Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives by Adam J. Kurtz
Things Are What You Make of Them: This brilliant, life-affirming book is chock full of audacious advice to help creative people make sense of rejection, failure, false starts, fame, happiness and collaborations. –Debbie Millman

Insights and inspiration for anyone who makes art (or anything else) from the bestselling author of 1 Page at a Time.

With a foreword by Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge.
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Things Are What You Make of Them: Life Advice for Creatives

Things Are What You Make of Them

From the creative mind and heart of designer Adam J. Kurtz comes this upbeat rallying cry for creators of all stripes. Expanding on a series of popular essays, this handwritten and heartfelt book shares wisdom and empathy from one working artist to others. Perforated tear-and-share pages make it easy to display themost crucial reminders or to pass a bit of advice on to someone who needs it.

As wry and cheeky as it is empathic and empowering, this deceptively simple book will be a touchstone for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone else who wants to be more creative–even when it would be easier to give up and act normal.

Look inside with the digital sampler (PDF).

Book Details

Release date: October 3rd, 2017

  • Paperback
  • 144 Full-Color Pages
  • Thirteen Chapters
  • Pocket Size (4.2" x 6.4")
  • ISBN: 978-0143131519

Lightly perforated pages make it simple to cleanly tear out your favorite pages. Perfect for hanging, framing, or passing a bit of advice to someone who needs it!

Help fight for LGBTQ girls & women

TarcherPerigee will donate $1 for every book ordered before 10/3/17 to the Tegan and Sara Foundation, working for economic justice, health, and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.

Click here to learn more about this campaign.
Tegan and Sara Foundation

Praise for Author Adam J. Kurtz

"This brilliant, life-affirming book is chock full of audacious advice to help creative people make sense of rejection, failure, false starts, fame, happiness and collaborations." Debbie Millman, host of Design Matters

"Adam speaks with a relatable blend of self-deprecating humor and confidence, always reminding us that with a laugh and some help from friends, we can get through just about anything." Grace Bonney, founder of Design*Sponge and author of In The Company Of Women

"All of Adam J. Kurtz's words are filled with wit, warmth, wonder and wisdom." Alanis Morissette

"Adam J. Kurtz is my fave therapist!" Tavi Gevinson

"Master of the playful, lightweight mood booster." BuzzFeed

"Blurring the line between artist and therapist." VICE

"When you’re just feeling blue and need a serious dose of inspiration—Adam to the rescue." Bustle

"Adam reminds us that creativity is the coolest of all resources–infinite, fun, free–and that we are blessed to have it." Melissa Broder, author of So Sad Today


September 9-10th – New York, NY
RuPaul's DragCon

September 30-1 – New Orleans, LA
VenturePOP Conference

October 3rd – The Internet
Livestream Launch Event (Details TBA)

October 5th – Baltimore, MD
Maryland Institute College of Art Lecture

October 6-8th – Mexico City, MX
OFFF Festival Mexico

October 13-15th – Portland, OR
WeMake Conference

October 16th – Portland, OR
PSU Design Dept Lecture

October 20th – Las Vegas, NV
Adobe Max Marketplace
Things Are What You Make of Them

Pre-Order Rewards

Order your copy of Things Are What You Make of Them from any retailer before October 3rd, 2017 and receive special bonus rewards! Pre-orders have a real impact, and your support will make a difference in helping this book find a wider audience in bookstores and on bookseller websites worldwide.

Hang onto your order confirmations and check back here on September 1st for more details.

Artist/author Adam J. Kurtz Author photo by Daniel Seung Lee

About The Author

Adam J. Kurtz is a Brooklyn-based designer, artist and author of 1 Page at a Time and Pick Me Up, which have been published in over a dozen languages each. His "very personal" work for clients like Strand Bookstore and Urban Outfitters has been featured in NYLON, PRINT, VICE, BuzzFeed and more. He’s one of PRINT Magazine's "15 Under 30" and a 2017 Webby Awards Honoree.

Author Links

Adam J. Kurtz Website
ADAMJK Gift Shop

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