Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

Ignore Everybody And 39 Other Keys to Creativity was a product of the late 2000s when blog-post-turned-into-a-book was a hip phenomenon. But that’s not to say this is a bad book, MacLeod has penned 40 pretty smart lessons in creativity culled from his life, illustrated with his quirky cartoons on business cards, which was his big idea that propelled a (self-admitted) middling wannabe Madison Avenue account executive into a blogger worthy of a publishing contract.
A few of the 40 lessons that I thought were worthy of note:

  • Ignore everyone. When it comes to a great original idea, it’s always resisted by others because a truly great idea alters the power relationship, and friends and colleagues feel threatened by change and will on impulse resist the idea.
  • The idea doesn’t have to be big, it just has to be yours. The sovereignty of your idea will inspire others more than the idea itself (eg scribbling one-frame cartoons on the backs of business cards).
  • Nobody cares. Do it for yourself. The financial reward may come later, but the creative reward is immediate.
  • Write from the heart. Readers can tell when you don’t.
  • Sing in your own voice. Bob Dylan can’t sing or play guitar worth a damn, maybe that’s why his song writing is so good. Turner couldn’t paint people, so maybe that’s why he made his landscapes incredible. Make your weaknesses your strengths.

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No. 7 of 50 books I intend to read and review in 2022.

I’m Patrick Sherriff, an Englishman who survived 13 years working for newspapers in the US, UK and Japan. Between teaching English lessons at my conversation school in Abiko, Japan, I write and illustrate textbooks for non-native speakers of English, release Hana Walker mystery novels, short stories, paint, sketch and write essays and a monthly newsletter  highlighting good writing in English, often about about Japan, art, crime fiction and teaching.