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Your Ideas are Important

A Review of Neil Gainman’s (2018) book, Art Matters:
Because Your Imagine Can Change The World.

Summary by: Danny Pettry II

a book review



Where did I discover this book? 

Neil Gainman is an author who has a tribe of followers. I’ve read two of his children’s books, including: Coraline and The Ocean at the End of the Lane. Both stories (are pieces of art) take place in very unique and fascinating worlds (that came from Gainman’s imignation).


I had read somewhere that Gainman had felt like a fraud. Gainman had reported having this fear of the art police (for lack of description) showing up at his door and saying: you’re a fake, you’re a phony. Stop making art. Gainman pointed this concept out in this (2018) book as well. It was the “Fraud Police.”


Many other people (including artists, creators, business owners, and professionals) have had doubts.


Gainman encourages me to create art anyway.


I was browsing through Books-A-Million Bookstore today (which is the last day of 2018). I saw this book in the self-improvement section. I picked it up to purchase without flipping through the contents.


I knew I wanted to read this book for two reasons:

  1. It was a self-improvement book about imagination and making changes in the world.
  2. It was written by Neil Gainman.



Some useful tips I discovered from author/ book:  


“The world always sees bright when you’ve just made something that wasn’t there before. – Neil Gaiman.


Gainman (2018) discusses the importance of books, spreading ideas, and libraries. He discloses his own bias (being a writer)


 Ideas are important

  • People often disagree with other people’s ideas.
  • People have the freedom to express their ideas.
  • It is not okay to physically harm other people who have opposing ideas.
  • It’s impossible to stop ideas from spreading. They’re contagious.




Libraries are important. The world needs libraries.

  • Books (and even fiction) contain ideas.
  • Stories communicate ideas to other people. (Education)
  • Reading is enjoyable for many people. (Entertainment)
  • Fiction can improve empathy. (Interpersonal skills needed to relate to others)
  • Libraries can be a safe place to access Information.


“Without libraries, we have no future and no past.” – Ray Bradbury



Imagination is important

  • Imagination is the seed of the future. Ideas that are cultivated spring into tangible things (like books).


“If you want your child to be intelligence,” read them fairytales if you want them to be more intelligence, read them more fairy tales,” – Albert Einstein


Thoughts on Creating Great Art

  • Gainman has a list of goals he wanted to accomplish, like create a comic book, a children’s book, an audio book, a movie. etc. Goals are important! Do you have a list of goals?
  • Gainman was persistent and kept at it. Do you have the grit to stick with it?
  • Take your creative ideas and create it. Make it happen. By the way – what is your creative idea?
  • Gainman argues to know where you’re going. Have your goal in mind. Gainman argues to to say no to offers (even if they have attractive salaries) if it will take you away from your big goal (where you want to be). Danny Pettry comments: One of my professors in undergraduate school at Marshall University, Dr. Raymond Busbee told students something along the lines of taking a lower salary working in the field now opposed to taking a higher paying salary doing something outside of the profession. Busbee appeared to be arguing that opportunities in the profession will happen to those who are working in the field from the beginning.
  • Balance reaching goals with necessities like taking care of your bills, food, shelter, clothing.
  • Be prepared for criticism. Become thick-skinned. People will say hateful things about your art. Danny Pettry comments: This reminds me of Set Godin comments that your art isn’t for everyone and that is okay.
  • “Mistakes are proof that you’re trying.” Danny Pettry comments: I’ve never made a mistake in football. Do you think I’m the best football player in the world? I’ve never played football (beyond passing the ball) so I’ve not made many mistakes.



Final Thoughts from Danny Pettry –

  • Life is short. We all die someday.
  • Make the best of the years I have. Spend it doing meaningful world. Do what I want to do with my life.
  • The same tips go for you too.


Who would enjoy this book?

Many people consume caffeinated beverages to get kick started in the morning. The caffeine works as a boost.

Gainman’s (2018) book, Art Matters, is a lot like a cup of coffee for kick starting imagination, creativity, and art.

Gainman is credible. He has written many books. He discusses many concepts on the process of creating art.

Art (and everything in this world) is created from ideas and imagination.

You once imagined that you’d be a recreational therapist. You did the work and WaLah, you became a recreational therapist.

The world is now a different place because of your idea to join this profession and make a difference.

This book would be great for anyone who has an idea they want to achieve. This book is great for people who want to create a different type of future. It is for people who want to live the live of their dreams, doing what they love to do.

Do you have more ideas? Do you want to bring more art to life?

What the heck – go for it anyway!  As Seth Godin says, “make a ruckus.”

Create something great. Email me about it. Send a picture. I’ll share your art here at Rec Therapy Today. 


Get this book at our Amazon Affiliate Link here:


Book Title: Art Matters

Subtitle: Because Your Imagination Can Change The World

Author: Neil Gainman

Illustrated by: Chris Riddell

Released: 2018

Publisher: William Morrow