Book Review: The Big Thing

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Big Thing by Phyllis Korkki

My Rating: 2.5/5
My Estimated Rating for someone who actually has a Big Thing in the works: 4/5

Genre: Nonfiction, Self-Help, Creativity, Inspiration

From the publisher: New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.
Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success.

"On the other hand, the twisted path can be quite complex and beautiful in its way, and more so for not being so simple and straightforward."

Let me start by saying that I actually see a lot of good in this book. While my personal rating of it is relatively low, I do see why so many people are already loving it. However, for me, I think this wasn't the right or necessary time to read this book. While I do have a vague fantasy of writing my own novel someday, I'm still young and more focused on a balanced day-to-day life than cracking down to write the next Great American Novel. I do think I'll hold onto this book, though, as I can see myself later in life appreciating it so much more as I actually look realistically at the possibility of my own Big Thing, whatever it may be. 

In this book it is incredibly clear that Korkki did extensive research and interviewing during the writing process. I was consistently impressed at the amount of information included, as well as her willingness to try any advice she received from experts. As an estimate, I'd say about 30% of this book is Korkki reflecting on her own experiences, 60% is her interviewing people and discussing their multitude of diverse outside experiences, and a mere 10% is her talking about what YOU should do. Keep that in mind as you pick it up. If you're someone who thrives on being informed and inspired by the experiences of others, this is absolutely a perfect book for you. A huge majority of the book is dedicated to 2-8 page long interviews/mini-biographies of people who range widely from rich and famous to poor and modest, and both living and dead. These people are artists, writers, entrepreneurs, housewives, aging drug addicts, long-dead cultural icons, and so on. Some of these mini-stories fascinated me; some dragged on or felt far-removed from the overall point.

I will say, this book would be very easy to skim. There were certainly portions even for me that I speed-read through or glazed over. In other parts, I was riveted, underlining passages and making notes in the margins. And I think that variation is okay. This book is separated into larger overarching topics, including things like physical studies on sleep, breathing and wellness, as well as more typical topics like loving your work and building piece by piece. Every reader will relate to some concepts more than others, and that's alright. The parts I found interesting in this book could easily be the opposite for another reader. I read this primarily to gain some insights, and I certainly did. However, I do still think I'll receive it better at another point in my life. 

If you have a Big Thing in progress, or an idea waiting in the back of you mind, I highly recommend this book as the next step in teaching and inspiring you towards your goal.

I received this book through TLC Book Tours and I'm a part of the blog tour for this book! Check out the full tour here to see some other great opinions from other bloggers. 

Book Links for Amazon, B & N, Goodreads and HarperCollins
Author Twitter page

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this book for the tour.