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Posts from the ‘Good Reads’ Category

The Wisdom of Sundays

 

 

Have you heard about the new book, The Wisdom of Sundays, by Oprah, which shares excerpts and quotes from her Super Soul Sunday interviews over the years?  I received this book a few weeks ago, and it is really good.  Below I am sharing some of my favorite quotes from this book.

“We have this immense interior life inside of us.  We can call it the life of the soul.  Poets and mystics and people have been trying to figure out what two call this for a long time.  But there is an inner silence in it.  And there is an incredible mystery floating in it.  This is where the divine lives in us.”  — Sue Monk Kidd

“‘Am I living the life that I can admire?  Am I going to leave this earth a place where it’s a little more than just what it was?’  Those are my values.  And never giving up.  And finding a way through obstacles.  And finding grit and will.  Those are what I value.”  — Diana Nyad

“The best way to be in the present moment is to be aware that you’re not in the moment.  As soon as you’re aware that you’re not in the moment, you’re in the moment.”  — Deepak Chopra

“All you have to do is breathe mindfully and recognize the feeling.  You recognize the situation and help yourself not be overwhelmed by the negative feeling like fear and anxiety.”  — Thich Nhat Hanh

“You will forgive because you love yourself so much that you don’t want to keep hurting yourself for whatever happened.  Whatever happened is done and cannot be changed.  And we have to accept that and keep going with our life.”  — Don Miguel Ruiz

“In the depth of loss, I found out who I really was.  I began to trust who I was.  I began to find a genuine me that could withstand anything.  And if we fight those times and fight the bud opening, we live half a life.  But when we open into our brokenness. that’s when we blossom.”  — Elizabeth Lesser

“Sometimes when we wake up to spirituality, and you’ve seen it everywhere, the you-know-what hits the fan.  And everything falls apart.  Those are the moments when we get to work. These are not the moments when we drink.  Those are not the moments when we go back to the addiction.  Those are the moments that we get to work.  Because those moments are showing up to help you show up.  Pay attention to the assignments that are coming to you, and show up for them!  Everything comes up so it can be healed.”  — Gabrielle Bernstein

“Acceptance.  Accept the fact of the hour.  The fact of the mile.  The fact of the summer.  The facts of my life.  And over and over again, I found that if I could do that, everything else sort of gave way.  And it led me into the next step, the next thing that was going to reveal itself.  And I think that is such a powerful and important thing.”  — Cheryl Strayed

“Begin to notice what you have in your life that you are grateful for and what you look at life through the lens of gratitude, you don’t see as many obstacles and hindrances.  You see potential, you see possibilities.  Then you become an open vehicle for more inspiration, more wisdom, more guidance, coming from the spiritual part of your being.”  — Michael Bernard Beckwith

“Many of us think that in order to find our passion, we have to look outside of ourselves.  But I’ve learned that the secret, ironically, to finding your passion is to start by bringing passion to everything you do.  And I do mean everything.  So no matter what ask is in front of you, bring as much enthusiasm and energy to it as you possibly can.”  — Marie Forleo

“Everybody has a calling.  Your real job in life is to figure out why you are here and get about the business of doing it.”  — Oprah

“The soul is your mother ship.  So when you’re sailing in the same direction that it wants to go, your life fills with meaning and purpose.  And when you sail in another direction, it empties of meaning and purpose.”  — Gary Zukav

“The will is so undefinable and can push you so far beyond.  I’ve has sports scientists, the best of them, write me and say, ‘I’m sorry to tell you, this is humanity impossible.’  And I write back to them, ‘You have no idea then.  You’re just doing your little studies on what the heart can do, and what the lungs can do.  I’m talking to you about what the spirit can do, and that’s not measurable.’  The spirit is larger than the body.  Find a way.”  — Diana Nyad

“I believe we all have unlimited possibilities to become pretty much anything we want because I believe you’re not given a dream unless you have the capacity to fulfill it.”  — Jack Canfield

