This book is for anyone who's weighed down by the knowledge that you're meant to be doing something more or something different than you are; for anyone who is painfully aware of problems unsolved or art not yet created. Here are 40 of my favorite quotes, the ones that help spur me forward when the Resistance rises up.
"Most people have been brainwashed to believe that their role is to copy edit the world, not to design it."
"Good work is easier than ever to find. What matters now is: Trust. Permission. Remark-ability. Leadership. Stories that spread. Humanity. Connection. Compassion. Humility."
"Correct is fine. But it's better to be interesting."
"Your job isn't to do your job. Your job is to decide what to do next."
"You can do better than the crowd. You can seek your own approval."
"Part of you...is painfully aware of your potential. This part of you seeks respect, values achievement, and knows, truly knows, that you are capable of more than you've done so far. The other part of your brain is afraid...this part of your brain has been given a free ride by the industrialists in power. We have been brainwashed by school, indoctrinated by industrial propaganda, and mesmerized by popular media into believing that compliance is not only safe, but right and necessary."
"If not enough people doubt you, you're not making a difference."
"Our preconceptions and our fear conspire to make it difficult to see the world as it is."
"The difficult part of seeing is setting aside what you're sure you already know."
"Without interpreting to fit your existing world view, make note of the things you see. In real time. So you can consider and act."
"We see what we believe."
"Ask questions. Learn to see through others' eyes."
"Learn to make something. Once you know how to make something, you see it differently. You go from spectator to participant."
"You don't need a guru. You need experience. You need to be able to recognize for yourself when your art is good."
"Knowledge...is necessary, but not enough."
"Changing the way you see and changing the assumptions you bring to the audience are the short cuts to making better art."
"Making art takes precision. Patience to notice, track, make, and measure precision adjustments to always be improving."
"The ones who make it onto our radar, the ones who have made an impact, have chosen to live a life of standing out, not fitting in...our culture and our economy have just recently deemed these makers, and shippers, and ruckus makers, insiders. And to be part of it you have to be willing to stand apart from it first. "
"Your generosity is more important than your perfection. Don't compare your worst to everyone else's best. You're the only one who's seen everything you've done. You can choose what's your best and to focus on that."
"Write like you talk -- often."
"Be your own boss and teacher."
"The future belongs to individuals who choose to become great bosses and teachers (of themselves)."
"Hire yourself. Hire someone to do what you're doing. Force yourself to make a bigger better future."
(on turning your job into art.) "Learn. Experiment. Carve out time for the big work. Not just the mundane. Report honestly on what you're doing and what you're learning."
"Pick which rules to break and embrace the rest."
"A meeting is a temporary collection of people waiting for someone to take responsibility so everyone else can go back to work."
"We get better at what we practice. What are you practicing?"
"Your opinion about a particular employee's new idea is not nearly as important as how you act in the face of the things he does that don't work or might not work."
"Life without a bag of unsolved problems is a lot lighter and you can get a lot more done"
(Idea) Create your own focus group. Include 3 artists, each in different fields and working towards different goals. Push each other. Meet every two weeks. Say what you did or didn't make.
"Given the choice, we have no choice. We have to create and we have to own it."
"Everyone feels like a fraud...this is part of the human condition. Accept it. Now what?" "There is work that only you can do."
"Artists break limiting rules all the time. Selectively and on purpose."
"All important work is ridiculous until it makes a difference."
"Only when you make art that isn't for everyone do you have the chance to connect with someone. And when you connect with someone, amazingly, you increase the chances that you have made something that many will want."
"Art is vulnerability without the prospect of shame...if we allow shame to be part of our vulnerability, we allow it to destroy our work...we can't make you feel shame without your participation."
"Pick yourself. Then choose your audience...your goal as an artist is to make art that moves the audience of your choice...get better at connecting with your audience and ignore the rest."
"Make a list of things you can't talk about. These are the things you feel Shame about."
"You have to let people not respect you...part of your hard work is to shun the nonbelievers."
"We built it so you could do what you were capable of. Without apology and without excuse. Go."
Want to learn more?
Read or listen to The Icarus Deception (the audio version is read by Seth Godin himself) and let me know what you think of it!