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Pushing to the Front - Book Review


As a designer, I'm always on the lookout for inspiration, not just in visuals but in words too. That's how I stumbled upon "Pushing to the Front" by Orison Swett Marden. This book, although over a century old, surprisingly resonates with the creative struggles and triumphs we face today.

Marden, who later founded Success Magazine, wrote this during the 1890s depression, aiming to inspire success in challenging times. As designers, we often face our own kind of recession - creative blocks, challenging clients, and the ever-evolving nature of design trends. Marden's book, filled with stories of people achieving great things against the odds, is a reminder that success is possible despite these hurdles.

The book is a goldmine of wisdom, offering advice on progressing through small, consistent steps - a principle very much applicable to design projects. I found it beneficial to read it like a daily design brief: one chapter a day, with time afterwards to reflect on how its lessons apply to my work.

But what's truly inspiring for any creative professional is the story behind the book. After losing his original manuscript in a hotel fire, Marden, with incredible resilience, began rewriting it from scratch. This act of starting over, with nothing but a nightshirt and a 25-cent notebook, is a powerful metaphor for the design process. We often have to scrap our concepts and begin anew, finding strength in our vision and determination.

Marden's perseverance is a lesson in not giving up on our creative dreams. He rewrote not just "Pushing to the Front" but also penned "Architects of Fate" in a modest Boston room. His dedication resulted in a manuscript that caught the attention of multiple publishers, finally getting published in 1894.

For designers, "Pushing to the Front" is more than a book. It's a source of daily inspiration, a reminder of the timeless nature of creativity, hard work, and resilience. As we navigate the world of design, where trends come and go, and projects can be as fleeting as they are fulfilling, Marden's journey and his words stand as a testament to the enduring power of perseverance. This book isn't just a read; it's a daily dose of motivation, reminding us that our creative journey, much like Marden's, is filled with limitless possibilities.