“We are busier than any other generation we have seen in the last three to four hundred years.  We are so busy.  And we think because we’re busy, we’re effective.  But I want you to challenge your schedule for a minute and ask yourself, are you really being effective, or is your life cluttered with all kinds of stuff that demands you, and drains you, and taxes you, and stops you from being are you substituting busyness and all the chaos that goes along with busyness for being effective?”  — Bishop T.D. Jakes

“Intelligence counts for only 25 percent of our job success; 75 percent of our successes in life — and not just about jobs but within the working world — 75 percent of what causes our kids to be successful, causes us to be successful, is not about our intelligence and technical skills.  It’s how we process the world.  It’s our optimism.  Like the belief that our behavior really matters.”  — Shawn Achor

“When I was a kid, my father used to say to me all the time, ‘The only limit to your success is your own imagination.’  And I took that as not just being financial success or work success.  I took that as being every kind of success — love and family and emotional and everything.  The only limit to your success is your own imagination.  Whatever your can imagine is possible.”  — Shondra Rhimes

“Nobody but nobody makes it out here alone.  What really matters now is love.  I mean, that condition in the human spirit that is so profound it allows us to rise.  Strength, love, courage, love, kindness, love, that is really what matters.  There has always been evil and there will always be evil.  But there has always been good, and there is good now.”  — Dr. Maya Angelou

“The secret to long marriage is she was the right person.  And we decided fairly early in our life to give each other plenty of space.  Rosalynn has her own ideas, her own ambitions, her own goals in life, which, in some ways, are different from mine.  I let her do her thing.  She lets me do my thing.  And we try to resolve our inevitable and fairly frequent differences before we go to bed at night.”  — President Jimmy Carter

“If you’re going to love somebody, you have to learn to be patient with their strengths and with their weaknesses.  Love is when you choose to be at your best when the other person is not at their best.”  — Pastor Wintley Phipps

“Whatever you do in life . . . remember . . . think higher, and feel deeper.  Life is not a fist.  Life is an open hand waiting for some other hand to enter it in friendship.  Ultimately, the answers are so simple.  Not simplistic, but so simple.”  — Elie Wiesel

Good Read: The Alchemist

 

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Have you read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho?  It is a really great read that my dear friend recommended, which I finished reading recently.  I highly recommend this book to all!  This book traces the spiritual path and of a young shepherd boy who is compelled to follow his dream of finding a hidden treasure in Egypt.  To do so, he must leave the comfort zone of home, learn to trust the “Soul of the World,” and believe that there are forces in the universe that want us to be happy.  In order to find happiness, however, the boy must first discover his “Personal Legend”— that is to say, he must to discover what he is meant to do in the world.  Fortunately, the boy soon takes the first step in his acquisition of happiness — he listens to his heart and overcomes fear.  As the boy continues his sometimes painful journey, he discovers that one cannot be dissuaded from pursuing a “Personal Legend,” even if the choices seem impossible to bear.  The end result for anyone who does so, Coelho assures his readers, is physical and spiritual reward.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book are shown below.

“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you achieve it.”

“All things are one.”

“Never stop dreaming.”

“Follow the omens.”

“Making a decision was only the beginning of things.  When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

“If I could, I’d write a huge encyclopedia just about the words luck and coincidence.  It’s with those words the universal language is written.”

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it’s all written there.”

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future, I’m only interested in the present.  If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.  You’ll see that there is life win the desert, that there are stars in the heavens, and that tribesman fight because they are part of the human race.  Life will be a party for you, a grand festival, because life is the moment we’re living right now.”

“When someone makes a decision, he is really diving into a strong current that will carry him to places he had never dreamed of when he first made the decision.”

“Intuition is really a sudden immersion of the soul into the universal current of life, where the histories of all people are connected, and we are able to know everything, because it is all written there.”

“Because I don’t live in either my past or my future.  I’m interested only in the present.  If you can concentrate always on the present, you’ll be a happy man.”

“The most important part of the language that all the world spoke — the language that everyone on earth was capable of understanding in their heart — it was love.”

“When a person really desires something, all the universe conspires to help that person realize his dream.”

“Don’t think about what you’ve left behind…Everything is written in the Soul of the World, and there it will stay forever.”

