The Creative Act: A Way of Being

by Rick Rubin


2023 Jan 30


From the legendary music producer, a master at helping people connect with the wellsprings of their creativity, comes a beautifully crafted book many years in the making that offers that same deep wisdom to all of us.

Many famed music producers are known for a particular sound that has its day. Rick Rubin is known for something else: creating a space where artists of all different genres and traditions can home in on who they really are and what they really offer. He has made a practice of helping people transcend their self-imposed expectations in order to reconnect with a state of innocence from which the surprising becomes inevitable. Over the years, as he has thought deeply about where creativity comes from and where it doesn’t, he has learned that being an artist isn’t about your specific output, it’s about your relationship to the world. Creativity has a place in everyone’s life, and everyone can make that place larger. In fact, there are few more important responsibilities.

The Creative Act is a beautiful and generous course of study that illuminates the path of the artist as a road we all can follow. It distills the wisdom gleaned from a lifetime’s work into a luminous reading experience that puts the power to create moments—and lifetimes—of exhilaration and transcendence within closer reach for all of us.

Notes & Highlights

An intention is more than a conscious purpose, it’s the congruence of that purpose. It requires an alignment of all aspects of one’s self. Of conscious thought and unconscious beliefs, of capabilities and commitment, of actions when working and not. It’s a state of living in harmonic agreement with oneself. ~p.94

In our artistic pursuits, we also rely on habits to get from one point to another. Some of them don’t serve the work or they undermine its progress. When we stay open and pay close attention, it is possible to recognize these less helpful habits and soften their spell. And begin to explore new practices. Ones that come in and out of our creative lives like temporary collaborators, remaining as long as they serve the work and departing when they are no longer beneficial. ~p.138

The fear of drought and the impulse for perfectionism prevent us from moving on and block the river’s flow.
Each mindset evokes a universal rule: whatever we concentrate on, we get.
If the mind creates a world that is limited, where we think we don’t have enough worthwhile ideas or material, we will not see the inspiration the universe is providing.
And the river slows.
In the abundant world, we have a greater capacity to complete and release our work. When there are so many ideas available and so much great art to make, we are compelled to engage. ~p.201

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The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin