The Big Thing
Author: Phyllis Korkki
Release Date: August 9, 2016
Format: Hardcover; 256 pages
A New York Times business journalist explains why it’s important for people to pursue big creative projects, and identifies both the obstacles and the productive habits that emerge on the path to completion—including her own experience writing this book.
Whether it’s the Great American Novel or a groundbreaking new app, many people want to create a Big Thing, but finding the motivation to get started, let alone complete the work, can be daunting. In The Big Thing, New York Times business writer and editor Phyllis Korkki combines real-life stories, science, and insights from her own experience to illuminate the factors that drive people to complete big creative projects—and the obstacles that threaten to derail success.
In the course of creating her own Big Thing—this book—Korkki explores the individual and collaborative projects of others: from memoirs, art installations, and musical works to theater productions, small businesses, and charities. She identifies the main aspects of a Big Thing, including meaningful goals, focus and effort, the difficulties posed by the demands of everyday life, and the high risk of failure and disappointment. Korkki also breaks down components of the creative process and the characteristics that define it, and offers her thoughts on avoiding procrastination, staying motivated, scheduling a routine, and overcoming self-doubt and the restrictions of a day job. Filled with inspiring stories, practical advice, and a refreshing dose of honesty, The Big Thing doesn’t minimize the negative side of such pursuits—including the fact that big projects are hard to complete and raise difficult questions about one’s self-worth.
Inspiring, wise, humorous, and good-natured, The Big Thing is a meditation on the importance of self-expression and purpose.
The Big Thing is a thoughtful nonfiction book that focuses on creativity and people's need to express themselves through a "Big Thing." The author makes several fascinating correlations between creativity, human nature, society and culture, and everything in between. She does a great job at weaving in personal anecdotes, statistics and findings from top researchers and doctors, and inspiring stories. I thought the writing was well done and pretty easy to follow for a layperson, but some of it got a bit dry and harder to understand in places and I found myself having to re-read sections of the text over and over in an attempt to really figure out what the author was saying. The majority of the book was easy enough to follow and I enjoyed the stories she shared as well as the various findings relating to the topic. It definitely kept me intrigued enough to keep reading and even gave me some ideas about how to approach my own "big thing." I would have liked the book a lot more if it had been more reader-friendly - more layman's terms and easier to understand and follow - and I would've given it a higher rating because of that. I guess what I'm trying to say is that the content is fantastic and interesting, but the way it's presented held me up quite a bit. If it were written in an easier to understand manner, I would've connected with the author and material much better and come away with more than I did. It's a really fascinating topic and I definitely recommend it to people who are interested in the subject or those who are trying to complete their own "big thing."Phyllis Korkki is an assignment editor and reporter for the New York Times Sunday Business section. Follow Phyllis on Twitter.