One of my favorite shows on the Discovery was MythBusters. Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman were a really fun duo as they hosted the show and led hundreds of experiments and tests. I was delighted when I saw that Adam was writing a book sharing life lessons he’s learned through “making” over the years.
Adam is a massive supporter and advocate of the maker world. I’ve loved following him on Twitter and seeing projects and organizations he’s working on beyond MythBusters. I figured I could learn a thing or two from him and I was right. If you’re into creating “things” — whether they’re digital or physical — I think you’ll enjoy this book.
Knowing that missing a deadline wouldn’t be the end of me as a maker freed me to channel all the stress tied up with a ticking clock into a focused perspective on productivity.
I listed to this book rather than reading a physical copy, so my notes are sparse. I still wanted to share some standout quotes from my listening.
When we say we need to teach kids how to fail, we aren’t really telling the full truth. What we mean when we say that is simply that creation is iteration and that we need to give ourselves the room to try things that might not work in the pursuit of something that will.
On enthusiasm, passion, and shame in our making:
The things we love tend to make us quite vulnerable.
Reflecting on pulling all nighters trying to meet deadlines to create things:
There is no skill in the world, I have since discovered, at which you get better the less sleep you have.
Learning new skills of leading and managing others:
When you’re the boss — when the buck stops with you — then you need to be able to deliver the right feedback at the right time.
On list making and deadlines:
Knowing that missing a deadline wouldn’t be the end of me as a maker freed me to channel all the stress tied up with a ticking clock into a focused perspective on productivity. It gave me the skills to solve complex problems while keeping my eye on the ultimate goal of the project, whatever it might be that day.
On sketching and drawing ideas and plans before getting to work on them:
Knowing that you can build something isn’t the same as knowing how you’re going to build it.
Simply about sharing what you know and learn:
Sharing information is the fuel for the engine of progress.
All excerpts © 2019 Adam Savage
© 2023 Erik Reagan unless otherwise noted
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