Monday, April 22, 2013

Book Nook - Ignore Everybody

Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod:

I discovered this book because it was recommended by Austin Kleon, author of Steal Like an Artist.  I just loved that book, which I recently re-read.  Going along with Kleon's advice to learn from those people that inspired your hero, I wanted to check out a couple of his recommended books.  I can definitely trace a little bit of Austin Kleon in the pages of Hugh MacLeod's book.....very neat!

This is a quick little read - in fact, the book is really one of MacLeod's most popular blog posts, reincarnated into a longer book form.  Some tidbits from the book: merit can be bought, passion can't; avoid the watercooler gang; sing in your own voice; selling out is harder than it looks; nobody cares, do it for yourself.  These, and a bunch of others, offer the reader some advice on how to lead a creative life.

The author interjects a lot of his own story into the pages of this how-to-be-creative-manual.  He found himself in New York City as a young copywriter, and started doodling on the backs of business cards, not to try to make anything of it, but just for the fun of it.  His business card art took off, and now he does that and running his blog.  It's an inspiring story of how things can develop, especially those endeavors that you've put your whole self into.

The business card doodles are featured throughout the book, and while I appreciate the connection they give the reader with the author, I thought they were a little edgy.  This is probably the only how-to-be-creative book out there that you will hide from your children.  And, for the most part, they are unrelated to the content of the book. 

There are a couple of good ideas that I really appreciated from the book, I thought I'd share them:

-"The sovereignty you have over your work will inspire far more people than the actual content ever will.  How your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility, will give the work far more power than the work's objective merits ever will." (page 7)

-"I would find that extra hour or two in the day that belongs to nobody else but me, and I would make it productive.  Put the hours in, do it for long enough, and magical, life-transforming things happen eventually." (page 11)

-"If you have something to say, then say it.  If not, enjoy the silence while it lasts.  The noise will return soon enough.  In the meantime, you're better off going out into the big, wide world, having some adventures and refilling your well.  Trying to create when you don't feel like it is like making conversation for the sake of making conversation.  It's not really connecting....." (pages 100-101)

This book got me thinking a lot about creativity, what I'm doing right, what I'm doing wrong, and which direction I want to take my creative self.



  1. "Your own sovereignty inspires other people to find their own sovereignty, their own sense of freedom and possibility." That's what I'm trying to put into my children, in a nutshell.
    Thanks for another thought-provoking book review, Cheryl! I feel like you're stretching my world a bit :)

  2. Thanks so much chickadee! That part of the book really resonated with me, too. I've been noticing "sovereignty" in others' works since I read that. If you're interested in books on creativity, this is a good one, and I also highly recommend Austin Kleon's book Steal Like an Artist. So inspiring!