Books generaly earn a spot on my office shelf one of two ways: present me with a revolutionary big idea, or provide me with innovative action steps. Marney Makridakis’s latest book, Hop, Skip, Jump wins on both counts — and includes a big helping of inspirational creativity to boot.
That's a big yay, right? But my reading experience wasn’t entirely positive - mostly, but not quite! Sure, sure, the olde grey matter was exploding with moments of Ah-HA!, playfu giggles and bursts of OMG-What-A-Great-Ideas as I read… but my brain’s jealousy center was also lit up like a Christmas tree! See, this book made me face the harsh reality that Marney might just be a more creative thinker than I am. OH THE HORRORS!! It’s a sobering possibility, with only one possible solution I can see - try out as many of her ideas as possible and let 'Hop, Skip, Jump' raise my own creativity to new ever more competitive heights ;)
You'll notice that I keep refering to the book by it's title alone (Hop, Skip, Jump) without the subtitle (75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life) It's a perfectly good subtitle/tagline, of course, and the book does indeed contain a whole truckload of playful ways to approach things - I didn't count, but there's bound to be at least 75 of 'em! Still, it rings a bit of marketing-to-the-self-help market for my tastes, and I think this book deserves better than being turned into a giant list of vague numerical references to 'manifestation' and 'meaning.'
For me? This is pretty much a creative entrepreneur's guide to productive play in business, art anne life. But since it's not my book, I don't get to re-write the tagline -- so I'll just say I truly appreciate this book, and all 75+ ideas that have meaningfully manifested between it's covers. I’m better for having splashed my way through it,even if I don't use the tagline!
Top Takeaways So Far:
(I say ‘so far’ because this is more a splashing-around-in-it-book than a read-straight-through-book, at for me. I expect to be discovering new ideas in it for quite some time. Anyway, on with the takeaways)
The Big Idea: Everyone has their own natural style of creative productivity. Honoring our native and not-so-native styles through play helps us both more creative and more productive, without the head-bruising frustration of trying to force ourselves to be something we’re not. The way Marney breaks down the styles (into hoppers, skippers and jumpers) makes perfect sense to me, and explains why some of my collaborations are more frustrating or productive, depending on how our native styles work together and how much value we see in one another’s varied approaches.
Innovative Action Steps: Open Hop, Skip, Jump to nearly any page, and you’ll find a playful exercise to build creative muscles in the various styles. My favorites? Turning creative blocks into building blocks, collecting smiles, several games that turn paper chains into tools, and an accounting system for blessings. Oh and the many word and poetry games. Also the … well, maybe you should just go read the book!
Who This Book Is Best For: Anyone who has beaten themselves up (or been criticized by others!) for having too many ideas and open projects, for not taking enough action, or taking action too quickly, for over or under planning, for being too playful and not serious enough, or for being too serious. Anyone looking for less stressful new perspectives on productivity problems, or who just wants more fun and ease in their approaches to projects. The exercises are applicable to work, creativity, family life, business, just about anywhere that you’re open to a shift in perspective.
Who This Book Isn't For: If you can’t imagine a box of crayons or poetry as a productivity tool? This book might frustrate you. Even so, you might want to pick it up from the library and give an exercise or two a try. I haven’t asked, but I suspect the author would be perfectly ok with you rolling your eyes at her, because eye-rolling is a step towards playful. And who knows… you might discover you do have a more playful side to your productivity - maybe it's more organized than my approach, or less colorful than Marneys, but she makes clear in the book, there is no right or wrong way to play.
In otherwords, Hop, Skip, Jump is just about perfect for creative entrepreneurs of all stripes, and the quirkier you are, the more I think you will get out of it.
I'm going to close with a quote from the material Marney's pubisher sent along with the book:
The secret is simple: what moves us is what moves us, which just means what moves us emotionally is what moves us to action. I believe in a world where work feels like play, and while it's not always as easy as I'd ike, I try to spend as much time there as possible.
Me too, Marney - me too.
- To order the book thru Amazon: Hop, Skip, Jump
- To order thru other book sellers, check out Marney's website: http://artellaland.com/play.html
Oh, and I give the book five quirks out of five, plus a purple crayon.
Disclosure: I was asked for my honest review and provided a free review copy of the book for my perusal. I'm also listed as part of Marney's "75 Blogs That Matter Most Directory" which is full of quirky, creative, playful folks who are totally worth checking out. Oh, also, the Amazon links are indeed affiliate links - I'm saving up my commissions for a breathmint. That said, I'd have felt the same way about this book had I paid full price for it and wasn't an Amazon affiliate. I only review products and books I truly support. Oh, and I give the book five quirks out of five, plus a purple crayon! Oh, and I give the book five quirks out of five, plus a purple crayon.