Do Fly. Find your way. Make a living. Be your best self.
Image from Do Book Co
The Do Books are a range of short reads on a variety of subjects that aim to inspire the reader to go and do! Between us we own a few of their titles, so we were excited when we heard about their newest addition, Do Fly by Gavin Strange.
We've watched Gavin be generally awesome for years: By day he's a Senior Designer at Aardman Animations and by night he goes under the alias of JamFactory, where he creates amazing side-projects. As if that wasn't enough, he's also just co-founded STRANGE with his wife Jane. He is one hardworking guy.
We couldn't wait to get stuck in and find out what Gavin had to say on the subjects we care about, like creativity, work/life balance and standing out from the crowd.
“Make things that matter so you can leave them behind for others”
As a designer in the same industry I've had the opportunity of seeing Gavin Strange work incredibly hard and just consistently produce great work over the years. There are not many people I can think of who seem to be so busy, yet actually happy and fulfilled, rather than stressed. He pretty much embodies the message we want to communicate with our blog.
Do Fly is a quick read, I sat and read it in one afternoon. It now sits on my desk with a few other books, including Do Breathe, and as it's broken down into neat little sections I pick it up now and again to re-read certain bits when I need a kick up the bottom. The reason I like this book so much is that Gavin, while positive and aspirational is entirely practical in his advice. He admits that you need to work hard, that being successful isn't easy, but that it is ultimately in your control.
I identify with Gavin as he too still works a day job, alongside his other pursuits. So often you read a lot of advice to pack your job in and just do it all on your own, or that you've not ‘made it’ until you you quit. So it's refreshing to hear from someone who is happy to work for someone else, whilst making time for their own pursuits.
Read this book if you want some encouragement and positive inspiration to be busy and productive, but in a way that still makes you happy. It would be great for someone just starting out and maybe not yet working in a job they love, but also for someone who is totally inspired by their day job, yet wants to know how to put time aside for new creative adventures.(4 / 5)
I don’t know Gavin but, at the same time, I kind of feel like I do. One thing is communicated consistently through his work, his talks, his tweets — and that's him. Like Nicola said, he comes across as genuinely happy and fulfilled, and it's this feeling that shines through everything he does. It's not surprising then that Do Fly is no exception.
What you get in spades from this book is clever advice and good ideas on how to make your work mean something to you, all laid out in Gavin’s infectiously positive and encouraging approach. He makes everything sound, well, doable. Even when he’s warning that the path to achieving your goals won’t be easy and that you’ll have to work really hard for a long time, he manages to do it in such a reassuring way that you’re left thinking, “Ok, this is going to be tough but, hey, if he says I can do it then maybe I can!”.
This is exactly the kind of motivation that works for me. There's no pushiness. No right or wrong. Reading this is like sitting down for a nice chat with your mate over a cup of tea, it leaves you feeling warm inside and ready to take on the world. This isn't just fuzzy feels though, there's more to it than that - there’s a solid plan here for how to make incremental changes, manage your time better, create opportunities and be in control of your life. It just doesn't ram it down your throat.
In days of being constantly pushed to do more, be better, work faster, ship more, we often lose sight of why we’re doing it in the first place. What this book reminded me was that it's good to be interested in things, to reconnect with what drives you, to collaborate and not be afraid of failure, and that busy can be healthy and productive. When it comes down to it, we all just want to be happy; this is Gavin’s way of nudging us in the right direction.(4 / 5)
*Bonus points for getting the words ‘primordial ooze’ in.
We both read the lovely, handy little paperback edition which you can tuck away on your bookshelf or desk and pick up when you're in need of a quick pep talk.