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Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity Hardcover – June 11, 2009
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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?
Now his first book, Ignore Everyone, expands on his sharpest insights, wittiest cartoons, and most useful advice. A sample:
* 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.
* Dont try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether. Theres 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 doesnt 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 MacLeods 40 keys to creativity, you will be ready to unlock your own brilliance and unleash it on the world.
Amazon Exclusive: Author Hugh MacLeod on Having a Life
"William Dufris reads with humor and liveliness as he shares the author's argument for creativity in a complicated world and steps for personal creativity." ---AudioFile --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
I love "fun to read" leadership books versus the "utilitarian", "old fogy" "Harvard Business Review" style and this book is fun to read. I still read the utilitarian books...I just suffer through them. What makes this book good is the stories to illustrate points are the author's own.
Here are my top eight takeaways from Ignore Everybody.
1. The more original your idea is, the less good advice people will be able to give you.
2. Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships that is why good ideas are always initially resisted.
3. Your idea doesn't have to be big. It just has to be alone. The more the idea is yours alone, the more freedom you have to do something really amazing.
4. The price of being a sheep is boredom. The price of being a wolf is loneliness. Choose one or the other with great care.
5. Being good at anything is like figure skating - the definition of being good at it is being able to make it look easy. But it never is easy. Ever. That is what the stupidly wrong people conveniently forget.
6. Your job is probably worth 50 percent of what it was in real terms ten years ago. And who knows? It may very well not exist in five to ten years...Stop worrying about technology. Start worrying about people who trust you.
7. Part of being a master is learning to sing in nobody else's voice but your own...Put your whole self into it, and you will find your true voice. Hold back and you won't. Its that simple.
8. The biggest mistake young people make is underestimating how competitive the world is out there.
I recommend this book with one reservation. The captions in the cartoons are racy to say the least and not suited for the corporate environment or youthful readers. If the racy cartoons were toned down or removed I would have immediately sent a copy of this book to all of my clients. If they were toned down or removed it wouldn't be Hugh MacLeod's style either. So my clients will have to buy this book themselves.
Dr. James T. Brown PMP PE CSP
Author, The Handbook of Program Management
What separates a writer from an author? A rower from an oarsman? A comedian from a humorist?
Greatness in any field comes from taking a novel idea and pushing it to its logical conclusion, redefining the medium in the process.
Hugh doesn't teach you how to come up with your big idea, nor is the book a collection of theories on what makes something innovative. Rather, Hugh's rules teach a mindset conducive to pushing great ideas to their logical conclusions.
This book won't teach you how to paint, but if you're lucky you'll come away with the mental frame you need to avoid having the outside world crush your creativity. And if you really take its lessons to heart then hopefully, in the words of Steve Jobs, you'll ship.
Over the years I've sent the blog post that inspired this book to countless friends, and now that I've read the book itself I can't recommend it enough. I'd consider it a must-read for any creative who aspires to be an artist, not just some guy who lives in a loft and calls himself a writer.
But even if you don't aspire to become an artist, the book still has much to offer. In Hugh's own words, "This book is about becoming more 'creative' in one's work, whoever you may be. Or just useful advice for any one who aspires to undertake some creative or artistic journey."
While reading Ignore Everybody, one gets the sense that Hugh MacLeod would be far happier if only he were a little less intelligent. The existentially depressed cynic to Woody Allen's bumbling neurotic, the Hugh MacLeod character is sort of a cross between Dostoevsky and George Carlin. That is, the cartoons are really a collection of observations about people, their motivations, and the shallowness and meaninglessness of the human condition.
So, is Hugh truly an artist, someone who has pushed the medium forward? Yes. Two reasons:
1) Hugh is the only cartoonist that's figured out a way to draw his characters in a way that really lets you see into their souls. Hugh manages to nail the platonic ideals of the ditzy blonde, the pretending-to-be-an-artist-to-pick-up-girls guy, the too-full-of-himself corporate a**hole, etc. Considering that his cartoons are really only simple line drawings, it's amazing how well he's able to convey the characters' posture, dress, facial expression, body language, etc.
You can tell exactly what the character is like as an entire person just by looking at them, even if you cover up the text. Open up the Sunday comics and it quickly becomes clear that no other cartoonist can do this.
2) Hugh's second trademark is being able to write the one sentence that sums up the character's entire existence.
Man: "I can't decide what I want to be: A millionaire or an artist."
Woman: "Can't you just compromise? Become a millionaire artist or something..."
Viewed through the lens of the art, the human existence is nothing more than posturing and superficiality.
Does Hugh actually believe this? He says,
"I don't necessarily find the human condition shallow and meaningless per se. Just our egos and pride sometimes force us to act like it is. I think we're all strive to find meaning in life, we just don't always elect to take the high road when doing so; we're often far too willing to look for shortcuts."
All in all, this is a book that will change the way you think. In a good way. A very good way.
But what puts me off this book most of all is the weird, borderline sexist, embittered "nice guy" comics that litter the whole book. I get that those are his art form, but a lot of the times they don't actually fit with the content at all and are downright...uncomfortable. Little scribbles of women saying things like "how DARE you love me... i must punish you..." and guys saying things like "Why do they call it 'snatch'?" "'coz there ain't no honest way to get it" or "The worst thing about being a Beta Male is that all women secretly despise you."
.......yikes. If I met this dude and saw this stuff, it'd be a red flag telling me to run away as fast as I could. There's "kind of offensive but still hilarious" and then there's just... creepy and bitter. I don't know how much I want to take advice from a dude who insists that he still works in an office because he WANTS to and that's THE BEST WAY TO DO IT... and whose art feels like I'm reading the diary of a petulant and entitled 16 year old.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really easy and fun to read.Read more