Jasmin Cheng's Reviews > The Gift: Creativity and the Artist in the Modern World

The Gift by Lewis Hyde
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it was amazing

I approached this book with some skepticism based on previous reviews. What I discovered was a long and thoughtful essay rather than a self-help guide. I think this would be a very disappointing self-help book. Especially if you're an artist looking for financial advice: do not read this for that!

Instead, The Gift is a beautifully written, thoughtfully cultivated essay on how human society has changed since tribalism to capitalism, and how this has affected the work of an artist. Hyde does not try to simplify this story with sweeping generalizations so common with non-fiction today. Instead, he weaves his idea intricately through the use of stories, fables, literary references and historical anecdotes.

Often, I would start a chapter thinking to myself, "What the hell is he going on about?", but layer by layer, his point would reveal itself, and it is far richer and rewarding than if he had spelled it all out in a sentence.

The Gift is a labour to read, but it is not dense or unfathomable. It is an expression, like poetry and like music. And the message that he had for us in 1983 is as resonant today as it has ever been: How do we reclaim the erotic nature of art in a logical market economy? The Gift begs us not to forget the true value of a gift given freely and replace it with the market value of a commodity.
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Reading Progress

February 26, 2016 – Shelved
February 26, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
October 15, 2016 – Started Reading
December 5, 2016 – Finished Reading

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