Book: Making Ideas Happen : Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality by Scott Belsky
Publisher: Portfolio / Penguin Group
Publication date: 2010
Summary: For creative people, ideas are the easy part — implementation is the real challenge. Making Ideas Happen traces how to organize one’s self, team, and organization for action. This is the missing user manual for Edison’s famous quote, “Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.”
Thoughts: I’m posting this on March 4th because today is a great day to “march forth” on our goals.
Belle Wong, aka Ms. Bookish, recommended this book to me while she was reading it. Then, she came back to warn me that, after the first section, it’s more about organizations than individuals. Like Belle, I work from home so my working interaction with others is limited, but, hey!, every person reading these words is a potential co-creator (especially if you comment), so I took the advice very broadly and read the whole book, after all.
As Belle predicted, the first part of Making Ideas Happen was the most useful. In some ways, it builds on and critiques the geeky cult book, Getting Things Done by David Allen. I bought the hardback first edition of GTD in 2001, and it’s still on my shelf, so you know how long I’ve been grappling with this issue. Some parts of GTD entered my life and made things so much better — my In Box and Tickler are close at hand, even as I type these words. Others never did take hold they way I thought they should.
In particular, arranging my action lists by context only worked well for errands and agendas. When my actions got separated from my projects, I lost motivation to do them. The method in Making Ideas Happen keeps things much more firmly tied to projects and that’s working better for me.
I’ve had my organization system working quite well since the beginning of the year, using Trello as my new tool. If you can imagine organizing your life using white boards and post-it notes, Trello might work for you, too.
Two months into my new organizational scheme, I was aware of some pitfalls. Primarily, some of my to-dos looked like action steps, but they were really small projects or wishes or resolutions. At any rate, they weren’t getting completed. With the help of Making Ideas Happen, I re-worked things using the concept of Actions, Backburner Items, and References. Voila! My system is no longer clogged with things that aren’t truly actionable.
Appeal: Making Ideas Happen will have the broadest functionality for people working within creative organizations. But, as author Scott Belsky points out, even the most individual projects require the help of others to make it in the world, so the final two sections are relevant to the solo practitioner as well.
Challenges: Making Ideas Happen is my fourth nonfiction book of 2015. Thanks, Introverted Reader, for hosting this challenge again.
Have you read this book? What did you think?