The Book in Three Sentences

Nobody knows the best way to deliver your unique idea, no matter how smart they seem. Every artist has to find a way to make a living and share their work, preferably in a way that doesn't ruin both. Finding your own voice and sharing that voice with the world is the most important thing.

Ignore Everybody summary

This is my book summary of Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod. My notes are informal and often contain quotes from the book as well as my own thoughts. This summary also includes key lessons and important passages from the book.

  • The more unique your idea is, the harder it will be for people to give you good advice. Ignore everybody.
  • You have to put in the hours. Skill, natural talent, etc. matters less and less as you work more and more hours. In the long run, the people who work hardest, longest win.
  • Your friends love you for who you are right now. Good ideas alter the power balance in relationships because they mean you become something new. You friends may not want to grow with you. This is why good ideas are always initially resisted.
  • Most people are more concerned with what their team members and coworkers think than if an idea is interesting and useful. Why? Because it hurts to be rejected by the people we know, so we seek their approval.
  • For every artist there is always a tension between sex (what you want to do) and cash (what pays the bills). As soon as you accept this your career will move ahead faster.
  • Team players aren't very good at creating value in their own. “I don't know. What do you think?”
  • If you don't see yourself as particularly creative, then that is a self imposed limitation. Only you can decide if you carry that limitation around with you forever.
  • “Everybody has their own private Mount Everest they were put on this earth to climb. You may never reach the summit; for that you will be forgiven. But if you don't make at least one serious attempt to get above the snow line, years later you will find yourself lying on your deathbed, and all you will feel is emptiness.”
  • Most people hide behind pillars. Pillars are fancy equipment, stuff not required to just do the work.
  • Assume that you will receive no recognition for the work you do. Assume that nobody will care. Then, create it anyway.
  • We underestimate how much time, discipline, and stamina play a part in our success.
  • “Meanwhile, the competition is at home, working their asses off.”
  • No one person can be good at everything. All the great artists and entrepreneurs figure out ways to get around their limitations. There is no reason being bad at some aspect of your art should prevent you from sharing the art entirely.
  • “I will love you forever. So long as sex maintains its current level.”
  • “Quality isn't Job One. Being totally fucking amazing is Job One.”
  • “Selling out is harder than it looks. Diluting your product to make it more commercial will just make people like it less.”
  • It's not about the success you receive. It's about what you are going to create with the short amount of time you have left on this planet.
  • “You have to find a way of working that makes it dead easy to take full advantage of your inspired moments. They never hit at a convenient time, nor do they last long.”
  • Writers block is when you have nothing to say, but somehow think you should. Don't be so hard on yourself. Go out into the world, experience life, and write when you have something to say.
  • Every great artist has their own voice. You have to find yours. (Writing plus sketches?)
  • The best way to get approval is to not need it.
  • “People who are ‘ready' give off a different vibe from people who aren't… The minute you become ready is the minute you stop dreaming.”
  • “The less you can live on, the more chance your idea will succeed. This is true even after you've made it.”
  • “Savor obscurity while it lasts. Once you make it your work is never the same.”
  • “Work hard. Keep at it. Live simply and quietly. Remain humble. Stay positive. Create your own luck. Be nice. Be polite.”

Ignore Everybody by Hugh MacLeod

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