Hegarty On Creativity: Book Review

Hegarty On Creativity: Book Review

On my way to Bangalore last month, I brought the book "Hegarty On Creativity" to read during my flight. I managed to finish half of it and finished the second half during the journey back.

Book Reading on an aeroplane journey

There are no rules to creativity. Yet, there are many people who earn their living through it. What fosters creativity? Is it a skill that can be nurtured? Or is it a talent?

The book gives guidelines that nurtures, sustains, and harness a reader's creative skills.

Read Shit and you'll think shit and you'll create shit.

The book astutely starts with a strong message on creativity: "There are no rules," with each word printed on separate pages.

Sir John Hegarty

There are no rules to creativity

There are no rules to creativity

There are no rules to creativity

Key Takeaways

Some of the points which really inspired me:

  • Being aware, sensitive, passionate, concerned, committed, and above all inventive are necessary ingredients for a successful creative career.

  • Ideas:: We get ideas every day and they are one of the most profound products that we, as humans, generate.
    Foundation of any great idea is the truth, which is the most powerful force in creativity.

    Ideas borrow, blend, subvert, develop, and bounce over other Ideas. There is no such thing as originality. Try to be Fresh rather than original.

"Originality is dependent on the obscurity of your sources."

  • What does it take to be a creative? Fearlessness
    What's the point in producing something that follows a formula? None
    What does it take to produce something that doesn't? Fearlessness

  • A blank page is often one of the most feared challenges one can face. Hegarty has deliberately kept 2 pages blank inviting the readers to sketch, design and/or ideate.

  • Whatever you're creating, simplicity is the ultimate goal. The power of reduction means taking a complex thought and reducing it down to a simple, powerful message.

  • Creativity is an intellectual process driven by heart. As humans, we respond more to emotions than we do to logic.

  • Get Angry, but don't let it eat you up. Instead, find a piece of paper, a canvas or anything and get it out of you. When you are intent on putting a great wrong right, creativity will often exceed all expectations. Out of conflict comes purpose.

  • Use as few words as possible while communicating an idea.

  • Juxtaposition is an art of placing together a number of contrasting objects or ideas. It can be one of the most effective ways of dramatically capturing one's imagination while delivering a strong message.

  • By looking in the opposite direction, you might find something new. "When the whole world zigs, ZAG!"

  • Storytelling is one of the most powerful forms of communication. If the idea is the foundation of the creative process, then the story is the vehicle that delivers it, making it memorable and provocative.

  • Don't be afraid of Technology.
    Although Gutenberg invented printing press and movable type, he did not create the publishing industry. The Lumière brothers invented the motion picture camera, but they did not invent the movie industry. It's these creative people who realise the potential of new technologies and drain the groundbreaking innovative ways to harness them.

  • A cynic is a man who, when he sees flowers, looks around for a coffin. So be careful. Don't surround yourself with people who want to bury your ideas.

  • Being fascinated, inquisitive, informed, and engaged is an all day everyday activity for a creative professional. Staying open to new ideas, new places, and new people will feed one's creative soul.
    Lack of inspiration maybe just another way of saying lack of experience. Inspiration is all around us. All that we see, hear, touch, taste, and smell helps us to form new ideas, even if we don't always realize it. Without inspiration, our creativity dries up and we start repeating ourselves.

  • Creativity is "the expression of self".The greatest creative practitioners put a little bit of themselves into their work, their beliefs, concerns, and ambitions.

  • We have to seek out inspiring creative environments to work. We constantly need to be pushed, challenged, even frightened into making our work better. There is no shame in admitting this.

  • It's no good having great ideas if you can't sell them

  • In the end, everything is connected and the more connections you make the more interesting your work will become. Been fascinated by everything is a surefire way to feed the creative soul – even if that means reading a magazine dedicated to Economics.

  • Keep your focus! Having the courage and determination to focus on one subject or area of expertise gives you a solid foundation that is absolutely necessary if you're to come up with a truly great idea, one that will be key to the future success.

  • If you want to produce special work, it's worth collaborating with special people.

  • Dedication to perfection is essential to mastering your craft.
    Practice only makes perfect if you make progress. As important as practice is, there's no point in constantly practicing unless you're perfecting whatever it is that you are working on.

  • Ego : Belief in what you are doing is fundamental to creativity. Leonardo's Monalisa changed the way we thought of portrait painting. Leonardo's conviction that a portrait could and should be painted differently helped make it one of the most famous in the world. However, you should not keep too much ego as it could be your downfall. By being too egoistic, chances are that one might loose touch with the audience, driving into a Cul-de-sac.

  • Presentation: Spotting the right idea & the ability to sell it is as important as having one.

  • Money isn't a philosophy, it's a tool. Is the last reason why you should do anything.
    If you plan to pursue your creative career by making money your sole objective, you'll end up with either a short career or unsatisfactory one.
    Best way to get rich – if that's what you want – is to invent something that the world wants, admires, or talks about, something that will capture our imagination and make us feel better, emotionally or physically.

  • Routine stunts your creativity.

  • Do interesting things and interesting things will happen to you.

  • We all have to find our own ways of living in the moment. Exploring it, expanding it, and indulging it. That's why children are so wonderful. They live for each moment and therefore get so much more out of life.

  • Unless you enjoy what you do, you're never going to be great at it so make sure you're having fun too. Enjoy yourself, express your ideas, and have fun doing so. You'll do whatever it is that much better.

  • Creativity should never be predictable. It should surprise, entertain and inspire. It should encourage you to look at the world in a fresh way.

Binding & Hardcover

The hardcover back and the binding feels absolutely sleek to hold and the size of the book is perfect for a comfortable read while traveling. Having a bigger font size and a bookmark would have further enhanced its physicality.

Edible Page

The "limited edition" of the books contain an edible paper. Hegarty does so with an intention to "eat his words".

The book I bought was not a limited edition one. But, I loved the idea of having an edible paper inside a book.

Rating: 7/10

(All images shot by me, using an iPhone SE)