“Big Magic” Book Review: Insights from Off Madison Ave

by Staff Written

April 3, 2020 at 4:23 pm

As a creative person, how do you find inspiration in everyday life? Is there a method to the madness that is creativity? These are questions which, if we let them, could easily overwhelm us. However, the answers to these and more are navigated with pure spark, thanks to the latest book by renowned author Elizabeth Gilbert.

“Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear” is an inspirational read. It’s as if you are having a conversation with the author herself. Gilbert repurposes her experiences into lessons on how to reconnect with your dreams, unleash your creativity and give yourself permission to truly be – and create – what your heart desires. The explosion of color that is the book’s front cover is only a morsel of the inner strength and charisma Gilbert conveys to her readers throughout the book. As you read, it shifts your perspective of the typical creative process and reignites your passion to think differently. For Gilbert, there’s no holding back on your ideas. And there’s no time to waste!

These are a few favorite key takeaways from the team at Off Madison Ave:

 “Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them.”

My favorite chapters are about the so-called “Shit Sandwich” of life and the one about “Having a Love Affair” with what you truly love doing and want to do.

– Dave Anderson

“So many of us believe in perfection, which ruins everything else, because the perfect is not only the enemy of the good; it’s also the enemy of the realistic, the possible and the fun.”

The book included this quote from Rebecca Solnit that I loved. As someone looking to balance the desire of perfection with more realistic expectations, this section really resonated with me.

– Jessica Urgiles

I loved the quote “Be the weirdo who dares to enjoy” and “You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.” And finally, “perfectionism is just fear in fancy shoes and a mink coat.”

– Jenn Canterbury

One of my favorite lines from the book was in the part about persistence. “The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence and truth—and these elements are universally accessible.”

For me, this meant we were all equal, we all matter. The world of advertising has a persona that “creativity is the most important thing,“ and therefore not being a “creative” made your role less important. This sentence allowed me to understand that belief is not accurate.

– Kriss Scheid

Gilbert believes that ideas have agency. “Ideas have no ma­teri­al body, but they do have consciousness, and they most certainly have will,” she writes. When this idea “finally realizes that you’re oblivious to its message, it will move on to someone else… but sometimes, the idea, sensing your openness, will start to do its work on you.”

This is from a quote of the book review from The New York Times, which eloquently explains the part that really stuck out to me.

– Lizzy Lowy

“You can measure your worth by your dedication to your path, not by your successes or failures.”

The most interesting concept for me was that we are often given the gift of creativity and greatness, but it will move on if you don’t commit yourself to bring it to life.

– Keri Bieber

Overall, Gilbert’s book instills a sense of purpose without limitations. Regardless of trade, industry or career experience, Gilbert perpetually reinforces how capable readers are, if they only take a moment to listen to their intuition.

Gilbert shares lessons to build towards becoming the best advocate, not only for your personal goals but for your professional ones as well. Develop a daily discipline. Take a small step each day. These actions are more invaluable than you’d think, and “Big Magic” does the job to remind you of just that. 

Is “Big Magic” on your must-read book list yet? If you’ve read it, share with us your favorite part!

Keep an eye out for Off Madison Ave’s next book club review, where we’ll discuss “Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance” by Angela Duckworth.


April 3, 2020 at 4:23 pm

Staff Written