“Wherever your heart is that is where you’ll find your treasure.”

“You will never be able to escape from your heart.  So it’s better to listen to what it has to say.  That way, you’ll never have to fear an unanticipated blow.”

“When I have been truly searching for my treasure, I’ve discovered things along the way that I never would have seen had I not had the courage to try things that seemed impossible for to achieve.”

“Every search begins with beginner’s luck.  And every search ends with the victors being severely tested.”

“Don’t give into your fears…If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”

“When we strive to be better than we are, everything around us becomes better, too.”

 

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Good Read: Inspirational Books

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I thought that I would share some inspirational books!

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are by Shauna NiequistSavor contains 365 daily readings, plus there are great recipes included throughout the book.  Each daily reading is short and poignant, and designed to help you pause in your day, to consider your everyday life, to slow down, and notice the beauty right where you are.  Each reading ends with a question or statement to ponder throughout your day.  Below is an excerpt from this book.

“I want to arrive.  I want to get to wherever I’m going and stay there.  That’s why I used to be such a ferocious planner of my life.  But I’ve learned to just keep moving, keep walking, keep taking teeny tiny steps.  In those teeny tiny steps and moments I become who I am.  We don’t arrive.  But we can become.  And that’s the most hopeful thing I can think of.  In the passing moments of our lives, in the small steps we take, we are shaped into who we are becoming.  What small steps have you taken recently?  How have they shaped you?  Who are you becoming?” –Shauna Niequist

Brave Enough by Cheryl Strayed: I love quotes, and this book is a collection of quotes and nuggets of advice and inspirational wisdom.  This book makes a great gift for women.  Below is one of my favorite quotes.

“The thing about rising is we have to continue upward; the thing about going beyond is we have to keep going.” — Cheryl Strayed

Outrageous Openness: Let the Divine Take the Lead by Tosha Silver: This book is about opening up to life, intuition, and divine guidance.  Each chapter contains pearls of playful wisdom.  Silver urges one to be open and provides examples of what happens when we practice from that place.  This book focuses on putting one’s faith in the divine/Universe/God/life to bring us what we need, while bringing an attitude of curiosity, acceptance, and generosity towards ourselves and others.

A Year Without Fear by Tama Kieves: I first read this book, a collection of daily inspirational wisdom, last year, and I am rereading this book again this year.  Each day’s reading provides inspiration.  Below is one of my favorite quotes.

“Trust each moment to take you where you need to go.  You won’t always have the same feelings or thoughts or perspective.  One day you wake up and new opportunities become available.  Opportunities are like a carousel ride with colorful horses that sail around and around.  When it’s your time, you’ll see your horse.  You’ll jump and fly through the air like a natural.  You’re always a natural in the right time.  Today I remember that in the right time, I’ll see my opportunity.”  –Tama Kieves

Good Read: BIG MAGIC!

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I recently finished reading, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert!  It is a fantastic read for everyone, as everyone is humans and inherently creative.  As you can see from the image above, I have earmarked the entire book!  Big Magic at its core is a celebration of a creative life.  Big Magic is broken into six sections: Courage, Enchantment, Permission, Persistence, Trust, and Divinity.  This is one of those books that I have on my desk, that I know I will go back and reference time and time again.  I am truly inspired after reading Big Magic.

The question: “Do you have the courage to bring forth the treasures that are hidden within you?”

Some of my favorite quotes from Big Magic appear below.

“And while the paths and outcomes of creative living will vary widely from person to person, I can guarantee you this: A creative life is an amplified life.  It’s a bigger life, a happier life, an expanded life, and a hell of a lot more interesting life.  Living in this manner — continually and stubbornly bringing forth the jewels that are hidden within you — is a fine art, in and of itself.”

“Because creative living is a path for the brave.  We all know this.  And we all know that when courage dies, creativity dies with it.  We all know that fear is a desolate boneyard where our dreams go to desiccate in the hot sun.  This is common knowledge; sometimes we just don’t know what to do about it.”

