that the daily grind has made them forget.

Don't get me wrong, MacLeod is not wrong, far from it. It's just the book does not do a very good job of supporting his argument in a compelling way. I hate to say this, but I wish I had taken a look at it in the bookstore before downloading it to my Kindle (the sample chapters for this book in the Kindle store was just the Table of Contents). Had I taken a closer look before hand, I probably wouldn't have spent the $10 on it.
Profile Image for Tanan.
215 reviews25 followers
April 3, 2021
#ช่างหัวคุณสิครับ! หนังสือหัวขบถที่จะทำให้คุณหลุดกรอบจากการเลิกตามคนอื่น และสร้างสรรค์ไอเดียของตัวเอง
ผู้เขียนเป็นนักโฆษณาที่มีงานอดิเรกคือวาดการ์ตูนเล���นหลังนามบัตรขณะนั่งอยู่ตามผับบ้าง สถานที่ท่องเที่ยวบ้าง จากนั้นก็เอาภาพการ์ตูนเหล่านี้ไปลงในบล็อกที่ชื่อ gapingvoid.com ซึ่งมีผู้เข้าเยี่ยมชมเดือนละกว่า 2 ล้านคน

เนื้อหาในเล่มฉีกขนบ อิสระเป็นตัวของตัวเอง การ์ตูนในเล่มก็บ้าบอ ปากร้าย สร้างสรรค์ เฉียบคม คือพี่แกวาดทุกอย่าง เขียนทุกอย่างที่อยากเขียน เล่มนี้เคยพิมพ์จำหน่ายแล้วในชื่อ "มองมุมกลับ ลับคมความคิด" จากสนพ.วีเลิร์นนี่ล่ะ แต่ด้วยเหตุใดที่เปลี่ยนชื่อนำมาขายใหม่อันนี้ไม่ทราบ แต่เอาเป็นว่าถ้ายังไม่เคยอ่านก็อ่านได้
101 reviews15 followers
January 5, 2017
چهل تا نکته در مورد خلاقیت توی این کتاب بیان شده که خب بیشترش ربطی به خود خلاقیت نداره. یعنی در حواشی خلاقیت قرار می گیرن. و بیشتر به چگونگی دنبال کردن ایده های خلاقانه و هنرمندانه و موانع پیش رو و تنظیم سبک زندگی در همین راستا مربوط می شن. این کتاب به درد کسایی می خوره که بخوان یک ایده رو پیاده کنن، خواه این ایده تجاری باشه یا هنری و یا ورزشی و هر چیز دیگه. بعد هر نکته هم یکی دو تا از کارهای خود نویسنده رو آورده که جالبن. مختصر و مفید.
Profile Image for Srinivasan Nanduri.
363 reviews10 followers
May 30, 2021
Probably not a book material. Nevertheless a few advises taken.

Good ideas come with a heavy burden, which is why so few people execute / can handle them.

1. Ignore everybody.
2. The idea that you want to work on doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours. The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.
Your idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours alone. The more the idea is yours alone, the more freedom you have to do something really amazing.
3. Put the hours in. Any one more successful than you in the industry you come from, work harder than you
4. Good ideas have lonely childhoods.
5. If your business plan depends on suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
6. You are responsible for your own experience.
7. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. As years progress they are replaced with pens, geometry scales etc
8. Keep your day job.
The creative person basically has two kinds of jobs: One is the sexy, creative kind. Second is the kind that pays the bills. Sometimes the task at hand covers both bases, but not often.
It’s balancing the need to make a good living while still maintaining one’s creative sovereignty.
9. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.
10. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don’t make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.
11. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
12. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
13. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
14. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.
15. Dying young is overrated.
16. The most important thing a creative person can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do from what you are not.
It is this red line that demarcates your sovereignty; that defines your own private creative domain. What crap you are willing to take, and what crap you’re not. What you are willing to relinquish control over, and what you aren’t. What price you are willing to pay, and what price you aren’t.
Art suffers the moment other people start paying for it. The more you need the money, the more people will tell you what to do. The less control you will have. The more bullshit you will have to swallow. The less joy it will bring. Know this and plan accordingly.
When I see somebody “suffering for their art,” it’s usually a case of their not knowing where that red line is.
17. The world is changing.
In order to navigate the New Realities you have to be creative - not just within your particular profession, but in everything. Your way of looking at the world will need to become ever more fertile and original.
Avoid the folk who play it safe. They can’t help you anymore. Their stability model no longer offers that much stability. They are extinct; they are extinction.
18. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t. The only people who can change the world are people who want to. And not everybody does.
19. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.
20. Sing in your own voice.
21. The choice of media is irrelevant.
22. Selling out is harder than it looks.
23. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
24. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.
It’s not about whether Tom Clancy sells truckloads of books or a Nobel Prize winner sells diddly-squat. Those are just ciphers, external distractions. To me, it’s about what you are going to do with the short time you have left on this earth. Different criteria altogether. Frankly, how a person nurtures and develops his or her own “creative sovereignty,” with or without the help of the world at large, is in my opinion a much more interesting subject.
25. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.
26. You have to find your own shtick.
27. Write from the heart.
28. The best way to get approval is not to need it.
29. Power is never given. Power is taken.
30. Whatever choice you make, the Devil gets his due eventually.
31. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.
32. Remain frugal.
Part of being creative is learning how to protect your freedom. That includes freedom from avarice.
33. Allow your work to age with you. You become older faster than you think. Be ready for it when it happens.
34. Being Poor Sucks. The biggest mistake young people make is underestimating how competitive the world is out there.
35. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.
36. Savor obscurity while it lasts. Once you “make it,” your work is never the same.
37. Start blogging
38. Meaning scales. People don’t
39. If you are successful, it will never come from the direction you predicted. Same is true if you fail
40. Condensed book - I work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quickly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Create your own luck. Be nice. Be polite.

