Title: The Practice: Shipping Creative Work
Author: Seth Godin
Buy: Amazon | Bookshop
Creative work doesn’t come with a guarantee. But there is a pattern to who succeeds and who doesn’t. And engaging in the consistent practice of its pursuit is the best way forward.
This review is long overdue, considering I read this in September 2021. I still wanted to share a brief review of this book as it is 1) something that is still on my mind at year’s end, and 2) I’ve already reviewed it for the Productivity Lab podcast.
This book is not your conventional book, in that there is no narrative arc. Typically, your nonfiction books will give you a narrative arc that follows with examples and stories of someone “doing a thing”. The next paragraphs would then follow with how you can apply that “thing”. Not that such examples aren’t in this book. Its structure is that of a collection of blog posts. They are mostly brief with quips or quotes. Each numbered for easy reference at a later time.
This means that you don’t need to sit and read the entire book in one go. You can; however, its structure allows for easy consumption over a long period. Because of this structure, I preferred to listen to the audiobook, as the experience was like listening to Godin’s Akimbo podcast.
The book is split into multiple sections, such as “Trust Your Self” or “The Professional”. Within each section are the collection of ideas that most appropriately fit with the theme. For example, in the first section “Trust Your Self” at entry “15. Finding Your Passion”, the idea centers on where a person finds their passion. As the section of this book is about trust and the self, we are led to this passage:
Once you decide to trust your self, you will have found your passion. You’re not born with it, and you don’t have just one passion. It’s not domain-specific: it’s a choice.
Our passion is simply the work we’ve trusted ourselves to do.
I find that to be a tall order. On the face, the immediate reaction may be that you trust yourself to do the work. However, as it lingers in the air, you find you may not trust yourself completely. Some part of you is thinking about the outcome before you even start the work, shaking your confidence. The result is that many of us may give up on something before we even start. Hence, the entire purpose of this section of the book is to provide you with alternative perspectives and ideas so that you can trust.
There are many other salient points throughout the book. I’ve marked these with page flags and annotations throughout. For any creative who still struggles, this book will certainly be a well of advice to pull inspiration from. Though, if we are to glean anything from this book, it’s that inspiration can only take you so far. As Godin continuously says throughout the book: you have to put in the work.
I recommend this book to creatives. In addition, I will also provide some companion pieces after you’ve read this book:
- Akimbo Podcast by Seth Godin: It continues the themes and discussions that this book covers.
- Atomic Habits by James Clear: To do the work, you need strong habits. This is an excellent read to build your foundation.
I’ll leave you with a final quote:
When you choose to produce creative work, you’re solving a problem. Not just for you, but for those who will encounter what you’ve made.
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Want to hear more about this book? Check out my podcast, The Productivity Lab, where my co-host and I discuss this book and more. Listen to The Practice Book Review