Book review: Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity

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Of course, there is no one “true way” to make it as an artist, writer, filmmaker, or whatever it is your dream to be. Whether you follow the example of fame-and-glamour Warhol or poor-and-miserable Van Gogh doesn’t matter in absolute terms.


Hugh MacLeod was once a struggling copywriter. Then he started drawing cartoons on the back of business cards and now he has a successful blog and book and everyone adores him.  If that all sounds a bit random, that’s because it is. In fact, these are his exact words:
“The thing is, none of it happened on purpose. It just kinda sorta happened, one random event at a time.”
So by reading this book, you’re taking advice from someone whose career “just kinda sorta happened.” Keep that in mind.

I didn’t love this book. It read a little too much like a long (and not entirely well thought out) blog post. And I didn’t find it all that inspiring. I still managed to finish it, though. (In one sitting, I might add. It’s really short.)

Here’s how one Goodreads reviewer sums it all up:

“Just because he likes to draw (badly) on the back of business cards doesn’t give him a free pass to write a watered down, uninspired perpetual blog post advising creative types when he does barely fits in the category himself.”
(Yikes. You can read the full review here.)

But despite my overall impression of this book, a few of the keys to creativity are worth noting.

You are responsible for your own experience.
“Nobody can tell you if what you’re doing is good, meaningful, or worthwhile.”

Sing in your own voice.
“Don’t make excuses. Just shut the hell up and get on with it. Time waits for no one.”

Nobody cares. Do it for yourself.
“Everybody is too busy with their own lives to give a damn about your book, painting, screenplay, etc., especially if you haven’t finished it yet.”

Have you read Ignore Everybody? What’d you think?

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