Book review: Ignore Everybody

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‘Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity’ is a book about creativity. It contains a collection of 40 tips on how to be creative. The book is an extension to the ‘How to be creative’ manifesto which the writer (Hugh MacLeod) published a few years ago, so a lot of content has already been available… but it’s still an inspiring book.

The way Hugh MacLeod describes creativity in his book is not in the sense of ‘talent’, but more in the sense of “how to do it”. The book assumes you already have what it takes to be creative (so if you don’t… you’re not going to learn it here). The 40 tips all revolve around getting into the mindset to create something which you believe is everything the world needs. You’ll read it in one evening and when you believe in this enlightening “holy shit” you’ll find a lot of inspiration and good thoughts.

Some advice

“Ignore Everybody” is the first, and perhaps the most important, piece of advice Hugh has to offer. When starting out on something new you, and only you, are responsible for getting things done. This also means taking responsibility for the idea that you’re trying to get out into this world. You need to trust your gut and not place too much value in what people are telling you what you should be doing.

“The more original your idea is, the less good advice other people will be able to tell you” – Hugh MacLeod

When starting out on something which has never been done before, the chances are that nobody will understand.

“Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships. That is why good ideas are always initially resisted” – Hugh MacLeod

Hugh reminds us to be on the lookout for “The Innovators Dilemma“.

One of his new tips is: “Savor obscurity while it lasts” the moment you make it. The moment you go from unknown schmuck to hot shit, the world will come knocking, demanding a piece of the action and there is no way to go back to obscurity. Once ‘fame’ happens you will have a whole lot of other responsibilities you have to deal with other then sustaining whatever you did to get you there in the first place. Responsibilities only slow you down when you’re trying to produce. Thats why a lot of famous people did their best work when they were relatively unknown.

Once you ‘make it’, your work is never the same.

The verdict

I liked it. Though the advice in the book is not exactly ‘new’, (his list on ‘How to be creative‘ has been around for some time now. The book is basically that list + 10 new insights.. but even so: the no-nonsense attitude and cartoons are great fun.

So why buy the book? Well I for one am a sucker for paper. It reads much better in a lazy chair in the sun then baggy eyed behind a screen. And if you’re new to MacLeod’s world then this will get you right into the good stuff. It’s also short, light, direct, funny and refreshingly practical.

A good read but nothing new.

Book details
Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity
author: Hugh MacLeod
publisher: Portfolio, 2009
details: 176 pages, hardcover

Martijn Gorree

I work as a Mad Scientist at Fabrique doing all sorts of evil experiments with code and brains.

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