Book Review: Making Ideas Happen

May 25, 2010

With a title like Making Ideas Happen, I expected Scott Belsky’s first book would be of great interest to me, and many other Creativityist regulars as well. Belsky is the founder of Behance and the 99%, a conference built around helping creative people execute their ideas.

In the opening chapter, Belsky sums up the content of the book this way:

Far from being some stroke of creative genius, this capacity to make ideas happen can be developed by anyone. You just need to modify your organizational habits, engage a broader community, and develop your leadership capability.

From a broad and general perspective, I enjoyed the book. It’s a book that is exactly as the title describes…a book about how to move ideas from concept to reality. I have enough conversations with others like me to know that most of us don’t have a shortage of ideas, but a shortage of resources to see those ideas through. Saying no to some ideas isn’t a bad thing, but all of us also have ideas that we don’t want to let go of.

I do have some conflicting personal responses to the book. On the one hand, I love that Belsky devoted two thirds of the book to shaping how ideas come about through collaboration and leadership. That’s something I don’t explore enough in my writings here, and in my own projects, so it was an important reminder.

On the other hand, I’m alway interested in the creative habits of others. What workflows are helpful for getting real work done, and which ones just get in the way. The first third of the book is devoted to this; perhaps I want to see things be too granular, but I would have liked to see more of this.

Overall, I don’t know that I would say this was a groundbreaking book. Much of what I read I intuitively understood through experience or common sense, even if it was helpful to have it laid out for me in the words of another. But, it was a good reality check, helping expose areas of my own creative process that need more development.

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