Book Review - Ignore Everybody


Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod
I really enjoyed this little book. I first listened to it on a long drive and when I got back home promptly ordered a hard copy of the book for reference and reminders. It is short, sweet and to the point at 157 pages with a lot of illustrations.

There are a lot of books about creativity and motivation out there but most of them don’t seem to be based in reality. The reality that a lot of artist have day jobs, the reality is that you have to work your ass off if you really want something bad enough. Don’t get me wrong some of these other books are good but as a working artist I can’t always subscribe to the idea that if you ask the universe or say your mantras everyday that everything you want will come to you. You also need to put in the work.

MacLeod’s book is based in reality. He talks about putting in the work, commercial vs. artistic and many other relevant ideas. There are so many little gems in this book. One of my favorite keys is 25 – Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually. Inspiration precedes the desire to create, not the other way around.

Below are his 39 keys to creativity and you can read 25% of the book on his blog
1. Ignore everybody.
2. The idea doesn’t have to be big. It just has to be yours.
3. Put the hours in.
4. If your biz plan depends on you suddenly being “discovered” by some big shot, your plan will probably fail.
5. You are responsible for your own experience.
6. Everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten.
7. Keep your day job.
8. Companies that squelch creativity can no longer compete with companies that champion creativity.
9. Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb.
10. The more talented somebody is, the less they need the props.
11. Don’t try to stand out from the crowd; avoid crowds altogether.
12. If you accept the pain, it cannot hurt you.
13. Never compare your inside with somebody else’s outside.
14. Dying young is overrated.
15. 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, and what you are not.
16. The world is changing.
17. Merit can be bought. Passion can’t.
18. Avoid the Watercooler Gang.
19. Sing in your own voice.
20. The choice of media is irrelevant.
21. Selling out is harder than it looks.
22. Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
23. Worrying about “Commercial vs. Artistic” is a complete waste of time.
24. Don’t worry about finding inspiration. It comes eventually.
25. You have to find your own schtick.
26. Write from the heart.
27. The best way to get approval is not to need it.
28. Power is never given. Power is taken.
29. Whatever choice you make, The Devil gets his due eventually.
30. The hardest part of being creative is getting used to it.
31. Remain frugal.
32. Allow your work to age with you.
33. Being Poor Sucks.
34. Beware of turning hobbies into jobs.
35. Savor obscurity while it lasts.
36. Start blogging.
37. Meaning Scales, People Don’t.
38. When your dreams become reality, they are no longer your dreams.
39. None of this is rocket science