Book Review: Creative Calling

Reclaiming Failure Book Review - Creative Calling, by Chase Jarvis

You will make mistakes, run into obstacles, and downright fail at each and every phase of the creative process from idea through launch. Together, let’s get better at it. Let’s fail better.”

Chase Jarvis’ book, Creative Calling, is a reflective look at Jarvis’ creative journey and his ideas around the creative process. While the book itself isn’t about failure, per se, failure is found throughout. Part tactical, part motivational, the book seems to be targeting the “creative” on its face. Of course, those in a creative pursuit might find some of the advice in the book more readily accessible, but Jarvis does a reasonable job of broadening the book’s audience. He does often veer into “business” or “entrepreneurship”, working to include them in the canon of “creativity”.

Structurally, the book fleshes out Jarvis’ own model for developing one’s creative pursuit, represented by the acronym IDEA (Imagine, Design, Execute, Amplify).  The book’s four sections work to flesh these out using personal examples, a little research, and some tactical advice.  Failure, as a topic, comes in under the “Execute” section.  In this part of the book, Jarvis address many of the themes around failure and reclaiming failure, including overcoming fear and the impostor syndrome, mindfulness and practice, and the importance of taking action.

Creative Calling is a good book.  If you are trying to get started in a creative pursuit, then it is a great book.  The section on failure spends a lot of time talking about Jarvis’ Best Camera app, which was a first-to-market predecessor to Instagram that ultimately lost the race (at least in part) because of some bad business decisions.  Despite this, there are some good nuggets of wisdom to be found in there, especially as failure is connected to creative work.

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