“Your fear will always be triggered by your creativity, because creativity asks you to enter into realms of uncertain outcome, and fear hates an uncertain outcome.”

“It seems to me that my fear and my creativity are basically conjoined twins — as evidenced by the fact that creativity cannot take a single step forward without fear marching right alongside of it.”

“And you have treasures hidden within you — extraordinary treasures — and so do I, and so does everyone around us.  And bringing those treasures to light takes work and faith and focus and courage and hours of devotion, and the clock is ticking, and the world is spinning, and we simply do not have time anymore to think so small.”

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Good Read: The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up

I recently finished reading The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo.  Japanese tidiness and organizing expert, Kondo, believes that decluttering your home can truly change your life.  Kondo has a waiting list for her services, and apparently, she does not have repeat customers as her “KonMari Method” really works.  Kondo firmly believes that serious tidying up cannot be done in baby steps of fifteen minutes daily or throwing out a few things every day.  Her philosophy is to do it all at once.

Kondo focuses on the relationship between three things: “In essence, tidying ought to be the act of restoring balance among people, their possessions, and the house they live in.”  She believes that the art of de-cluttering is “a special send-off for those things that will be departing,” and part of the process should be “a ceremony to launch them on a new journey.”

I do not like clutter and this book provided great suggestions for de-cluttering, which is really freeing.  Some of my favorite quotes from this book are shown below.

“The best way to choose what to keep and what to throw away is to take each item in one’s hand and ask” ‘Does this spark joy?’  If it does, keep it.  If not, dispose of it.  This is not only the simplest but also the most accurate yardstick by which to judge.”

“When you put your house in order, you put your affairs and your past in order, too.  As a result, you can see quite clearly what you need in life and what you don’t.”

“Keep only those things that speak to your heart.  Then take the plunge and discard all the rest.  By doing this, you can reset your life and embark on a new lifestyle.”

“Tidy a little a day and you’ll be tidying forever.”

“Clutter is caused by a failure to return things to where they belong.  Therefore, storage should reduce the effort needed to put things away, not the effort needed to get them out.”

“I recommend you dispose of anything that does not fall into one of three categories: currently in use, needed for a limited period of time, or must be kept indefinitely.”

This book inspired me to go through my closet and attic and get rid of items that do not bring me/us joy!  If you are looking for help getting your house in order, I recommend this helpful book!

 

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Good Read: The Power of Starting Something Stupid

I recently finished reading the book entitled, The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton.  This was a good read. This book is full of helpful information, while providing a new perspective.  Richie illustrates how stupid is the New Smart—the key for success, creativity, and innovation.

What if the key to success, creativity, and fulfillment in your life lies in the potential of those stupid ideas?  This inspiring book will teach you:

-How to crush fear, make dreams happen, and live without regret;

-How to overcome obstacles such as lack of time, lack of education, or lack of money; and

-The five actions of the ‘New Smart’ to achieve authentic success.

One of the best takeaways for me came towards the end of the book.  In the conversations Richie had with older people near the end of their lives, their greatest lament didn’t have to do with failure, but with regret.  Therefore, if you have a wild idea that everyone says or thinks is ‘stupid’ — don’t discount it.  There is great value in those ‘stupid ideas’ that are actually not ‘stupid’ — instead, they are very insightful — and you should give them more attention and thought.

Have a great weekend!

 

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Helpful Books for Forging a Creative Path

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I have shared some ‘Good Reads’ on the blog in the past.  However, I thought it would be helpful and useful to share the books, along with a brief synopsis and thoughts for each book, that have been especially helpful to me in pursuing a creative path.

 

Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland

I first read Art & Fear during college and I have read it many times since.  This is one of my favorite books.  It explores the way art gets made, why it often does not get made, and the difficulties that arise along the way.  Most of all, this book helps to reshape your perspective and overcome your fear and attain your goals.

 

Ways of Seeing by John Berger

I also first read Ways of Seeing during college and I have read several times since.  Ways of Seeing is a collection of seven essays.  Three are pictorial; four are textual.  All essays are about art; how art is seen; how it is valued; how it is used; and what we can learn from looking at art.  I found this book very informative.

