October 2nd, 2013

Book Review: Die Empty, by Todd Henry

“We have only a certain amount of time available to us and how we choose to spend our days is significant.”

After I read Todd Henry’s first book, The Accidental Creative, I boldly declared it my new life guide. Die Empty, Henry’s second book has replaced it. He outdid himself with this book. I had to restrain myself from underlining every passage in the book.

The thesis of Die Empty is to do work each day that matters to you in some way. Rather than working a to-do list every day and living for the weekend, Henry proposes that we have a purpose each day that we are working to achieve. That does mean throwing the to-do list away; it is a necessary part of getting work done. Instead, make time for giving your ideas brainpower and ultimately potential to bring them to life.

The timing for this book is particularly relevant to me as these are principles I have been working to follow this year as part of my new year’s resolutions, though Henry articulates them so much better than I did. I love the idea of living for today and making a difference each day that you live. I know too well that tomorrow may never come.

My favorite takeaways:

“If you want to avoid the path that leads to apathy and mediocrity, at some point you are going to have to step outside your comfort zone.”

“Be fiercely curious.”

“Can I lay my head down tonight satisfied with the work I did today?”

“Ensure that you are intentionally disrupting your own work rather than circling the wagons and protecting the ground you’ve already taken.”

“Structure and freedom are two sides of the same coin. Structure yields freedom to creatively roam.”

“Say yes.”

“It is never too late.”

“Great work results when you stop doing only what you know you can do and instead begin pursing what you believe you might be able to do with a little focused effort.”

“Most of the great work that’s accomplished is done in the context of a community. Very few people are able to stay aligned and engaged without others in their life to help fuel their passions.”

“Dream a little.”

“Urgency and diligence are the foundation of ‘hustle,’ and hustle is the best antidote to lifelong regret. If you hustle, you never have to wonder ‘what if?'”

This is one of those books that won’t get filed away on my bookshelf. It will be left on my desk where I can pick it up and reference it frequently as a reminder to live with purpose and have something to be proud of at the end of each day. While it is morbid to think about death, it is inevitably going to happen; don’t wait for tomorrow to make a difference in the world.

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Link to book on Amazon