Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity

A couple of months ago Mary Sobon of Management Solutions Group recommended for me to read Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod. Mary told me that it is a book that all freelancers should read.

I decided to pick up the book on Mary's recommendation.  I purchased my copy from Amazon's Kindle store.  You can purchase the book at your local book store or on Amazon Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity.

Hugh MacLeod is an amazing cartoonist and author. Hugh started out his professional career as a freelance copy writer in NYC with a 10 day gig at a major Manhattan firm which later turned into a full time gig. In his first couple of weeks in NYC he started doodling on the backs of business cards. Hugh found it to be a great medium for his art because it was pocketable and could be taken anywhere at a size of 2.5x3in.

MacLeod eventually took his cartoons and and started a blog with them. With each cartoon was a pithy saying, insights, and a healthy dose of humor. The blog is still active although MacLeod no longer post new cartoons on the blog. His blog is You can still get new cartoons from MacLeod if you sign up for his e-mail list.
I call MacLeod an author because I view him as an amazingly talented writer. He takes writing to an art form. With an incredibly few number of words he paints amazing clear and vivid pictures of reality that are augmented with his cartoons.

Ignore Everybody is a collection of 40 cartoons and written sections to go with them. The book started out as a series on his blog called "How to be Creative" the book is a tamed down version of his original blog series. The book still might be a bit racy for corporate stiffs or small children. Nevertheless, it is one of my favorite books on marketing/creativity/leadership.

I had a few big take-aways from the book. The first big take away is ignore everybody, the second sex and money, and third the world is tougher than most young people think. When MacLeod says ignore everybody he is not saying to just write everyone off. He is saying that when you have that bright ah-ha moment that you are going to get some terrible advice from those around you. You have to treat the idea as your baby. You can't sell out the idea you have and keep true to you idea. He also points out that great ideas change the dynamics of relationships. The second take-away is sex and money. MacLeod says that everyone does what they do for two reasons: either sex or money. You have to put bread on the table and that is the stuff you do for money, but you also have to have your creative side that you do not for money but because it is your passion or sex to you. Take-away three is that the creative world is a lot harder than we think when we are young and ideallic. MacLeod is not saying to you to not go out and do it, he is providing inspiration.

This is a photography focused blog. I think that every photographer should read this book. It gives amazing insights to the creative professional. In the world of commercial art we sometimes forget the fact that we are indeed artist. We are artist with our own vision. The art director is not the end all and be all of the creative endeavor on set. As creatives we have to have our own vision and ultimately that is why we get hired. This is a book that can make you think about your marketing, photography, creativity, and leadership in new and different ways.

I will fully recommend this book to anyone that wants to read it. So go check it out!

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