Some quotes
1. I let Jesus into my heart. Now the bastard won’t fucking leave
2. The price of being the cheapest boredom. The price of being your old is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care
Profile Image for Hòa Phạm.
109 reviews33 followers
December 9, 2017
Đôi khi nên phớt lờ mọi thứ và bơ đi mà sống :)))
Profile Image for Susan.
596 reviews78 followers
December 2, 2022
While I do think this may have a certain amount of beneficial advice, I also stopped reading in disgust three quarters of the way in and that says something too.

Hugh MacLeod takes a blunt, unvarnished approach to his advice that can be welcome to creatives that need a swift kick on the pants. There's something to be said about just DOING and not getting in your own way with magical thinking or excuses.

That said, I found the actual excerpts of his business card doodle (experiment? project?) distracting (and detracting, honestly) from some of his better points, feeling a bit like toxic masculinity in illustrated form. It's amost impressive how this sentiment can be so efficiently represented in a single line of text and accompanying scribble. These cartoons are where womens' only role is as sex vessels and any expression of feelings gets treated with contempt. I pushed through and the "chick blogger" cartoon in chapter 21 was the last straw where I had to ask myself why I was insisting on continuing to read a book of someone who clearly doesn't have any respect for my kind.

So. My biggest takeaway here was that MacLeod is truly the embodiment and confirmation of his own advice. If this guy with his pre-Me Too yesteryear views on male-female dynamics can get a book published full of doodles on business cards and cynical coffee mug one-liners, there is absolutely no reason why you should stop yourself from creating anything. And if that allows anyone to give themselves permission and realize that the biggest difference between them and the author is that MacLeod had the audacity to just do the thing, then it has accomplished something.
Profile Image for rumbledethumps.
321 reviews
December 16, 2022
' "Your book has thirteen chapters,” I say. “Voilà! That’s thirteen blog posts. One chapter per blog post. Put it online, and you’ll have a book offer within six months. Trust me.” '

That quote pretty much sums up this book, except it's 40 blog posts, instead of 13.

In theory, I'm not opposed to the blog-post-listicle book, this one just didn't do it for me. Too many "I-stories" (where the pronoun "I" is used far too often), combined with obvious observations phrased as wisdom, and it just felt bland. A few of the forty were OK, but not enough to make it hit with me.
Profile Image for Kate.
Author 15 books822 followers
November 4, 2022
This easy to digest book combines little comics (the author's main business is comics drawn on the back of business cards) and words of wisdom about the creative process, the artist life, and what advice not to take. The creativity aspect encompasses both writing and art, much like Elizabeth Gilbert's Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear. Overall the advice was short and funny, and it's a nice bit of inspiration to take some chances and think outside the box.
Profile Image for CJ.
421 reviews
August 2, 2020
Meh. It was a quick read, but not too enjoyable. If you need it - get it from the library.
Profile Image for Lily.
57 reviews
September 13, 2021
2.5 stars. Overall this book made some interesting points on how to keep the creative spark alive, but the author’s tone came across as condescending at times. As some other reviews have stated, the advice itself was also rather obvious.
Profile Image for Justin Johnson.
Author 1 book7 followers
July 21, 2022
As an author poet creative type this book spoke to me in many different ways. He reminded me that being an artist is never easy. One has to remind themselves why they are doing this. Sure being paid is great but was it worth turning a hobby into a job? Was it worth your work being compromised to satisfy clients? In this content driven era I and others fall into this trap of "making it" that we lose sight on why we were making it in the first place. Hugh has a very nonchalant and funny writing style that keeps you engaged throughout the whole book. A quick and simple read that every person thats a active creative should read.
Profile Image for Mathieu Boumal.
4 reviews1 follower
January 30, 2023
Refreshing, sometimes controversial takes on career and creativity. Must read if you're experiencing changing desires after years of wanting the same thing.
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