Skip to content


Tonic for the trance of compromise

A lovely turn of phrase. Not mine, though. It’s what Danielle LaPorte of whitehottruth.com, author of the Fire Starter Sessions, had to say about Hugh Macleod’s latest book, Evil Plans: Having Fun On The Road to World Domination.

I agree completely with her. I got my hands on a copy earlier today, and it was a bracing, enjoyable read. Refreshing. I’m not usually one to read books about world domination. But with this one I made an exception.

Why refreshing? For a number of reasons. Firstly (and this is particularly true for a long-term fan like me), it blends the familiar and the known into the undiscovered and the unknown. Smoothly, subtly. An effortless read. Secondly, as human beings, we live through stories, we learn through stories. And Hugh has been doing what he does for so long and so well that each chapter is a story, each cartoon is a story, each anecdote refreshes in its telling and its retelling. Thirdly, Hugh manages to tell you things you think you may know already, but in a way that lets you discover it again for yourself.

An example:

We may all have learnt about the democratising power of the internet by now, yet despite it Hugh manages to bring the lesson back to life in a way that leaves you feeling you learnt it afresh.

You see, in some ways, Hugh inhabits a corner of a foreign field that is forever Hughland. When you read Dilbert, your normal reaction is “Dilbert must work here!”. When you read Hugh Macleod, your normal reaction is “I wish he did work here!”.

Sometimes Hugh can be an uncomfortable read: he spends time reminding you of the clothes you’ve been trying to put on the emperors that inhabit your life, gently ensuring you’re aware of the nakedness. Awaking you from your trance of compromise.

The core theme of the book, that of unifying work and love, comes through in every argument. The challenges spoken of are largely to do with work, with creating, with creativity; those challenges are repeatedly discussed in the context of differentiation and uniqueness and entrepreneurship; these two threads are themselves deeply interwined with the heart of the book, which is the passion, the love, the hunger that drives all this.

Unifying work and love.

That’s Hugh. All the way.

And so is this book. Hugh. All the way. Uncompromised, uncompromising.

A different perspective on things you see everyday, things to do with work and love. A welcome “tonic for the trance of compromise”.

I’m not going to say any more, it would spoil the book for you. Which would be a shame.

So go out and buy the book. If you know where you can find an analog bookshop. If one still exists near you.

Or let your fingers do the walking. The book launches today, so you don’t have to wait.

[Disclosure: I've known Hugh for many years, and count him as a friend. So much of a friend that, if I'd panned the book, we would have remained friends. But I didn't pan the book. You know why? Because I loved it, that's why].

Posted in Books.


7 Responses

Stay in touch with the conversation, subscribe to the RSS feed for comments on this post.

  1. blinddrew says

    If you’re a friend of Mr Macleod you might want to let him know that amazon.co.uk is saying “usually dispatched within one to two months”
    Months? That is not going to help his sales…

  2. Hugh MacLeod says

    Thanks for the kind review, JP…

    BlindDrew, that’s because the UK gets the book two months after the US… for reasons well beyond my control.

    But hey, if you’re going to live in the US, there has to be some advantages :D

  3. JP says

    Hi Drew, I did let Hugh know, and he replied to you on this blog. Sad but true, it appears to be about the outdated territorial models that so many publishers insist on using

  4. ahuvah says

    I adore Hugh’s art and his mind. I have been following him on twitter for a long time now and am constantly surprised by his thought provoking insight.

  5. blinddrew says

    Ah, I did wonder if it was something like that. If it’s any consolation it’s now on my wishlist.

Continuing the Discussion

  1. The Evilest Plans: my review of Evil Plans - Simone Brunozzi linked to this post on February 23, 2011

    [...] J P Rangaswami, a brilliant technologist at BT, based in London, originally from Calcutta, India. He says “I wish Hugh did work here!”, but I’m sure he will not quit his corporate job and move back to Calcutta. At least, not [...]

  2. The Park Paradigm - Read this book. linked to this post on March 19, 2011

    [...] Tonic for the trance of compromise (confusedofcalcutta.com) [...]



Some HTML is OK

or, reply to this post via trackback.



%d bloggers like this: