Scott Berkun was relatively new to me before I read Mindfire. I had read a couple posts (h/t David Simon), but it was after reading Changing Your Life Is Not A Mid-Life Crisis that I knew I wanted more. I needed to hear everything this guy had to say.
Mindfire: Big Ideas For Curious Minds is a collection of Scott’s best essays. There is nothing in here that can’t be found free online, but I found it really useful to have this collection in a physical form I couldn’t ignore. As it turns out, this book is something I’d feel bad about not supporting or making sure I spread its message to anyone willing to listen.
Mindfire is all about challenging your mind and I like how Scott addresses that it may make you you feel uncomfortable from the get-go. Sure, his opening essay about the cult of busy and how we deceive ourselves when we say we’re too busy had me saying “fuck yeah”, but there were many other essays that (if I’m honest with myself) called me out and made me really think about how I behave.
While the point of my review is not to regurgitate what Scott says, I will say I really dug that he covers walking the line between being popular and being good at something. I also liked his framework around how to give/receive criticism and making sure your behavior is consistent with learning from your mistakes. It’s reassuring when he talks about honoring (and knowing) who you are even when it’s really inconvenient (being a night owl and having a family is just one example).
So read this book if you’re okay with being called out on your bullshit, which is really any way your mind convinces you you’re not good enough to go after what’s important for you. Read it if you reckon it might be a better use of your time than whatever you usually do most evenings. Finally, read it if you can get down with a passage like this:
“The word create is a verb. Be active. Go make things. Make dinner, make a drawing, make a fire, make some noise, but make. If all your attempts at being creative consist of passively consuming, no matter how brilliant what you consume is, you’ll always be a consumer, not a creator.”
It might make you uncomfortable, but you probably won’t regret it.