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Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision & Reality [Hardcover]

Scott Belsky
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)

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Book Description

25 May 2010
How the world's leading innovators push their ideas to fruition, time and time again.

Edison famously said that genius is 1 percent inspiration, 99 percent perspiration. Ideas for new businesses, solutions to the world's problems, and artistic breakthroughs are common, but great execution is rare.

According to Scott Belsky, the capacity to make ideas happen can be strengthened by anyone willing to build their organizational habits and harness the forces of community. That's why he founded Behance, a company that helps creative people and teams across industries develop these skills.

Belsky has spent six years studying the habits of especially productive creative people and teams-the ones who make their ideas happen time and time again. After interviewing hundreds of successful creatives, he has compiled their most powerful-and often counterintuitive-practices, such as:

•Generate ideas in moderation and act without conviction
•Reduce all projects to just three primary components
•Encourage fighting within your team
•Seek competition and share ideas liberally

In an increasingly flexible and entrepreneurial environment, creative minds have the opportunity (and responsibility) to solve and change industries-but they can only do that if they overcome the obstacles. While many of us obsess about discovering great new ideas, Belsky shows why it's better to develop the capacity to make ideas happen-a capacity that endures over time.

Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: J P Tarcher/Penguin Putnam (25 May 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 159184312X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591843122
  • Product Dimensions: 23.5 x 16.3 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 265,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


If you care about your art, your job or your market, you really have no choice but to read this book (Seth Godin, Author Of 'purple Cow' And 'linchpin' )

Ideas are easy. Implementation is hard. This book helps you with the hard part (Guy Kawasaki, Former Apple Guru And Author Of 'the Art Of The Start' )

This is a book about execution, and when it comes to going from an idea to a real business, execution is everything (John Battelle, Co-Founder Of Wired And Boingboing )

This book is like a Swiss Army knife for ideas. It offers step-by-step tools to turn ideas into action and it's full of wonderful and enlightening stories (Ji Lee, Creative Director, Google Creative Lab )

Looking deep into the creative process, this book forges a new path for the wandering genius. Belsky offers an illustrated map on how to get to the destination of your great ideas (Scott Thomas, Design Director, Obama Presidential Campaign )

In one little volume, Belsky shows how to execute simply, boldly, powerfully. He reveals the forces and methods that push projects to completion - and how they are accessible to all of us (Leo Babauta, Author Of 'the Power Of Less' )

If your creative team or organisation struggles to implement their best ideas, or if you find that your own creative projects languish unfinished, you need Making Ideas Happen (Teresa Amabile, Director Of Research, Harvard Business School )

About the Author

Scott Belsky is the founder and CEO of Behance, which operates the leading online platform for creative professionals, as well as the 99% Conference, a major annual symposium on execution in creative industries. Previously he helped grow the Pine Street Leadership Development Initiative at Goldman Sachs.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars making things not ideas happen 18 Jan 2011
This is a good book for getting better at getting things done. Personally I find the idea part to stretch the concept slightly. I have tried several times to use the Action Method to help me get ideas to happen but cannot say that I have felt a massive change. But it helps you with tasks and moving forward.
Perhaps it should have been named Making productivity happen. Not so easy sold that one...
I found the book to be too long and slightly repepetive. This could have been told on a lot less pages without anything important gone missing.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Making Ideas Happen - An IT Geek's View 30 July 2011
I must confess straight away that I'm a fan of the Behance Action Method. The book is about the rationale behind the Action Method and how Scott Belsky arrived at the method to get "creative" people organised so that they actually deliver on the ideas that they have. The focus of the book and of Behance, is on execution. This is not a book on how to have more ideas; rather it deals with implementing those ideas that you already have and for this reason stands out in a crowded market.

The first part of the book explains how the Action Method was developed through years of research among the leading "creatives" and then describes how to implement it, and why doing so is a good idea. One of the key ideas is to treat all Action Steps as part of a project and this is the key one that works for me. David Allen's GTD productivity method is popular in the IT world, but I've always struggled with it for reasons that I can't quite identify. However, using the Action Method has sorted this out for me by simply classifying everything as part of a project and sorting it into Action Steps, Backburner Items and References has given me better flexibility to cope with an eclectic work environment.

As the Action Method is focused on execution, much of the book is given over to day-to-day execution and how to progress a given project. What the book doesn't deal with is longer term, higher level goal-type systems and for this, you'd be better off trying something else, but if you want a good, simple method of processing daily actions then this is a good book to own.

