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Dangerous Ideas on the Business of Life
Foreword by Danielle LaPorte
Read by James Victore
Formats and Prices
Format:Audiobook Download (Unabridged)
This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 25, 2019. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.
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Begin before you’re ready and other lessons on living a happy and creative life: Renowned designer and professional hell-raiser James Victore wants to drag you off your couch and throw you headfirst into a life of bold creativity. In Feck Perfuction, Victore will guide you through all the twists, trials, and triumphs of starting your creative career, from finding your voice to picking the right moment to start a project (hint: It’s now). Bring your biggest, craziest, most revolutionary ideas, and he will give you the kick in the pants you need to make them real.
- Filled with humor and stern advice, Feck Perfuction provides “dangerous ideas” for unearthing your authentic self, including “the things that made you weird as a kid make you great today,” “the struggle is everything,” and many more.
- No matter what industry or medium you work in, this book will help you live, work, and create freely and fearlessly.
- James Victore is an award-winning designer for bold believers, an advocate for creativity, a sought after teacher and speaker, and an artist whose work is exhibited around the globe.
Begin before you’re ready, live dangerously, take a risk, and other lessons on living a purpose-driven life
James gave us an assignment. Bowls of various drawing utensils were on the table. He passed each of us an article from the New York Times to read. There was heavy, thoughtful sighing from the group. Were we up to the task? Brows furrowed. Nervous tics were triggered.
When time was up, we broke the silence to present/defend our sketches on racism, privilege, and cultural divides. James was listening, deeply, smoothing the tips of his moustache. And then with equal parts compassion and dagger: “The point . . . ,” he said, “is to have a fucking opinion.”
Because you can’t make art without an opinion. You can’t teach the world anything without shattering your assumptions. You cannot break free of status quo zombification until you learn to discern truth for yourself.
The anxiety that we normalize, the dulling effect of unquestioned obligations, the thud of “Is this all there is?” when we cross the finish line . . . we don’t have to live this way. Just ask the Creatives on the other side. The Fulfilled People. They are not without their agonies—in fact the more woke you get, the more pain you access. But oh, man, the freedom, the depth, the living.
Victore believes that normalcy is barbed wire to the human spirit. And questions are the wire cutters. This book is a subversive tool for consciousness-raising from a curmudgeonly mystic who doesn’t give a shit what anyone thinks, but who is passionately in love with the world. It’s a plea from the heart: Have a fucking opinion and go make something with it.
We are all born wildly creative. Some of us just forget.
As children we are completely free. We can draw and dream and invent imaginary worlds, even imaginary friends. This gift of creativity makes us powerful but also awkward, weird, and vulnerable.
At some point and for various reasons, our weirdness becomes less an asset than a target. We learn to hide our great and goofy qualities in order to dodge criticism and assimilate. We choose not to stand out or act on our creativity. We take the accepted “adult” route, content to be paid for learning rote skills and showing up on time.
In this reality, choosing to accept our weirdness, invent our own future, and live a purpose-driven life becomes a dangerous idea. It’s dangerous because it lets the creative beast out of its cage and allows us to see what we are capable of without seeking permission or approval. Dangerous because it opens up the possibility that the life you’re living may not actually be yours, but a template assigned to you by scared and unimaginative people. These are dangerous ideas because they challenge your ego, your definition of “normal,” your crappy job, and your comfort zone. These are dangerous ideas on creativity and life.
Feck Perfuction is a collection of the lessons I’ve learned, developed, and followed throughout my career. They come from psychology, sociology, philosophy, and the crazy things my mom said—that have all turned out to be true. These are lessons in unearthing our authentic selves in our personal and professional lives. They are also the mementos that I use to be confident, find creative fulfillment, and get paid for being me.
It is not my intention to be inspirational or make you feel good—but rather to challenge you. I want to ask difficult questions of you, to force introspection and possibly change. I want to tempt you with the possibility that your creativity is not a “weekend” thing, but an integral part of who you are and something that you should start getting paid for—because inspiration without action is bullshit.
This book will reintroduce you to your voice, reconnect you with your weird gifts, and help you find your purpose. Full of stern, funny, and fatherly advice, Feck Perfuction tells you things you don’t want to hear in a way you want to hear them. It’s your guide, your coach, and your cheerleader.
I know from experience that this collection makes for resolutely difficult advice—and is not for everybody. I wrote this book for me, but I hope you find your dangerous self in it.
Chapter 1. Voice
Your voice is who you are. Maybe not the “you” you carry around every day, but the one yelling from inside, demanding to be heard. Your voice is the way you see the world and how you translate it back. When you train your voice and allow it to grow and be heard, that beautiful sound will carve a path for you to follow for life. Conversely, if you fail to use your voice, others will be in charge of it. And you. Never give in, never surrender. Your voice is your most powerful tool.
01. Your parents were wrong
Parents are amateurs. I mean no slight to parents or to amateurs; I am both. But, growing up, we are given only a few options as to our future path. Either we’re told that we can be anything we want, even president. Or that we are to follow a predestined, familial path with a title like MD, PhD, Dr., or Esq. These ideas aren’t necessarily wrong, but they are misleading. Your purpose on this planet isn’t to become a millionaire, build a 401K, or even get a good job—your purpose is to figure out who or what you are. If you can do that, everything else is frosting. The great oracle herself, Dolly Parton, tells us, “Find out who you are and do it on purpose.”
Classically this is called “knowing thyself.” Admittedly not an easy task. Many of us are presented with a track to follow that may not be our choice. Just because you were born on a farm doesn’t mean you were born to be a farmer. In my hometown, two fields were popular (meaning you could possibly make a living at them): nurse or prison guard. I felt no attraction to either. My calling was for the arts, but I disregarded it because I was told it was something “talented” people did, and I didn’t want to grow up to be a “starving artist.” But the creative urge proved too strong—and painfully obvious—so I chose to ignore the critics, and to fight and sometimes fail in order to see my vision through. I still do.
