books

Let's talk about Feck Perfuction

If you don’t know James Victore you’ve been missing out.

James is an artist, author, teacher, and designer who over his career has been shouting the importance of “be you” over all other things. Why? To quote James from his new book Feck Perfuction:

“Your voice is the story you put into everything you do. It’s what sets you apart and makes you and your work memorable. It frees you from following trends or begging for ideas, asking ‘What do they want?’ Now your most powerful tool is asking yourself, ‘What do I have to say?’”

It is this new book from James that I want to tell you about, because it’s a creative bible I literally could not put down once I started reading it.

The book is, again, Feck Perfuction. It’s a collection of short, “dangerous” insights James has collected over the course of his career, creating artwork featured everywhere from the Museum of Modern Art in New York to the Louvre in Paris, the Stedelijk in Amsterdam and the Library of Congress.

James is someone I have admired for many years, as his no-bullshit attitude and straight-forward approach to creating work that stands out is some of the most powerful insights and wisdom I have ever had the pleasure of following. So when he announced his new book I immediately jumped to get a copy. Thankfully James was kind enough to send me an advanced copy so I could read the whole book before it launched today.

I can say this honestly: if you’re a creative of any kind—artist, writer, designer, entrepreneur, inventor, whatever—you will want to read this book.

0ad38755dddb078efbe97c9da218ed94.jpg

James covers a lot of ground in the book, everything from how to find what matters most to you as a creative to how to the importance and value of failure.

“Failure is a test. Its purpose is to weed out those of us who don’t want things badly enough.”

The book is the kind you will want to not only buy in a physical format like paperback, but you’ll likely want to buy two copies (I just bought five). Simply because it’s the type of book you’ll want at home, at work or school, and maybe even just sitting in your travel bag or car.

You’re going to find yourself wanting to pick the book up any time you need a bit of creative spark, or motivation. And the book absolutely delivers every time you open it to a random page. James brings his years of experience and uniquely bold voice to the most critical elements of being an artist or creator.

Fear of the blank page? Uncertainty about leaving a reliable job for a more freeing one? Doubt you can make it in your chosen career? Feck Perfuction is the book you need to help get you through.

“Financial success is great, but the world doesn’t need more millionaires. We need more creative people who give a damn about something other than themselves.”

I promise you if you get this book you will not regret it. You will use it as I have over the past few days: as a guiding light in the dark, a creative spark when you’re low on energy. Go get the book.

And, as always, you can find even more books to light your creative fire in the Creative Something Library.

Disclaimer: this post was not paid for or endorsed in any way. This is my truly, honest impression of the book. If I didn’t like it, I wouldn’t have written this.



What the habits of geniuses remind us

Not long ago a good friend recommended a book about the habits of the greatest creatives, called Daily Rituals, written by Mason Currey.

The short book is fairly popular among artist and writing circles. For a seemingly fair reason: who wouldn’t want to learn how to be more like Charles Dickens, Andy Warhol, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, or Jane Austen? If we can learn the habits that may have led to their success, will that increase the likelihood of us being successful?

Unequivocally no. The habits of someone else will not make you more or less likely to follow their path to ideas or success. No more than living in the same city that Picasso lived in will make you a great artist. You cannot become Elon Musk by eating the same breakfast as he does. Studying the habits of Einstein will not make you a genius.

Without any doubt there is something to the habits of others that is fascinating and possibly insightful. If we can peek into trends in habits, or observe possible behaviors we may not have considered or been cognizant of in the past, we unlock new doors for our own habits.

What books like Daily Rituals teach us is less about which habits lead to success and more about which artists or inventors were capable of shaping their habits to better fulfill their personal needs and processes. Einstein slept few hours because he simply didn’t need the sleep. Benjamin Franklin would wake around 5 every morning to ask himself “What good shall I do this day?” and that worked wonders for him.

But in each case what these examples tell us is the same wisdom we must focus on in our daily explorations and practices: read of other’s habits, yes, but don’t expect their solutions to be yours too. Instead: find what works for you. Be diligent about trying new things and being open to change or opportunities. You may find those opportunities in books like Daily Rituals or Tim Ferriss’ Tools of Titans, but you may also simply need to go out and explore on your own.



