An engaging road map for artistic expression that successfully explores the necessary routes while supporting those who are...

WILD IDEAS

CREATIVITY FROM THE INSIDE OUT

A debut self-help guide offers an introspective and encouraging analysis of the creative process.

This manual argues that many steps are necessary to produce a work of art—whether it’s a novel, a painting, or a performance—but those procedures are often minimized or overlooked when planning a project: “Our culture’s obsession with fame and fortune teaches us to value the products that result from creative acts more than the process itself.” Wild aims to rectify this oversight by explaining the elemental stages of a work to help artists who may be stuck at any point along the way. The underlying thesis is that the creative urge is a universal life force that demands expression: “A voice of inspiration inside each of us struggles to be heard.” The book takes the reader through an entire production cycle, breaking it into sections that dissect the process from philosophical, spiritual, and psychological perspectives. Some of the elements discussed include recognizing inspiration, overcoming obstacles, and knowing when to compromise on an artistic vision and when to stand firm. Each part ends with a series of penetrating questions for self-examination. In these pages, Wild uses an effective mix of research, quotations, and observations gleaned from clients she’s worked with as a creativity expert and life coach as well as the ups and downs she encountered getting her book written and published. Her tone is honest and sincere, with insights—such as “If you want to improve the quality of your work, separate your self-worth from the piece you have made”—that come across as authentic and hard-won. This volume reads like a personalized, guided tour of the creative process, including practical planning advice as well as warnings about unanticipated roadblocks. The intimate, first-person narration speaks directly to the reader, counseling those in the throes of creation to stick to their artistic goals rather than get thrown off track by doubts or the rigors of the projects.

An engaging road map for artistic expression that successfully explores the necessary routes while supporting those who are taking the trip. 

Pub Date: Feb. 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-0-9968105-0-0

Page Count: 326

Publisher: Standing Place Press

Review Posted Online: April 21, 2017

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2017

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The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

THE LAWS OF HUMAN NATURE

A follow-on to the author’s garbled but popular 48 Laws of Power, promising that readers will learn how to win friends and influence people, to say nothing of outfoxing all those “toxic types” out in the world.

Greene (Mastery, 2012, etc.) begins with a big sell, averring that his book “is designed to immerse you in all aspects of human behavior and illuminate its root causes.” To gauge by this fat compendium, human behavior is mostly rotten, a presumption that fits with the author’s neo-Machiavellian program of self-validation and eventual strategic supremacy. The author works to formula: First, state a “law,” such as “confront your dark side” or “know your limits,” the latter of which seems pale compared to the Delphic oracle’s “nothing in excess.” Next, elaborate on that law with what might seem to be as plain as day: “Losing contact with reality, we make irrational decisions. That is why our success often does not last.” One imagines there might be other reasons for the evanescence of glory, but there you go. Finally, spin out a long tutelary yarn, seemingly the longer the better, to shore up the truism—in this case, the cometary rise and fall of one-time Disney CEO Michael Eisner, with the warning, “his fate could easily be yours, albeit most likely on a smaller scale,” which ranks right up there with the fortuneteller’s “I sense that someone you know has died" in orders of probability. It’s enough to inspire a new law: Beware of those who spend too much time telling you what you already know, even when it’s dressed up in fresh-sounding terms. “Continually mix the visceral with the analytic” is the language of a consultant’s report, more important-sounding than “go with your gut but use your head, too.”

The Stoics did much better with the much shorter Enchiridion.

Pub Date: Oct. 23, 2018

ISBN: 978-0-525-42814-5

Page Count: 580

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: July 31, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2018

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Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better...

EVERYTHING IS F*CKED

A BOOK ABOUT HOPE

The popular blogger and author delivers an entertaining and thought-provoking third book about the importance of being hopeful in terrible times.

“We are a culture and a people in need of hope,” writes Manson (The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, 2016, etc.). With an appealing combination of gritty humor and straightforward prose, the author floats the idea of drawing strength and hope from a myriad of sources in order to tolerate the “incomprehensibility of your existence.” He broadens and illuminates his concepts through a series of hypothetical scenarios based in contemporary reality. At the dark heart of Manson’s guide is the “Uncomfortable Truth,” which reiterates our cosmic insignificance and the inevitability of death, whether we blindly ignore or blissfully embrace it. The author establishes this harsh sentiment early on, creating a firm foundation for examining the current crisis of hope, how we got here, and what it means on a larger scale. Manson’s referential text probes the heroism of Auschwitz infiltrator Witold Pilecki and the work of Isaac Newton, Nietzsche, Einstein, and Immanuel Kant, as the author explores the mechanics of how hope is created and maintained through self-control and community. Though Manson takes many serpentine intellectual detours, his dark-humored wit and blunt prose are both informative and engaging. He is at his most convincing in his discussions about the fallibility of religious beliefs, the modern world’s numerous shortcomings, deliberations over the “Feeling Brain” versus the “Thinking Brain,” and the importance of striking a happy medium between overindulging in and repressing emotions. Although we live in a “couch-potato-pundit era of tweetstorms and outrage porn,” writes Manson, hope springs eternal through the magic salves of self-awareness, rational thinking, and even pain, which is “at the heart of all emotion.”

Clever and accessibly conversational, Manson reminds us to chill out, not sweat the small stuff, and keep hope for a better world alive.

Pub Date: May 14, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-06-288843-3

Page Count: 288

Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: April 1, 2019

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