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Book Review: “Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind And Bring Your Ideas To Life”

There’s always someone inside who holds you back by telling you that your ideas are junk or whatever you try won’t work. Himmelman says it’s time to identify and tame that other you.

“Let Me Out: Unlock Your Creative Mind and Bring Your Ideas to Life” by Peter Himmelman
c.2016, TarcherPerigee
$23.00 / $30.00 Canada
240 pages
 
Your mind is a concrete block.
 
Behind it, you’re pretty sure there are ideas – great ones, perhaps - but freeing them, well, good luck. You’re stuck, your brain is stuck, your career is stuck, and you wish you could get out of your own way so you can move ahead. So read “Let Me Out” by Peter Himmelman, and break through the wall.
 
You are never alone.
 
That’s because you always carry an inner critic with you. There’s always someone inside who holds you back by telling you that your ideas are junk, your thoughts are stupid, you can’t do something, or whatever you try won’t work. Himmelman says it’s time to identify and tame that other you.  He calls that inner critic Marv: “Majorly Afraid of Revealing Vulnerability.”
 
Of course, you already know that you can’t let your Marv get the upper hand. The way to start controlling him is to dream big but “specific;” to make exact plans; and to have your own dream, not one that someone else wants for you. Then, know who you are and why you’re here. Those things will guide you.
 
Next, throw out the words “fail” and “succeed.”  You will have many chances in your lifetime for both; those words tie you down unnecessarily. Know which phrases are your personal “Elephant Ropes” and try not to let Marv use them.
 
Remember when you once thought you could grow up to become a policeman and a ballet dancer and a veterinarian? Look for that “childlike sense of belief in your ability” and reinstate it; in fact, just learn to play again.
 
Don’t put too much stock in stereotypes: just because you work in an industry that isn’t known for being arty doesn’t mean you aren’t. Use your imagination and see yourself in the position you want to be in, five or ten years from now. Stop seeing challenges as negative instead of a chance to use your creativity. Know how to clear a “logjam” in your mind by occasionally heeding that which goes unnoticed. And finally, gather your “personal posse.”  They’ll remind you that it’s okay to make mistakes.
 
Creative. The word is right there on the cover of this book. Alas, help on that front isn’t necessarily what you’ll find inside “Let Me Out.”
 
Author Peter Himmelman, himself a founder of a business, offers readers a lot of rousing advice to help focus on dreams, which is wonderful and useful if you’re just starting out. That has little to do with being more creative, however; the “creative” part of the book comes later and is diluted by more U-Rah-Rah. Add in unnecessary cutesy replacements for business buzzwords and “Brain Bottle Openers” that seemed awkward and, well, I spent a lot of time sighing while reading this book.
 
Now. Having said that, I think it may be valuable for a new graduate, a new entrepreneur, or a brand-new hire who needs focus and inspiration. That’s where this book might shine. As for creativity, though, “Let Me Out” only cements frustration.