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The Creative Act: A Way of Being by Rick Rubin

Rick rubin new book

“However you frame yourself as an artist, the frame is too small.”

- Rick Rubin

Here at Langrand, we’re big fans of Rick Rubin. From rap to hip-hop to metal to country and everything in-between, Rubin is the co-founder of Def Jam Records (which took shape in his college dorm room) and is the man behind many musical legends and even more hits. Barefoot and bearded, he claims to know nothing about music, cannot play any musical instruments and says he barely knows his way around a soundboard. In his own words, he’s just here to do “whatever’s necessary for the music to be the best it can be.”

So what does that mean? What does Rick Rubin really do, and why is he such a sought-after producer in the industry with a 40-year career? Rick Rubin listens. He asks thoughtful questions that create space for and inspire bigger, better, bolder ideas that defy the expected and encourages the artists he works with to convey their message with as much creativity and feeling and as little information as possible.

His new book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being, is a short but powerful rumination on what the creative life and the creative process mean to him. Part philosophical and part practical, the book articulates a way of creating that is rooted in feeling. The work seems to transcend genre and takes complex, hard-to-understand concepts and makes them accessible, distilling them into bits of wisdom that anyone can walk away with and apply to their everyday life—whether they’re an investment banker, a spin instructor or an art teacher.

Our only criticism? At times, some of the ideas presented can read as cliché—while they are based in an essential truth, the ideas are a touch too overused to pack a punch or incite true inspiration.

I set out to write a book about what to do to make a great work of art. Instead, it revealed itself to be a book on how to be.” — Rick Rubin

Of course, you can pick up a physical copy of his book, but we recommend you take a note from Rubin and have a listen instead. His narration is not to be missed.