Scott Belsky

Area of Focus
Professional Development

Date Discovered
Unknown – Sometime in 2013

How Discovered / Recommended By
I saw some products on Levenger that referred to the Action Method. I was curious about what this meant and Googled to find the source.

Reason for Wanting to Read It
I love productivity tools, especially those geared to creative types. I also have a lot of creative ideas that I would love to see become reality, but sometimes it seems impossible to become successful in creative ventures.

Date Acquired
I downloaded and read the sample on the plane trip back from Ojai, CA on December 12, 2013. I downloaded the full eBook on March 3, 2014.

Date Read
March 3 – March 4, 2014

Review Notes
My primary reason for downloading the book was to learn more about the Action Method, but that was only a very small part of this book. If I’m being completely honest, being a true-blue GTD practitioner, I was completely underwhelmed by the description of the Action Method. In fact, the Action Method seemed to be a very stripped down version of GTD. And, while I was reading about it, I found myself getting uneasy about certain aspects of the methodology, especially his definition and examples of what constitutes a “project”. “Everything is a project.” No. No it isn’t. That’s not a project, that’s an area of focus. Wrong. Wrong. So wrong. But, that’s just me being set in my ways. In reality, to a person who hasn’t been exposed to any productivity methodology at all, it’s a decent start. Get the backburner items and reference material out of the way. And, when you consider that the primary audience for this book is creative types, it’s a really good start. A lot of creatives won’t ever take the time to master a more complex methodology like GTD. They may find that it’s too much structure, especially when first getting started. But the author obviously loosely based the Action Method on GTD as he referenced David Allen twice in Making Ideas Happen. He also refers to the Covey dimensions of urgency vs. importance a bit.

I consider myself to be an equally “left- and right-brained” person – “technically creative”, if you will. My creativity works in a very methodical and systematic way. I love instructions and methodologies and processes and, perhaps, therein lies some limitations to my creativity. But my wiring drives me to complex systems and methodologies like a moth to a flame and, from what the author reveals in the remainder of the book, that can ultimately prove to be an advantage in creative ventures.

I would recommend this book, not so much for the Action Method, but for the recommendations and techniques presented for moving creative projects forward and managing creative professionals. I have found, in my professional experience, many of his recommendations to be quite valid.

Knowledge Nuggets

  • Having the idea is just a small part of the process.
  • Creativity x Organization = Impact
  • Productivity is key – it’s a numbers game.
  • Sharing is essential, and so is feedback – seldom is anything accomplished alone.
  • Don’t hesitate to practice “respect based” self-marketing.

Following are some of my favorite takeaway quotes from Making Ideas Happen:

  • “Genius is one percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” – Thomas Edison
  • “Even more powerful than the obstacles around us, however, are the obstacles within us. The most potent forces that kill off new ideas are our own limitations.” – Scott Belsky
  • “An idea executed for an audience of one is an awful waste of potential inspiration and value for the greater good.” – Scott Belsky
  • “A methodology is only effective when practiced consistently.” – Scott Belsky
  • “Attractive things work better.” – Donald Norman, The Substance of Style
  • “The aesthetics of the tools you use to make ideas happen matter.” – Scott Belsky
  • “The truth is, creativity isn’t about wild talent as much as it’s about productivity. To find a few ideas that work, you need to try a lot that don’t. It’s a pure numbers game.” – Robert Sutton, Professor of Management Science and Engineering, Stanford School of Engineering
  • “Fight the desire to wait for instructions and learn to showcase your skills and expertise without an invitation.” – Scott Belsky
  • “Make yourself become who you are.” – Frederich Nietzsche
  • “Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.” – Dwight Eisenhower

Other Media to Explore

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