When we were given a choice of books to pick from to read over reading week, I knew I was better off choosing books that gave advice on how to unleash your creative side. I love writing – this is where I feel creatively strongest. Everywhere else I struggle a bit. So I figured that I would use reading week as an opportunity to ‘unleash my creative potential’ in the words of George Lois. His book ‘Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)’ is the first book I read during my two weeks off, and whilst he clearly is extremely creatively gifted, I have mixed thoughts about the book overall.
One thing to bare in mind before reading Lois’ book – the man likes to talk about his achievements. Don’t get me wrong, when I do something I’m proud of I like to tell people about it and I like praise as much as the next person but I don’t feel the need to write a whole book that just talks about how great I am. There’s no doubt that George Lois is a great advertiser and deserves to share his wisdom with the world. However I found less wisdom in the book and more bragging. Lots of his points are accompanied with how successful he was when he took his own advice (threatening suicide got him a deal with Goodman’s) yet I don’t think his approach to advertising would always work for me.
There are some gems deep within the book, ‘follow your bliss’ ‘keep up the fight against racism, whatever the cost’ and ‘never act cocky’ are just an example of the advice within ‘Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)’ I find relevant, and probably overall there is lots of good advice throughout the book. However I found Lois’ list of achievements, unfunny sarcasm and general attitude made the book a chore to read.
I feel as if I’m being somewhat harsh on Lois but I think he wouldn’t really care what anyone said about his book – he seems confident in himself and his work, as he should due to his success. Do I think he’s the right person to give advice to young advertisers nowadays? Maybe not. His approach clearly worked for him, but I’m not sure the rest of us would be so lucky. Next time I’m stuck on an assignment I might reach for ‘Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!)’ to get inspiration and help me reach that ‘big idea’ he talks about so much – but until then it’ll be sat on my shelf gathering dust.
Until next time,
Image sourced from pinterest