On Twitter, Laura Roeder recently pointed to a short blog post from Derek Sivers, founder and former president of CD Baby. Sivers says that books (or articles) are like mirrors: They reveal more about you than they do about the author:
After I interviewed Tim Ferriss, some people said, “But he comes across too cocky.”
After I interviewed Amber Rubarth, some people said, “But she’s only successful because she’s so pretty.”
After I interviewed Tom Williams, some people said, “But there’s some controversy about his new company.”
I hear that as, “Now that I’ve proven they’re not perfect, I don’t have to apply any of the lessons from their story.”
But that’s missing the point that those articles are really about you, not them…All that really matters is what you do with the ideas there. Apply them to your own life in your own way. It was never about them. It’s about you.
I’ve heard too many people lately willing to discard the good that somebody has produced just because they disagree with other parts of that person’s life. Is Michael Jackson’s brilliant work invalidated simply because of allegations that he was a pedophile? Is the power of Dave Ramsey’s debt-reduction techniques any less just because his religious views are different than yours? Is Herge’s Tintin any less wonderful because he was a Nazi sympathizer?
It’s possible to hate the artist but love the art.