April 5, 2013
Staff Picks: How to Be Interesting
This week, Dylan and I went to go see Jessica Hagy speak at the wonderful Lynden Sculpture Garden. Hagy, an ex-advertising copywriter who now creates doodles and charts with keen observations on people and the situations they find themselves in, presented a summary of her "10 Simple Steps" from her new book How to Be Interesting (In 10 Simple Steps).
After enjoying her previous book Indexed, which consisted solely of pages of charts and minimal commentary, I was curious what her presentation might consist of. Silence, while hilarious charts appeared on screen? An attempt to verbalize the complexity of ideas within charts? The answer, a bit of both! But just as interesting as the formal presentation itself was Hagy's informal chat about how she works and what she's working toward. While most of her answers to the audience's questions revolved around the internet, she also talked about observing different types of people in public situations, which usually provided inspiration during any period of writer's (or doodler's) block. So, How to Be Interesting. The title is both funny and curious, and that's exactly the talent Hagy has. Being interesting is a primal need, yet when do people really talk about this in a way that doesn't have some kind of agenda behind it? In the book, there are very obvious, concrete statements combined with peripheral emotions, goals, and personality traits that we all have brushed with at one time or another. Consider this example:
Recall What Makes You Cry A place. A person. A creature. A song. Now devote a little more of yourself to that memory.Hagy includes this not to come across as some lonely poet, but as a way for the reader to consider something that "Moves you to ACT up & SPEAK out." In fact, the book is 100% about action, encouraging people to make the changes they want to make in their lives: be innovative, share, develop confidence, explore, try, fail, and ultimately succeed at being the best you can be. Change the world. That is, after all, what makes us interesting. It was great to meet in person, but this was not our first interaction with the author. A few years ago over at ChangeThis, we published her manifesto, "Indexing a Career." Check that out for starters, and then pick up a copy of her latest book, or a stack for your team. After all, don't you want to work with an entire company of interesting people?