Thursday, March 24, 2011

Evil Plans

I've made no secret of the fact that I am a BIG Hugh MacLeod fan.  So, I was super excited when his new book Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination came out.  I actually bought it the exact day it hit the shelves in Canada.  Then I took a picture of it on the shelf.  Then I tweeted it.

Yes. Seriously.

Evil Plans is the follow up to MacLeod's bestseller Ignore Everybody which I talked about here.

Following the format of short chapters interspersed with MacLeod's business card cartoons (his "nom de plume" as you might call it is @gapingvoid), Evil Plans is MacLeod's narrative on building a plan to do something you absolutely love, and make a living from it.

He draws on the examples of numerous friends, colleagues and mentors to deliver pithy anecdotes.  The credibility however, is that MacLeod himself is living his Evil Plan.  He was in New York, working in advertising, which he hated and started working on his evil plan (though he may not have recognized it as such back then).  He started drawing and blogging and working with a winery.  Now, although he seems to be into everything, he himself will say he is primarily an artist.  Making money as an artist.  That is his Evil Plan.

The book is not typical business fare.  It is folksy in its delivery.  As always, the cartoons are funny (if not always relevant to the specific text) while making various points about business, love and life.

While this is not a step-by-step manual, it has some great advice.  The one that sticks out in particular for me is the chapter called "The Twenty: Control the Conversation by Improving the Conversation".  MacLeod talks about identifying the 20 people that you need to be connected to or at least aware of in order to make your evil plan fly.  Sounds simple enough, doesn't it?  I started the exercise and found that although it may be easy to find "The Twenty", figuring out how to engage, takes time, patience and effort.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about evil plans of varying degrees.  I am actually living a small one and didn't even realize it.  Many years ago, when I had my first child, I told my husband that by the time he was a teenager, I wanted to be able to spend more time at home, to be here for him.  I worked my ass off to get to a point in my career and life where I could make that happen.

The next evil plan is a little more problematic as it would require a significant lottery jackpot to make it happen quickly.  While I don't hate what I do now, I know that I would love to make that evil plan happen.  With this handy motivational tool on my nightstand, I keep reminding myself that although Evil Plans may be the Best Plans, they are also the ones that will take the most labour and love to make them happen.