March 10, 2013

Infographics inspired by Derek Sivers’ book “Anything You Want”

Derek Sivers’ first book Anything You Want is compact like one of his TED Talks(1). In it, he relates experiences and lessons learned while founding CD Baby—an online CD store for independent musicians. I’m enjoying this emerging pattern of business books written with the reader clearly in mind: brief, plainspoken tone, and nothing like an MBA-speak presentation.

The poet J. D. McClatchy said, “Novelists want to flood, poets want to distill.” Brevity is therapy when it particularly comes to business books. I gravitate to this deliberate short form, like Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk, REWORK by Jason Fried and David David Heinemeier Hansson of 37signals(2), Evil Plans: Having Fund on the Road to World Domination by Hugh Macleod. Sivers uses a distilled approach that I greatly appreciate. One clear advantage to reading an entire book, in one sitting, is the ability to easily revisit the parts you highlight and reread them, or even the entire book—again, in the same sitting. Another advantage is the ability to extend the book into a project. In this case, the project was playing with some of the Sivers’ quotes and turning them into high-level infographics.

Infographic 1: What business is and is not

Sivers offers a good reminder (one of many in his book): making something—whether it winds up as a business or not—must be done for emotion, not money. To paraphrase author Besa Kosova, this practice helps relieve stress even if, as the phrase goes, it ultimately can’t buy happiness. Here’s the initial sketch:

A digital iteration of Sivers’ really simple breakdown in defining a business:

Infographic 2: Execution never gets old

Ideas only have color, shape, volume, and visibility, when they’re made real. What’s imagined rests on paper, on the surface of your mind. And it can stay there indefinitely. In making an idea real, passion is never overrated. Here’s the initial sketch:

A digital iteration of Derek’s repeated emphasis to escape flatland of ideas:

Infographic 3: Your business, your universe

The author Mark Twain gave great startup advice: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” A universe exists on matter and energy, space and time. It’s a demanding thing, like one’s livelihood, a process of world-making. Here’s the initial sketch:

A digital iteration of Sivers’ call to create your own version of the cosmos:

Sivers ends Anything You Want with a section called “You make a perfect world.” The last statement: “Whatever you make, it’s your creation, so make it your personal dream come true.”

(1) One of my favorite TED Talks is Derek Sivers’ Weird, or just different?—wisdom in less than three minutes.

(2) 37signals’ new book is REMOTE: Office Not Required.

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See: Infographics inspired by Richard Florida’s book The Rise of the Creative Class