Things Are What You Make of Them

Insights and inspiration for anyone who makes art (or anything else) from someone who's been there (and kind of still is).


Handwritten and heartfelt, this pocket-sized book by designer Adam J. Kurtz offers wisdom and empathy from one working artist to others, with perforated pages to share or display. Deceptively simple, this full-color book will be a touchstone for writers, artists, entrepreneurs, and anyone else working to harness their passion for a more creative life.


With a foreword by Grace Bonney of Design*Sponge.

Recommended for creatives, makers, artists, and writers of all kinds, whether you're a professional, hobbyist, still figuring it out, or somewhere in between.

"This brilliant, life-affirming book is chock full of audacious advice to help creative people make sense of rejection, failure, false starts, fame, happiness and collaborations."

Debbie Millman, host of Design Matters

"144 pages of funny, wry, straightforward advice for young people about how to navigate the world as a creative employee and creative person (or any person, really)."


"Advice from someone

who's been there"

Teen Vogue

"Kind, generous, and empowering"​

Cool Hunting

"A colorful, encouraging companion"


"Serving up optimism

and hope"


"Highly relatable and will make you laugh, cry and feel less crazy than you think you are. You're actually fine!"

Man Repeller

"Honestly, these nuggets of wisdom are valuable mood boosters for people in any career path."


"Full of pick-me-ups and reminders that you are more than your self-doubt, and certainly you aren't alone."


"Confronts… what concepts like happiness and success look like to people in creative or more traditional industries"

Refinery 29

Select Press:

Adweek – Can This One Short Book…

Artsy – 8 Things Every Creative…

Bustle – Adam J. Kurtz's 'Things Are…

BuzzFeed – 9 Pieces Of Advice…

CNBC – Surprisingly easy things…

Cool Hunting – BUY: Things Are…

HelloGiggles – 19 unique books to brighten…

Forbes – Liberating Tips For Creative People…

Man Repeller – Book Club: 10 Books…

NYLON – Essential Life Advice…

Refinery29 – How To Stop Worrying…

Teen Vogue – How To Be Happier…

Threadless – Books That Every Creative…

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© Adam J. Kurtz / ADAMJK®

All Rights Reserved