Five Books That Are Nothing and Everything to Do with Songwriting

Five Books That Are Nothing and Everything to Do with Songwriting

One of the big ideas I write about a lot is that songwriting isn’t just about songwriting. Songwriting is about life, because art is about life. You have to be good at being a person before you can be good at being a songwriter. It’s an idea I come back to time and time again in my own book, but here are five of the most important places I picked these ideas up in the first place.   Stephen R. Covey: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Some days it feels like the Internet is 98% self-help advice and 98% of that isn’t great advice. But Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits is absolutely the real deal. Whatever you’re trying to do with your life. The seven habits cover private victory – mastering yourself – as well as public victory – mastering interpersonal relationships. It’s hard to do justice to how powerful and life-changing the ideas in this book are. It’s for good reason The Seven Habits has sold over fifteen million copies around the world, and you’re at a serious disadvantage if you don’t own one too.   Brené Brown: Daring Greatly As one of the terrorists in Team America: World Police famously said, “I like balls”. And if you’re a songwriter, you should like balls too. Because nothing worthwhile happens without a healthy dose of chutzpah. In fact, creativity can’t happen without courage. Creativity means uncertainty, and mustering the courage to face that uncertainty is 90% of creative success. But don’t just take my word for it – let Brené Brown explain it much better than I can. If you’re interested in bringing more creativity, vulnerability...
Alan Watts: Music and Life

Alan Watts: Music and Life

I never let my schooling interfere with my education. MARK TWAIN A wonderful education is a wonderful thing. The more we know, the more possibilities open up. The more we train our minds, the more we can do with them. But sometimes education becomes schooling. It becomes about passing exams. It becomes about living up to teachers’, professors’, parents’ expectations. It becomes about knowing things for the sake of knowing things without any thought to how much value knowing those particular things might afford. Worst of all, sometimes education becomes a target. A required checkpoint. A fixed point in time we can say ‘I’m done. I know what I need to know.’ We encourage this view with shiny bits of paper, fancy ceremonies and grade-quoting on our resumés. But education doesn’t work like this. Life is a constant journey of learning new things. If we focus too much on achieving the next checkpoint, we lose the thrill of the journey along the way. We focus too much on jumping through hoops and forget that education is exploration, forging our own path, getting lost and found and lost and found again on the way. There’s no syllabus in life. That’s not to say school or college courses don’t have any value. Far from it. All we have to remember is these courses are never about the end – the exams, the grades, the certificates, the graduation – but the experiences that help us get there. Here’s Alan Watts — philosopher, speaker and writer — and his thoughts on education, with animation by Matt Stone and Trey Parker of South Park...
“Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls.”

“Smart may have the brains, but stupid has the balls.”

Being an innovator means taking risks. Saying yes. Being unpredictable. Being carefree. Being stupid. No-one worth caring about will remember you for your creative failures. But one major success and you’re a hit. The lesson? Fail big and fail often. Put your work out into the world and move on to the next thing. The secret? Be smart by being stupid. Then sit back and see what happens.   Thanks to the good folks at Diesel for the...