Five books you should read to learn more about creativity

What five books should you read if you want to learn more about creativity but have no idea where to start?

I’ve read a lot of books centralized around the concept of creative thinking over the last ten years. Everything from the psychology or creativity to how some of histories greatest artists utilized it in their work and lives.

When I first started learning about creativity I had no idea what the word meant, but that’s changed quite a lot over the last few years of reading and researching and writing on the subject.

I’ve come to learn that creativity is our capacity to generate novel and useful ideas, and that it ultimately comes down to our perspective and what we do with it. To adjust our perspectives—and to expose ourselves to new ones—in ways that spur and inspire creativity, we must be open to new experiences, willing to take on new challenges and look outside of constraints, have grit and be motivated, and remain ever curious.

Within these five books I believe you can get everything you need to know about creativity at some primary level. In no particular order, here are the five books I’d recommend for anyone just starting out in the realm of creativity.

Creative Confidence by David M. Kelley and Tom Kelley.

The Kelley brothers have struggled for many years to learn what it takes to encourage people to think differently about the world and the work each of us do within it. In their book, the brothers emphasize a few key lessons about creativity that drive home the importance of play, curiosity, and confidence.

Ingenius by Tina Seelig

Described as “a crash course on creativity,” Stanford University’s Tina Seelig demystifies much of what creativity has been known for over the past few decades. She not only uses clear language to define creativity, but gives examples and actionable take-sways that make this book a must-have for creative thinkers.

Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson

Johnson’s book is a bit more technical than the others, but with the additional benefit of going into more of the science of ideas and creativity than other books.

Creative Intelligence by Bruce Nussbaum

Nussbaum takes a more scientific approach to what we know about the mind and how creativity bridges the gap between imagination and intelligence. The book is a bit more technically daunting, but is highly rewarding in that it will energize you to think creatively while giving you details on how to move forward.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

Undoubtedly one of the best books I’ve ever read on the topic of the creative act, Pressfield doesn’t get into much science or philosophy but does focus on some of the more magical and emotional aspects of getting creativity to work for you.

And that’s it! Five books I’d recommend to anyone just beginning to show an interest in creativity.



The Creativity Challenge, a new book

11741264_725403814255660_7171301095555059546_o.jpg

 

150 unique creative challenges to help you design, experiment, test, innovate, build, create, inspire, and unleash your creative genius.

That’s what my new book The Creativity Challenge is all about: trying small things in order to do more with your ideas and discover new ones in everything around you.

I’m excited to announce the book today because you can now pre-order it online, though you won’t get it until August when it start shipping.

I’ve been writing about creativity for eight years now, and The Creativity Challenge is a combination of everything I’ve learned. All smashed into 150 compelling challenges you can do alone, with a friend, or part of your school or business activities. The challenges are designed to be dynamic, so whether you want to become a better artist, writer, or photographer, start a business, do something adventurous on the weekend, or otherwise shake up your routine: these challenges are going to be a lot of fun.

If you’re up for the challenges this book will present you with – things like: creating blackout poems, acting out your opposite, two minutes doodle squares, designing a package for yourself, and many more – my hope is that you’ll pre-order today.

You can pre-order at Amazon or Barnes and Noble for just a few cents over $13.

What a deal, right?

By pre-ordering now, the publisher will know how many copies to make when the book launches in August. The more copies that are pre-ordered, the more likely it is we can help spread the word about the book, getting it into more hands of those who need it most: artists, writers, architects, poets, musicians, designers, entrepreneurs, bloggers, babysitters, teachers, you name it.

If you’re up for the challenge, I hope you’ll pre-order a copy of my upcoming book and share a link to this post with a friend or co-worker who you think might be up for the challenge as well.



New books added to A Creative Library

tumblr_n7oi80GnqF1qz7sw8o1_500.png

Looking for a new book to read? Creative Something has a stellar, curated list of creative thinking books called A Creative Library. New books have just been added.

Whether you’re an artist looking to find inspiration, a teacher looking for class material, or a writer hoping to improve your abilities, you’re going to find something worth reading in the library.

Explore all the books right here.