About a month ago, a package arrived from the US via FedEx containing a slim paperback that was the advance uncorrected proofs of Ignore Everybody, the first mainstream-published book from cartoonist and entrepreneur Hugh Macleod, author of the blog Gapingvoid.
I read the proof as soon as it arrived. Last week, I read it again. It doesnâ€™t take long and itâ€™s a cracking read.
I first came across Hughâ€™s blog back in 2004 â€“ who didnâ€™t? â€“ and was hooked on his irreverent and often-outrageous style of cartooning.
Like many at the time, I did the â€œmy business cards have Hugh’s cartoons on the backâ€ as one way of standing out and being different. I even did the Gapingvoid cartoon t-shirt, too (still have it and, amazingly, it still fits).
I first met Hugh in the flesh
at the London Geek Dinner in June 2005 [correction] at the first Les Blogs conference in Paris in April 2005 â€“ check out the youthful Hugh! â€“ and have bumped into him from time to time over the years. Iâ€™ve kept close attention on most of his always-interesting ideas in action, like the discovery of English Cut, Stormhoek wine discounts in 2006 and 2007, and the â€œMicrosoft, change the worldâ€ social object idea.
So I approached reading Hughâ€™s new book with some anticipation. It didn’t disappoint. For me, it was like re-acquainting myself with an old friend and discovering some new things about him that I hadnâ€™t fully realized before.
Interspersed with many of the cartoons heâ€™s published on Gapingvoid.com, Hughâ€™s book offers edgy, humorous perspectives on understanding your true self and how to really connect with other people.
If youâ€™ve been a long-time reader of Hughâ€™s blog, or if youâ€™ve read The Hughtrain from early 2004, and perhaps How To Be Creative, the PDF manifesto which Hugh published via Change This in October 2004, then youâ€™ll have a good idea of what to expect in Ignore Everybody.
Perhaps the best comment about a book anyone reviewing it can say is this â€“ youâ€™ll read this book quite quickly in one go (itâ€™s perfect for a 2-hour plane or train journey, for instance). Then youâ€™ll read it again a little later, as I did. And then youâ€™ll be coming back again from time to time to pick out quotes or laugh at a cartoon, this time with better understanding of the deadpan humour behind it.
And youâ€™ll find it useful. Worth reading, therefore.