Posted by: Erin Harris
Category: Erin Reviews
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Erin Harris

“The conventional interpretation is that the amateur pursues his calling out of love, while the pro does it for money. … In my view, the amateur does not love the game enough. If he did, he would not pursue it as a sideline, distinct from his “real” vocation. The professional loves it so much he dedicates his life to it.”–Steven Pressfield, screenwriter

Howard J. Blumenthal’s book, The Creative Professional: A Survival Guide for the Business World, is a must-read for anyone in any creative professional. Blumenthal starts off with the basics: what defines a “creative” professional, the rules of behavior in the marketplace, and the valuable assets of a creative professional. He also addresses the myths surrounding creatives, such as “creatives are disorganized”, “creatives are crazy”, and “you can’t learn creativity from a book”. He discusses personality traits and how they translate into the workplace, with specific references to the Myers-Briggs personality test, and how to use those traits to your advantage.

The Creative Professional: A Survival Guide for the Business WorldBlumenthal then goes on to talk about work styles, and includes a number of helpful exercises to help you determine how you work best. He talks about being a leader vs. being a specialist, and the difference between working for an employer and for clients. Blumenthal details the hiring process, including why you might not get hired full-time, and the positives and negatives of working for different size and types of companies.

The inherent distrust of creatives is discussed at length: business people don’t trust creatives; “creatives only care about creative work”; “creatives don’t follow business logic”. Blumenthal includes an excellent chart on traditional business thought vs. the creatives’ view.

From there, Blumenthal talks about managing your resources: time management, the creative process, getting past obstacles, how creatives think, and legal issues. He also discusses a creative’s career path: alternate paths, how to make changes when things aren’t going well, why the traditional job market doesn’t work for creatives, how to grow your career, determining what you really want to accomplish, and knowing when to move on. At the end, Blumenthal includes The Creative Bookshelf, a list of excellent resources.

The book is packed full of information and exercises, and needs at least a second read to begin to process all the fantastic information in it. Any creative, newbie to veteran, should have a copy of this book, and refer to it often.

until the next
Erin Reviews

Erin Harris | Designer
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Comments to this post:

Comment: Jess Sand says

Erin, I’m glad you reviewed this book! I found it a really interesting read, and really helpful in how I actually approach my own creative process (and how I integrate it into my business tactics).

As an aside, Blumenthal’s written extensively about the way the brain works generally, so he’s got great insight into the ideas he discusses.


17th September 2007 Quote

Comment: Erin says

Thanks, Jess! It’s a really interesting book. I’m going to have to go back and re-read it myself - there’s just a ton of information to process. It’s clearly written, just a lot to think about at once.

He’s written some other books that I’d like to read. “Branded for Life: How Americans are Brainwashed by the Brands We Love” has been on my reading list for a while, but I didn’t realize it was the same author until recently.

18th September 2007 Quote

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