Book review: Things Are What You Make of Them

Things Are What You Make of Them, by Adam J. Kurtz, is solid, heartfelt, and honest advice. Written in aphoristic style (and in today's trendy all-caps handwriting), Kurtz has given us chapters like "How to get started" and "8 things every creative should know."

Each of those chapters — on different brightly colored paper — starts with the title and a list of key concepts: It's magical, not magic.  You are kind of an idiot. You don't need permission. Failure is actually an option. The following pages then elucidate each of the concepts in a few concise, thoughtful sentences.

Kurtz is a generous writer. He encourages you to Just Do It, and like Lichtenbergianism, he wants you to not take it all so seriously that you can't forgive yourself for failure or shortcomings.

Readers of Lichtenbergianism: procrastination as a creative strategy will find all the Precepts in there, but Things is even less a How To Create manual than Lichtenbergianism is.  It is more of a psychological pep talk, and a very good one.


One cool feature of the book is that the pages are tear-out, so if you find yourself needing a specific reminder, rip that sucker out and tape it to your wall.  Of course, then you have to buy a new copy just to have for those dark nights of the soul when you absolutely know The TRUTH: you suck and should burn all your work.

Or maybe that was Adam J. Kurtz's intent all along?  Mr. Kurtz, he clever.