 

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield

I have read The War of Art several times and this book is a practical guide for thriving in the creative world.  This is another one of my favorite books.  The wisdom in The War of Art can be used to help you accomplish any goal you set for yourself.  The key is beating resistance, a force that keeps one from living up to his/her potential.

 

This Time I Dance! Creating the Work You Love by Tama Kieves

I read This Time I Dance several years ago for the first time.  Tam Kieves is a former attorney who chose to leave practicing law and follow her true calling, writing.  Her story, which she shares in this book, about her career transition, is very inspiring and insightful.

 

The Power of Patience by M.J. Ryan

The Power of Patience offers many different ways of looking at patience and practicing patience each day.  I really enjoyed this book.  I found this book easy to read and filled with helpful information and various perspectives concerning patience.  Being creative, I have learned, requires a significant amount of patience and fortitude.

The portion of this book that resonated with me discussed patience in relation to receptivity.  Here is a quote from this book.  “However, the receptive energy of patience is real work!  It takes an effort to not simply run off and do something for the sake of doing it, to live in the unknown for as long as it takes without becoming angry, bitter, or depressed.  It may look like nothing on the surface.  But underneath, within ourselves, we’re lifting some heavy timber.”

 

Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt into Fuel for Brilliance by Johnathan Fields

I enjoyed reading Uncertainty.  In a nutshell, this book is about managing the creative process, particularly with regard to entrepreneurial pursuits.  In this book, Jonathan Fields draws on his own experience of success, transformation, effort, and uncertainty and provides guidance on how to face our fears and use them to propel us forward, rather than hold us paralyzed.  Not only is this book motivational, inspiring you to take courageous decisions, it also provides practical advice on how to deal with the fear and take steps to avoid disaster.

 

Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

In Daring Greatly, Brene Brown presents her findings on the concepts of shame, weakness, and vulnerability.  Defining vulnerability “as exposure, uncertainty, and emotional risk,” Brene Brown has stated that “vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.”  Brene Brown maintains that this feeling is the crux of most of our meaningful experiences.  Ultimately, she writes, it is not a weakness; everyone is vulnerable, we all need support via friends and family.  Trust and vulnerability go hand in hand.  Rather than sitting on the sidelines and hurling judgment and advice,” she writes, “we must dare to show up and let ourselves be seen.  This is vulnerability.  This is daring greatly.”   When we choose to dare greatly, the rewards are vast: We feel more loved and are more loving, we feel worthy of that love, we choose our path and commit to it with daily practice, and we live with courage, engagement and a clear sense of purpose.

 

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life by Anne Lamontt

I read this book again last year while on vacation.  This is one of my favorite books chalked full of wisdom.  Below are a few of my favorite quotes from this book.

“You may need someone else to bounce your material off of, probably a friend or a mate, someone who can tell you if the seams show, or if you’ve lurched off track, or even that it is not as bad as you thought … But by all means let someone else take a look at your work.  It’s too hard always to have to be the executioner.”

“And I don’t think you have that kind of time either.  I don’t think you have the time to waste not writing because you are afraid you won’t be good enough at it, and I don’t think you have time to waste on someone who does not respond to you with kindness and respect.”

“The best thing about being an artist, instead of a madam or someone who writes letters to the editor, is that you get to engage in satisfying work.”

 

Inspired and Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Life’s Work! by Tama Kieves

I read Inspired and Unstoppable last year, which is a follow-up book to This Time I Dance!  Tama Kieves contemplates in this book that the way to success is an ‘inspired path,’ not a linear one.  In this book, she brings her ideas and actions together to help others choose to follow an ‘inspired path.’  I found the sentiments in this book insightful and helpful.

 

Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon

Art Inc. offers a concise guide for anyone seeking to start or enhance their career in art, with actionable tasks and helpful tools.  Lisa Congdon’s writing is clear, easy to understand, and inspiring.  I especially enjoyed the interviews with other artists that appeared throughout the book.  I also enjoyed reading the information relating to exhibitions and gallery representation.  Overall, the information contained in this book was very helpful and informative.

