A book... written by a Greek guy... who calls himself "America's Master Communicator." Alright, I'll bite.
Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)
by George Lois
How I came upon this book
On my first visit to the Samuel French Theatre & Film Bookshop (which, if you're in entertainment and in L.A., you've got to go here at least once), I found this book on a display up front. I'm a person with talent; what is this damn good advice you speak of? Two pages in, and I knew this was a winner.
The gist of it
George Lois, who some call the original Mad Man (though he hates that label as he states Mad Men was nothing like working in advertising in the 60's), lists 120 ideas to help spur creative people to do better and more impactful work. A semi-autobiographical read, the fundamental point of the book is simply to go all out in whatever you do. Playing it safe leads to mediocrity, which leads to boring work. Don't do that. You gotta ignite, shock, provoke, and kick ass.
I have read this book many times, as I do find the "advice" extremely valuable. Some of the tips are common sense, but others are fresh, and the fact that Lois can connect almost every one of them to a personal experience he's had makes it all the more effective. It's one thing to hear a friend say, "Oh, you should do (blank)," and quite another for someone to say, "I did (blank) and this is what happened. Do (blank) too."
I re-read Damn Good Advice for this Book Club review and I breezed through it in a day. I couldn't put it down. Although, the first time I read it, I took my time, making sure I understood the ideas being presented, and, truth be told, to fact check some statements (it all checks out, but there are critics who think Lois overstates his contributions in some projects, even though he was involved in them).
While George Lois' forte is advertising and marketing, the advise in this book can be applied to any creative person like artists, designers, writers, et al. What it comes down to is: if you're hesitant about taking the next step in whatever you're doing, this book is telling you to take that next step, and believe in yourself when you do it.
Tip 16 says: "Why just be a Creative Thinker - when you can be a Cultural Provocateur! That mirrors a tenet I've believed in: "Art should speak to me." If the fruits of your creative endeavors are not speaking to your audience, let alone provoking it, you're not doing it right. If you're struggling to get to that point in your work, this book may be what you need. I'd even venture to say that this book will be of value to even those who are not in the creative fields. We all have something to say, and I've used this book to help me say my piece in a more effective manner.
One a scale of 1-4 Library Cards, Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!) gets:
Thanks for visiting. Love, Demosthenes Spiropoulos