Overall, I think the book is slightly too long and does labour some points: Maybe that's because Belsky is good at getting his points across in writing. The book also over-labours the "celebrity" examples.
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38 of 41 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideas + Action Method = High-Impact 25 May 2010
By Robert Morris TOP 500 REVIEWER
Anyone with much experience with brainstorming sessions already knows that "making ideas" is quite easy. Making them HAPPEN is quite a different challenge and a much more formidable one. Again I am reminded of Thomas Edison's admonition, "Vision without execution is hallucination." What we have in this book is a remarkably comprehensive as well as a lively and informative discussion of how almost anyone can develop the capacity to master a process that Scott Belsky characterizes as a "primer":

1. You have ideas (yours or someone else's) that you want to make happen: "Most ideas get lost in what I call the `project plateau,' a period of intense execution where your natural creative tendencies turn against you." Belsky explains what these tendencies are as well as how to avoid of overcome them.

2. Making ideas happen == ideas + Organization = Communal forces = Leadership capability: "We will dive into ach of these forces and discuss how you should use them in your own creative pursuits." Belsky delivers in abundance on that promise.

3. Organization enables you to manage and ultimately execute your ideas...or someone else's: "The Action Method [that Belsky explains and discusses in detail] is a composite of the best practices for productivity shared by creative leaders." Belsky has picked the brains of hundreds of the most productive creative thinkers and shares their most valuable insights, as well as his own. Better yet, he organizes them in the aforementioned Action Method, a cohesive, comprehensive, and cost-effective system to make ideas happen.

4. The forces of community are invaluable and readily available: "Ideas don't happen in isolation.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
"Surely, as I have thought, so it shall come to pass,
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:" -- Isaiah 14:24 (NKJV)

Psychologists estimate that the average person has over 10,000 thoughts a day. I believe that because I once met a consultant who would share almost that many thoughts with me every time we met. The only problem was that these weren't very useful thoughts . . . but he sure loved each and every one. I took to peeking around corners so I could avoid his latest informal briefing. That's one kind of problem that people have with their ideas . . . they don't attract any interest.

Mr. Belsky organizes the method of turning ideas into action according this formula:

"(The Idea) + Organization and Execution + Forces of Community + Leadership Capability"

The book digs into this formula by first proposing a way of organizing work on ideas (the Action Method). I found the proposal to be reasonably similar to the way I organize my work so I suggest you take it seriously if you have trouble keeping track of what's going on the moving things forward expeditiously. I agree with the key point that it takes a lot of effort to turn an idea into reality. Most of my books were conceived of in a few seconds or minutes, but the work involved to write and produce one takes months of dedicated, consistent effort. Implementations that build on the books take 100 times more effort.

I also agree with the point about concentrating your efforts. Otherwise you get 1 percent of a lot of things done, which amounts to nothing being accomplished.

I thought that Mr. Belsky also did a good job of pointing out how collaboration helps. Right on!

I personally found the section on leadership capability to be the most practical.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Making Ideas Happen.
This was bought for my son who is a Graphic Designer - so very well received, thank you. Earned me some 'good Mum' points!
Published 3 months ago by ann henderson
3.0 out of 5 stars A lot of good tips for nearly everything
This is a quite extensive book which address a lot of topics beyond the making ideas happen.
As such, it gives you a lot of good tips useful for your day to day life, some of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Nervys
4.0 out of 5 stars strong book with a slightly weaker ending
I found the first 3/4 of the book really good, with well thought out points and excellent examples. I didn't get so much from the last few sections, they felt a bit like flabby... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Mr Mark J Stanley
5.0 out of 5 stars Big help for creative minds
This book really helped me sort out my muddled mind and desk. Very informative on how to put things into perspective and how to prioritise things so you don't get overwhelmed
Published 5 months ago by C Latham
4.0 out of 5 stars Good read
Good thought provoking read. I bought it mainly for more info on "The Action Method" way of getting things done. Read more
Published 12 months ago by bang
4.0 out of 5 stars Good system and common sense advice
I didn't find this book was trying to sell the Behance Network Action Plan Method. A few chapters highlighted it and gave a convincing argument why it works. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Quill Head
3.0 out of 5 stars Looks like pretty typical consultant-talk to me
For some reason that I don't recall this book was recommended to me because apparently it was slanted towards artists.
To some extent it is. Read more
Published 15 months ago by Greg
5.0 out of 5 stars It just works
The book's cover has a one-line review from `Seth Godin' which states "This book can quite simply change your life". Read more
Published on 2 Mar 2012 by Jide Rotilu
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book on getting things done for creative people
I got this book mainly for the approach towards the creative process. And it also was suggested by a friend. Read more
Published on 26 Oct 2011 by Steven C
1.0 out of 5 stars A little too simple
I was actually quite eager to read this book. But got somewhat disappointed. Basically, it seems that the "tricks" are:
* to keep a well prioritized list of actions that bring... Read more
Published on 8 Feb 2011 by Poul
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