Things Are What You Make of Them Book Review ( @adamjk @TarcherPerigree ) from @kleffnotes

Adam J. Kurtz uses his humorous tone to share advice on how to handle some of life’s stressful moments in his brand new book, Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives. The tone of the book is wonderfully upbeat and his words are matched perfectly with bright and vibrant colors. Each piece of advice is presented on the image of a piece of notebook paper in a handwritten style on an almost neon background. One huge perk is that you can easily tear out any of the pages to post them around your home or work space for a little bit of motivation every day.

Things Are What You Make of Them is broken down into 13 sections that examine different elements of someone who works in a creative fields daily life. Kurtz begins by explaining how to get started on a project and how to hit what he calls “the creative sweet spot.” If you haven’t read any of Kurtz’s previous work, I can promise you that this first chapter shows just how talented he is at balancing really strong advice with his engaging and humorous writing style. I absolutely loved that the first bit of advice was titled, “Blleerrghhh.” While that might not be an actual word it perfectly explains that feeling you have when you have to get ready to start working on something, especially if it’s something you aren’t exactly looking forward to.

The two sections that resonated the most with me were “How to Be Happier” and “Using Your Power for Good.” These happen to follow each other in the book and provided the perfect peak for me within a collection of exceptional advice. Within “How to Be Happier” Kurtz starts by suggesting that you embrace yourself and acknowledge what makes you special and what you have to offer the world. He then goes on to note that you have to understand your own emotions and any dark thoughts that are lingering inside your mind. I loved the idea of celebrating everything and focusing not on where you want to wind up, but on the things you create along the way to your final goal. “Using Your Power for Good” discusses using your creative talents to create a positive impact in some way. Kurtz suggests connecting with whatever audience you have and using your skills to honestly communicate in order to meet your goal. Recently I’ve been trying to find a way to do something positive and this section gave me some really solid ideas for planning and moving forward.

This entire book is such a delight to read and I can’t recommend it enough as the perfect tool for helping you to grow as a more positive and productive person. Even if you don’t consider yourself a creative Kurtz’s advice is something that everyone can benefit from. Something that I didn’t expect was his delightfully fun Acknowledgements section, definitely make sure you read all the way to the end.

Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives is available today in stores and online.

Share your thoughts with us in the comments or on Twitter, @thenerdygirlexp. You can find me on Twitter, @kleffnotes, on my blog,, on my kleffnotes YouTube channel, and I run The Nerdy Girl Express Snapchat, thenerdygirlexp.

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