An interior designer friend of mine shared a book with me that he said "changed my life," and I feel it's my duty to tell every Sheffield student - and everyone in a creative profession or with a creative hobby - to pick up a copy of Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!) by George Lois. Mr. Lois was the ad guy behind the rise of popular brands like MTV, Tommy Hilfiger, and VW, and his graphic design background (think the classic covers of Esquire magazine that are in MOMA's collection).
The book is wonderfully simple and jarring, with 120 great tips that are actually mini wake-up calls to become more creative and to work better and smarter with our talents. Here are a few nuggets.
- Most people work at keeping their job, rather than doing a good job. If you're the former, you're leading a meaningless life. If you're the latter, keep up the good work.
- When you're presenting a Big Idea, be prepared to answer dumb questions. There's usually somebody in every meeting that just doesn't get it. Before the last word comes out of their lips, tear their doubts to shreds.
- You can be Cautious or you can be Creative (but there's no such thing as a Cautious Creative). A creative thinker must be fearless. If you're more tentative than decisive, if you're more cautious than creative, you'll never be an innovative business leader, and certainly not a great visual communicator. A Cautious Creative is an oxymoron.
If you're pursuing a creative hobby or a creative profession, you need the inspiration of books like this one to help give you a jolt and replenish your "juciness." Lois, whom many refer to as the original Mad Man (as in the TV show Mad Men), rankles at the comparison because he believes in a much better work and personal ethic than shown in the TV show. I highly recommend this book. You'll come away inspired and ready to create great work!
If you're interested in learning more about creative pathways for hobbyists and professionals, we encourage you to explore the Sheffield School, New York, NY. Sheffield began as an Interior Design school in 1985, and then expanded our course offerings to train people in other design-related fields, including Feng Shui, Wedding and Event Planning, and Jewelry Design. With thousands of active students and more than 50,000 graduates, Sheffield has trained more design professionals than any school in the world.