Good Read: Sashi, the Scared Little Sheltie

I recently was given the book entitled, Sashi, the Scared Little Sheltie!  This book is a good read, especially if you enjoy illustration and a book about a rescue sheltie friend!

Sashi, the Scared Little Sheltie, is the true story about a little dog who loses her home.  Sashi does not understand why she was left at an animal shelter, and because she cowered in a corner of her cage, potential adopters passed her by.  However, the Sheltie Rescue helps Sashi; and ultimately, Sahi is adopted into a home where she blossoms into the dog she was meant to be!  This story reminds me very much of our experience with Biscuit and Victory.

Importantly, this book was made possible via crowd funding via Kickstarter!

This book would make a wonderful gift for anyone who is a sheltie lover and/or anyone who supports dog rescue!

 

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Good Read: Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind

I recently finished reading the book entitled, Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind by Jocelyn K. Glei and Scott Belsky.

This book explores a few facets of the creative life — increasing your idea generation; dealing with perfectionism; managing procrastination; and working through creative blocks, which are all common themes that artists face regularly.  Most of all, there are many insights from Seth Godin; Dan Ariely; Gretchen Rubin; and Steven Pressfield, among others who share their expertise.

Some of my favorite quotes from this book are shown below.

“It’s time to stop blaming our surroundings and start taking responsibility.  While no workplace is perfect, it turns out that our gravest challenges are a lot more primal and personal.  Our individual practices ultimately determine what we do and how well we do it. Specifically, it’s our routine (or lack thereof), our capacity to work proactively rather than reactively, and our ability to systematically optimize our work habits over time that determine our ability to make ideas happen….Only by taking charge of your day-to-day can you truly make an impact in what matters most to you.  I urge you to build a better routine by stepping outside of it, find your focus by rising above the constant cacophony, and sharpen your creative prowess by analyzing what really matters most when it comes to making your ideas happen.” -Scott Belsky

 

“Everybody who does creative work has figured out how to deal with their own demons to get their work done.  There is no evidence that setting up your easel like Van Gogh makes you paint better.  Tactics are idiosyncratic.  But strategies are universal, and there are a lot of talented folks who are not succeeding the way they want to because their strategies are broken.

The strategy is simple, I think.  The strategy is to have a practice, and what it means to have a practice is to regularly and reliably do the work in a habitual way.

There are many ways you can signify to yourself that you are doing your practice.  For example, some people wear a white lab coat or a particular pair of glasses, or always work in a specific place — in doing these things, they are professionalizing their art.”  -Seth Godin

 

“Step by step, you make your way forward.  That’s why practices such as daily writing exercises or keeping a daily blog can be so helpful.  You see yourself do the work, which shows you that you can do the work.  Progress is reassuring and inspiring; panic and then despair set in when you find yourself getting nothing done day after day.  One of the painful ironies of work life is that the anxiety of procrastination often makes people even less likely to buckle down in the future.” -Gretchen Rubin

 

“Creativity arises from a constant churn of ideas, and one of the easiest ways to encourage that fertile froth is to keep your mind engaged with your project.  When you work regularly, inspiration strikes regularly.” -Gretchen Rubin

 

If you are a creative, I highly recommend reading this book — there are many great insights and words of wisdom!  The biggest take away for me, from this book, is to maintain a regular daily art practice in order to keep moving forward and staying inspired.

 

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Good Read: Art Inc. by Lisa Congdon

I recently finished reading Art, Inc.: The Essential Guide for Building Your Career as an Artist by Lisa Congdon.  This was a good read!  This book offers a concise guide for anyone seeking to start or enhance their career in art, with actionable tasks and helpful tools.  Lisa Congdon’s writing is clear, easy to understand, and inspiring.  I especially enjoyed the interviews with other artists that appeared throughout the book.  I also enjoyed reading the information relating to exhibitions and gallery representation.  The information contained in this book was very helpful.

So, if you are a creative, I highly recommend reading this book!

“Imagination is more important than knowledge.  Knowledge is limited.  Imagination encircles the word.” ~Albert Einstein

 

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