The one sentence summary

Creativity can solve almost any problem because the defeat of habit by originality overcomes everything.


  • This is all about how to unleash your creative potential.
  • There are 120 life lessons from the man who has been described as the enfant terrible of the US advertising world.
  • Such a book is fairly impossible to summarise, but here are some good ones that stood out.
  • A trend is always a trap. The fact that others are moving in a certain direction is unhelpful. A new direction (against any trend) is the only direction.
  • You can never learn anything from a mistake. Failures are supposed to shake you up, but that would be the end of fearless thinking. Never give your failures a second thought.
  • Great work must be presented to the person who has the power to accept it. All underlings can say no, so you need to get past them to the true decision maker.
  • Reject group grope. Groups of people just grope around but don’t get anywhere. Decisive creativity happens with one, two or three people.
  • Any great creative idea should stun momentarily. It should seem to be outrageous. Safe work is a ticket to oblivion.
  • The history of the art of mankind can inspire breakthrough conceptual thinking in any field. Visit great museums for inspiration.
  • A thinking person must read, study, question, evaluate, and not let the bullshitters bullshit you. Self-explanatory, this one.
  • “Art is the lie that tells the truth.” Picasso was right: if the brand communication is irreverent and audacious, it can be the difference between parity products.
  • If you’re going to criticise something, don’t hold back. Don’t be kind when you are judging work – you’ll end up with sub-standard stuff.
  • Speak up. If you have a decent idea, say it. Equally, if you’re afraid to speak out, maybe it’s not worth saying.
  • Speak clearly. Present your ideas without saying y’know, like and umm every other sentence.
  • Create advertising that is icon rather than con. You need a deep belief that your message is more than the purchase of a product or service.
  • You’ll never be the creative person you aspire to be if you don’t know where it all came from. Learn your creative history. You can’t create the future without knowing what came before it.


  • Some of the references are a little old-fashioned, and the reference point is mainly advertising, but most points ring true nonetheless.