You can’t ignore your DNA. The worst thing you can do is deny who you are, try to be someone or something you’re not, and live a life bent and molded by others. As Oscar Wilde put it, “Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.” Ouch.
You can be a musician, an accountant, or a sexy, powerful, creative beast—but you have to be yourself first. You have to follow that star. Others without the grit and guts will have to be satisfied with becoming president.
02. Have a damn opinion
There’s an American gospel song with the powerful refrain, “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” We all have that little light. It’s lit by our upbringing and our childhood. It’s our history, our travels, the things we love, and the things we fear. Our little light is our opinion—and it begs to be illuminated.
Sadly, most of us don’t let our light shine, for two reasons: It’s too easy and it’s too hard.
It’s too easy because it’s “little.” It’s familiar to us. We pooh-pooh our own opinion and don’t see the value of what we have to offer. After all, “Who’d be interested in me or what I have to say or my voice?” It’s too hard because once we acknowledge it, we have to trust it and share it with the world, and we live in fear that someone may not like it. This is a completely valid fear, because the truth is, not everyone will love your voice. But this division is how you define your audience, how you find the ones who will love you for who you are. If you play it safe and choke back your real voice, you are like a rudderless ship, taking directions from the waves.
Your voice is the story you put into everything you do. It’s what sets you apart and makes you and your work memorable. It frees you from following trends or begging for ideas, asking, “What do they want?” Now your most powerful tool is asking yourself, “What do I have to say?”
03. The things that made you weird as a kid make you great today
When I was a kid, I was full of wordplay and jokes. I loved to sing loudly and poorly. My best talent was entertaining my fifth-grade friends by drawing naked ladies. They looked more like lumpy potatoes, but my audience didn’t care. Unfortunately, my level of energy and enthusiasm lacked appreciation at home or at school. I was called “creative”—and it was not a compliment.
As kids, we’re all weird. We have our interests and activities, and we like to run them full throttle. As we get older, we realize there’s a price to standing out, so we shrink from our weirdness in fear of anyone finding out who we really are. Being weird or different—even creative—should be not a source of shame or embarrassment but a torch to be held high. Weird is about the courage to be who you were born to be. Nerdy, goofy, fidgety; these are strengths. These are gifts! The things that made you weird as a kid are the source of your character and creative powers. These are the base elements of who you are. Not perfect. Not trying. Just yourself. If you hide them, you risk never knowing what you’re capable of.
Professionally, weird is a benefit. For some fields, it’s a damn prerequisite. Any “successful” actor, chef, musician, athlete, or comedian, when asked what contributed to their success, will answer, “When I was a kid . . .” Pop-culture icon and astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson remembers looking up into the night sky as a child and says, “The universe called me.”
When you accept your weirdness and believe in your gifts is when things get really weird. That’s when your cause inspires others. When people see their own struggle reflected in yours, you create the potential for shared humanity. Your weirdness speaks to them. That’s when you find those people who accept you precisely because you’re weird and different. Ultimately you’ll hear that glorious refrain: “Oh, you’re weird, too? I thought I was the only one!” This is how you form relationships and businesses. This is how you find your audience.
Accept it: You’re weird.
04. In the particular lies the universal
- “In James Victore’s new book, he unequivocally proves why he is the master he is. In every chapter, he challenges and inspires the reader to reach for more, to try harder, and to create our best selves. It is a magnificent and momentous experience. (All true.)” —Debbie Millman, host of Design Matters
- “James Victore got famous creating tough posters that shook me to the core. He now does the same using the written word. To you.” —Stefan Sagmeister, designer
- “James Victore is a dangerous man. His ideas on optimizing your creativity, doing wow work, and building a life that inspires will devastate your limits. And show you how to win. Read this book fast.” —Robin Sharma, bestselling author of The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari
- “Over the past decade, James has served as a constant reminder for me to have the courage and the audacity to be my weird self. Feck Perfuction is a beautiful case study into why so many of us have found our life’s work when we are our most authentic and when we get comfortable with being our most uncomfortable. Ignore this book at your peril.” —Harley Finkelstein, COO of Shopify
- “There are five books that are so important in what they have to say that I gift them to others. Now, there are six.” —David Hieatt, cofounder of The Do Lectures and Hiut Denim Co.
- “This book is a must. I know James Victore as an artist and teacher who moves people—as someone who encourages people’s best creative work. This book uses art and design as the teaspoon of sugar to awaken the greatness within us all.” —Chase Jarvis, photographer and founder and CEO of Creative Live
- “Victore provides us a baseline for clarity—permission to explore, play, and stumble. Stumbling is critical if you want to become your own personal hero as an artist, entrepreneur, or individual. A fascinating look at the potential in us all. Thanks James.” —Charles Adler, cofounder of Kickstarter
- “Victore’s insights are piercing and invaluable. He reinforces our willingness to be misunderstood and determination to never fall for the mediocrity of practicality. If you care about your work, and care to unleash yourself, read this book.” —Scott Belsky, founder of Behance and author of Making Ideas Happen
- “We’ve had the good fortune to work with James Victore from day one—his iconic cover designs set the tone for our book company. When you have someone creative and fearless in your corner, you become more like that. And these qualities are necessary in any industry. That’s what this book will give you: creative courage. Read Feck Perfuction then go out and fight the good fight. The Art of War for creatives.” —Miranda West, founder and publisher of The Do Book Company
- On Sale
- Jun 25, 2019
- Chronicle Books