Every Idea Is A Good Idea is the most useful book I have read in a very long time.
It is a book you won’t want to put down, but that you absolutely must. You must stop reading so you can process and maybe even record the thought bursts that undoubtedly explode, setting off a ripple of “thought harmonics.” It has large margins so you can do exactly that, actually. One moment you’re reading about the natural genius of Itzhak Pearlman and then suddenly you have figured out how to fix the broken gate in the back garden without spending any money. You’re reading about Dr. Dre’s creative process and you finally totally get why Jeff was disappointed in the project you handed in 8 years ago. Where did that come from? Tom Sturges is like a wizard.
Well, actually he’s just been paying attention and asks a lot of questions. He is enticed by the mystery of creativity and has dedicated a rather large portion of his adult life to working with creative people and learning more about how they do what they do. As a Senior Executive with the likes of Chrysalis and Universal, signing some massive acts, Tom Sturges has been up close and personal with some of the most prolific creative minds in the world today. They are the wizards and they have more wisdom for us than they probably even realize. God bless Tom Sturges for writing it down.
Every Idea is as much inspirational as it is educational, each section triggering new thoughts and ideas or drudging up memories. While songwriters are the primary subjects of his case studies on creativity, what he uncovers are universal truths. It is all at once a book about how to succeed in business, how to have a stronger marriage, how to make friends, how to be a better parent, how to know yourself in a profoundly spiritual way, and yes, also, some tips on encouraging your artistic self. Creativity is a necessity for humanity, but how to access our creativity is an ability so few of us learn. Perhaps we don’t even realize how badly we need it.
This book provides one epiphany after another as he names and explains the aspects of creativity and success that are so often left solely to instinct. In the A&R business, or really the music business, in general, we know greatness when we hear it. We can tell when a new artist has the potential to be successful based on very limited information, and we know when an artist simply doesn’t have what it takes. In Every Idea Is A Good Idea, the distinction is made clear. The markers that A&R folks see instinctually and can rely on sensing are given names and descriptions. Creativity isn’t magic, and those who have a road map to their creative well and understand their personal process are simply more likely to succeed. It’s that easy.
But beyond understanding why things are the way they are, Sturges is a motivational speaker. Understanding creativity is only useful if it can be used to spark more creativity. Throughout the book he provides a series of exercises that get the brain in gear and help fire off creativity, and these exercises absolutely work. You must do these things. You must read this book. Regardless of your profession or season of life, we all could use a bit more creativity to help navigate the waters we’re in. But creativity is so much more than imaginative problem-solving. Creativity is freedom. The ability to access our creative center, no matter how we go about it, can be the most liberating and life-changing thing we ever learn.
I cannot recommend Every Idea Is A Good Idea enough. We should leave it on people’s doorsteps instead of the phone book.