Thursday, February 23, 2012

Book Review: So, You're a Creative Genius ... Now What?

This is a difficult book to review because it touches on so many bases. And ultimately, I think there is a little something in it for everyone. Have you ever thought of a career in freelancing your creativity? It's a road I know all too well and have had mixed results with. But Carl King, on the other hand, has it figured down to a science. And it's all inside this book!

First off, it's really well written and stylish. I read a lot of non fiction, and this is one that presents its material in an informative / entertaining way, which is really engaging and effective. I'd even say it's hard to put down. So, this creative genius wound up reading it all in one sitting.

While I'm going to give Carl a little flack about a couple things he wrote,  making anything that can generally appeal to all artists is a pretty commendable task. And for the most part, it really succeeds. Also, I absolutely loved the first sentence: "This book is not for normal people." It's definitely one of the best first sentences I've ever read. And really, the book is a quote mine of things I wish I would have wrote.

The rest of the book is filled with his, should be trademarked, wit and interesting analysis of the various players involved in producing professional work. He even discloses pretty personal information, which was brave and should inspire anyone in similar situations. The general message here isn't "I can do it and so can you." It's closer to: I have done it, this is how, and take whatever you need.

The only negatives, I found, were regarding atheism / modern science and their relation to creativity. For the most part, I took it as tongue in cheek. A little jab at people who've annoyed him before. And I think this is sort of confirmed as two of my favorite atheists, Bruce Lee and Frank Zappa, are quoted in the book. But I'll let the works of Douglas Adams, Issac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, and Gene Roddenberry speak for themselves.

As you might know, I'm a big advocate of science and logic. And here is where I have to disagree with Carl: Conceptually grasping the weirdness that exists, at the foundations of reality, requires a powerful imagination! And I'm not just talking about quantum principles; even special and general relativity are foreign to human intuition. Hell, some Newtonian physics demand your thoughts leave Earth to conceptualize ... or you'll wind up arguing with people, on the Internet, that traveling to distant planets is too impossible because you think 1,000 MPH is a realistic speed limit while traversing space. Yeah, that's in another blog.

And I think the ancient Greeks, like Democritus and Aristotle, would be very impressed with what science has done and is still doing. Although it could appear, to the untrained eye, that ancient philosophers were just imagining stuff out of their ancient asses, any serious research reveals a lot of rigorous methodology and sound logic. They, at least, adhered to a proving discipline. And this sadly is a most foreign idea to new agers and people in paranoid mindsets.

Overall, I do recommend this book  — as it also doubles as an outline on how to succeed professionally with the least amount of headaches and soul crushing experiences. Head over to Amazon or Mutant Mall and pick up a copy. It doesn't matter what type of person / artist you are. And again, there should be something valuable in here for you. I certainly found a lot!

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