I definitely read a lot of non-fiction books, and when Paul Jarvis told me he was going to be releasing his new book soon I knew I had to pick it up. With a title like Everything I Know, I had no doubt it would be a worthwhile read.
And I was right.
Everything I Know is a fairly short read that reveals itself more like a kick in the ass than a fireside chat, which is a very good thing for those folks who get caught up in reading about getting work done instead of actually getting work done.
“The only way to really see if and how your work connects with people is to do it and then put it out there.” – excerpt from Everything I Know by Paul Jarvis
Paul hit several notes with me during the book (which is actually divided into three “books”), the primary note in the section entitled “Start by Stopping”. Based on the time of year I’ve read this — coming to the time of year where I start to recharge, renew, and plan things going forward — the message in that section resonated with me in particular.
Some of the messages Paul delivers in Everything I Know aren’t necessarily new, they are just presented differently. For example, his idea of having no goals is something Leo Babauta of Zen Habits has touted for some time. That said, Paul explains his reasoning in a style all his own — which is fitting considering that he definitely has carved his own way of doing things. Things that have helped him offer some really great ideas in this book.
Another example would be a common theme (especially in the middle part of the book): fear. I’ve written about fear here before and many other authors (including Steven Pressifeld) have taken fear to task as well in their work. Again, Paul presents his thoughts on fear in a manner that provides a new perspective on the theme.
Not everything in Everything I Know will work for you, but a lot of it will. Some of it may seem fresh and some of it may serve as a reminder; I experienced both as I read it. Paul Jarvis is a great writer and is someone who works very hard on getting better at his craft. If you’re looking to get better at your craft and find yourself in a state of “stuckness” or in a recurring state of not knowing what to do — not so much next…but now — then get yourself a copy of Everything I Know. Paul Jarvis may not know everything, but what he does know is valuable…and definitely worth reading.
Book cover credit: Marc Johns via SXC.HU