This is a really important lesson for everyone, not just creative types: Survivorship bias. Why following success can doom you to fail.

When we focus on gurus, TED talk meisters, self help rah-rah types, we miss a lot of important relevant info, funneling our thinking by following models that aren’t necessarily what is best for us.

For example, the popular advice for creative people is often of the “Just Do It” variety, for surely if you don’t produce, nothing will follow that production.

Truth. If you don’t write the novel, it won’t become a best seller.

Missing the important point that over 99.9% of all books ever written fail spectacularly on that scale.

Just making something isn’t good enough. Just feeling motivated isn’t good enough.

Just putting your work on the web isn’t good enough.

Almost everyone who tries art, self publishing, or internet fame will not get very far.

What tech gurus, and “Just Do It” types aren’t telling you is that what they are selling with their “how-to” books and blogs is not a recipe for success. They are selling you the narrative of other people’s success.

That is not about you.

I love a good pep talk just as much as the next person, and inspiration is a great thing. But pay attention to the world around you and make sure you’re not blindly following what someone else did because you think they’re selling you a secret recipe.

What they’re selling you is a recipe without the prime ingredients: a life and a product that cannot be duplicated. If it could, everyone who reads those how-to books would be producing best-sellers, too.


And with direct reference to publishing.
VERY important read.