A Strategist's Favorite Reads

by Taylor Mcferran

Building the industry bookshelf one recommended read at a time.

Whether I knew it or not, each book found a way into my world, but I never would have known that... unless I put this list together for you. 

Even if none of those books caught your eye, you can at least take a moment to reflect. See if the books you've read have shown up elsewhere.

Seeing is Forgetting the Name of the Thing One Sees, Lawrence Weschler

This book is a collection of conversations that took place with the artist Robert Irwin over 30 years. There's no massive point to this book other than to shed a little light on his process and how it evolved over the years. The thinking in this book has definitely influenced my own both in work and life.

When you set out to make an object, you sit down and make this new thing from scratch, whereas what I was now interested in was the nature of things as they already were. Given any new site, I would respond to it, modulate its presence; but first I had to be invited in.

Like Brothers, Mark and Jay Duplass

The Duplass brothers are fascinating to me. I just like the way they think. If you haven't seen any of their work then I highly recommend. Like Brothers is a memoir that touches on emotions, collaboration, relationships, and more. I find that learning about other people's processes allows me to steal what I can and apply to my own practice.

Try your best to get your work at any given stage to what you think is at least eighty percent as good as it can be. Then, when you hit a wall, share it with someone you trust and see how it can be improved.

Steal Like An Artist, Austin Kelon

Speaking of stealing, this is a classic bathroom book that is prerequisite reading for anyone trying to figure out their own process. Provides the important reminder that nothing is original and everything is stolen.

Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.

Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke

One night, I was wrapped in conversation with a new friend at a party. We were discussing ideas and going back and forth, sharing what had been inspiring us as of late. As we parted for other cocktail conversations, he left me with a book recommendation and these words; "If this book doesn't resonate as you read, immediately put it down and try again in a year, and then same again, same again." This recommendation also turned into a lesson, never be afraid to step away from something that doesn't resonate. Oh, and I've never finished the book.

Keep growing silently and earnestly, through your while development; you couldn't disturb it any more violently than by looking outside and waiting for outside answers to questions that only your innermost feeling, in your quietest hour, can perhaps answer.

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