Book Recommendation from Twitter’s Jack Dorsey: The Art Spirit by Robert Henri

Build what you want to see in the world: make a bet that it will resonate with other people.

Only occasionally do I plow through one of the many business books piled on my shelf. They so often come highly recommended by a colleague or mentor. They are so temptingly presented on Amazon.

“Without motive, you will wobble about.” You need a common sense of purpose. Without motive, you will not do anything that is timeless.

I’m always a one-tap-order away from business strategy enlightment. A single send-to-kindle dropdown selection away from never-before-revealed secrets. Free two-day prime shipping away from the breakthrough idea that will propel our company through the profitability stratosphere.

“We are not here to do what has already been done.” Find your own path.

So, it’s refreshing to see someone like Jack Dorsey recommend a book that, on its surface, is completely unrelated to business: The Art Spirit, by Robert Henri. The first sentences of the first chapter read, “Art when really understood is the province of every human being. It is simply a question of doing things, anything, well. It is not an outside, extra thing. When the artist is alive in any person, whatever his kind of work may be, he becomes an inventive, searching, daring, self-expressing creature. He becomes interesting to other people. He disturbs, upsets, enlightens, and he opens ways for a better understanding. Where those who are not artists are trying to close the book, he opens it, shows there are still more pages possible.

Art is doing anything intensely. Art is doing anything well.

Henri wasn’t a business guru. He was an artist and teacher, and the book – published in 1923 – compiles an assortment of his ideas, philosophies and “practical musings.”

You “must pioneer beyond the mere matters of fact” – use fewer words, copy fewer things, but be longer in meaning.

On its own merits, the book is extremely interesting. But as Dorsey makes clear, it’s a very relevant and inspiring read if you keep business in the foreground as you move through the pages.

Create only what is important.

This book has helped me focus on the things that really matter. On a day-to-day basis, that means properly prioritizing my work so the right things are getting done. At the highest level, that means pursuing goals and working on projects that not only have a high likelihood of success, but that I believe will really make a difference.

Have you read The Art Spirit? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!