Book Review: The Indecisive Musicpreneur by Tommy Darker
We’re big fans of Tommy Darker’s musicpreneur movement, and so it comes as no surprise we’re fans of his new short book, The Manifesto of the Indecisive Musicpreneur.
Darker begins the book by paraphrasing a quote that sums up his whole ethos:
“A musician who is just a musician can never become a good musician.”
The idea behind the book is to tackle a central problem in musician culture: the inability to make a decision.
It’s a breezy 63-page read that’s conversational in tone, and cites many influential thinkers from a variety of fields to drive home one key strategy: do something.
Darker presents a several interesting diagrams in the book, including this one on decisionmaking:
Decision making is something we do all day long, yet rarely stop to think about the process involved. Though what’s depicted in the diagram and book may be obvious to an extent, Darker begs us to slow down and really consider what’s going on here — because if you’re not moving toward the goals you want in life, your problem might be a simple breakdown in this obvious process.
This book fills a huge gap in reading material for musicians. While so much has been written about how the music business works (mostly from the perspective of lawyers and businessmen who know nothing of being a musician), there have been few books to address the underlying causes of music career failure. The psychology of decision making is a super-important topic for any business, and Darker is doing great work by creating a book targeted to musicians.
In fact, the title is a bit of a Trojan horse, because very little of the book actually has anything to do with music being a musician specifically. And yet, it is clearly written by and for musicians, speaking their language.
We especially enjoyed the “Consistency > hard work” section, which dispels the myth that hard work is the key to success. For sure, nothing can be accomplished without hard work, but as Darker explains, consistency is far more important. You will work smarter and harder if you set a series smart and specific goals to achieve consistently, instead of an enormous, unattainable goal that you spend your whole life quixotically chipping away at.
Sound familiar? That’s why Darker wrote this book. Musicians have a culture that aspires to legendary, rock star status. But few of us will ever achieve that, and it’s unsustainable and exploitative to begin with. By setting realistic, achievable goals that are achieved consistently.
The book also includes a great laundry list of “reasons why you cannot decide in real life” and a frank discussion of the necessary relationship between art and business in order to sustain one’s art. With all the serious subject matter, Darker always keeps it light, with delicious little bites of digestible advice like this one:
“Always go with the decision that will make for a good story. Life is to be enjoyed.”
We’re happy that Darker made a book for musicians about a topic that gets almost no attention in the music community. We guarantee there are already musicians out there who have taken Darker’s advice and gained an edge.