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Publisher's Summary

In our culture, artistic genius and poverty seem inevitably linked, but does it have to be that way? Jim Henson didn’t think so. An iconic creator and savvy businessman, Henson is a model for artists everywhere: Without sacrificing his creative vision, Henson built an empire of lovable Muppets that continues to educate and inspire - and a business that was worth $150 million at the time of his death. How did he ever pull it off? And how can other creators follow in his path? In Make Art Make Money: Lessons from Jim Henson on Fueling Your Creative Career, journalist and educator Elizabeth Hyde Stevens presents 10 principles of Henson’s art and business practices that will inspire artists everywhere. Part manifesto, part history, part cultural criticism, part self-help, Make Art Make Money is a new kind of business audiobook for creative professionals: A guide for creating and succeeding thanks to lessons from the Muppet Master himself.

©2013 Elizabeth Hyde Stevens (P)2013 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Inspiring, helpful, and to the point

This book more than met my expectations.

First of all, it had me at "Jim Henson", as I have been a fan since I've been a small kid, back in the early 1960s.

Well before Sesame Street, I saw him and his Muppets on television, and I think I even saw a live performance once, at my older sister's school, in Westbury, NY.

In this book, the author uses Jim Henson, his life, his work, and his philosophy, as a model for how to be successful as an artist, both in terms of creative satisfaction, as well as making a satisfactory living.

By using Jim Henson as her parable, he truly builds a great argument for seeing art and business as not being mutually exclusive but I'd rather being complementary opposites, as long as it is done in a way similar to what Jim Henson did.

The performance of this book is outstanding: warm, engaging, personal, and helps teach and sell the material even more. The reader is so good, at sounding like she is talking straight to the listener, that I forgot she wasn't the author!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Ed
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • 11-21-14

From a Muppet/Henson Fan

Overall a very clever, insightful, and encouraging view of art and the freedoms and dangers in revenue and commercialization.

If you're a fan of Jim Henson and are a creative person yourself, you will enjoy and benefit from Steven's book.

Please remember the author released the book as a serial to Amazon (one chapter at a time). There are some repeated introductions to people, projects, and concepts that are not meant to be patronizing, but allow readers to appreciate isolated chapters.

Performance:
The narration was clear and (consistently) adopted cadence and tone of the people quoted. (Henson, Oz, Brillstein, etc.)

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Not Really a Book

This would more accurately described as a series of articles, each discussing an aspect of a single theme or subject. Often re-treading the same ground, content, and quotes over and over, you'll fail to believe that the publisher hires editors.

Other Points

• The research for the book appears to be based largely on Hensen's work and quotes from the internet, rather than interviewing those involved.

• There is a solid misunderstanding of how most business, and especially marketing, works.

• There is very little contrast with other creative business people, except Walt Disney and later Pixar.

• Expect to be expected remember the most obscure Hensen work.

• The author unmistakably considers "Artists" to be a higher quality of person.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Great book for Artists!

First off I am a lover of all things Jim Henson, so I might be a little biased, but I think Elizabeth Hyde Stevens does a wonderful job breaking down what did and didn't work with Henson Studios. It does seem possible to make art and money without feeling guilty.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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This is an incredible book!

Any additional comments?

Out of 82 audible books I have listen to, this is the only one I have felt compelled to review and score.
I listened to this book because I am a sculptor (and the title is inexplicably less than $5), not because I was interested in Jim Henson. The author's clear passion, however, is palpable and persuasive about the monumental genius of Henson. I think over the coming weeks I will have to re-look at his work, which I only have fuzzy memories of and was previously somewhat indifferent to, mainly because I was so young in his heyday.
The author also does a convincing job of laying out Henson as a model for small-time artists to emulate while trying to genuinely grow in their work and live on the proceeds.
In my mind she has laid to rest the conflict of "Selling-out VS Artistic Integrity"; again using Henson and how he navigated this perilous area as a model. This is all somewhat philosophical as this is not a "how-to" book per se.
I found myself exclaiming out-loud in my studio "oh, wow" several times and was compelled enough to finish this rather long book (by my standards) in two days.
If I am required to offer a critique it would be that I found it odd that the author used the same quotes in different parts of the book word-for-word. This was odd for me (besides the repetitive nature) because this book is so clearly and thoroughly researched I was certain she had other interview quotes she could have used.
Minor really when weighed against how informative, entertaining, and compelling this book really is!
I can't believe this was written by a first-time (non-fiction) author! I think Ms. Stevens might be a monumental talent in her own right.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Fun and informative

It is a great book. I enjoyed all of it, even though I found it to have a bit of repetition from time to time. It's also more of an in depth analysis of Jim Henson's career than a comparative and motivational book on how to incorporate these things into your artistic career. Very encouraging though and inspirational still. If you are a child of the 80's and grew up with a fondness for Henson's work, you'll most likely marvel at some of the aspects of his life and career. And, if you are an artist, you'll enjoy the sporadic comparisons of his career to yours. Giving you inspiration from time to time.
The narration was well done. The author is a practiced and pleasant narrator. I wish more narrators were this nice to listen to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A toolbox worth owning for independent artists

It is helpful to read the 2016 biography JIM HENSON by Brian Jay Jones first. By then you will have formed your own opinions of Henson’s career, management style, and cultural impact, which helps to reinforce Stevens’s ideas. Any artist seeking to make a living with their work will want a pen and paper handy for note taking. Stevens has done a great deal of research to synthesize data from inside and outside Henson’s head into a concise 10-point list. Kowal has a very nice voice, but her pronunciation of many words and names is... unique. This in no way deters from the value of the ideas contained in the book. It was less than $5 when I bought it, so I have zero complaints about the overall value, considering the insightful information this book contains.

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Good listening material, a little repetitious

Would you listen to Make Art Make Money again? Why?

I would not listen to it again. Its so repetitious I feel like I already heard it three times.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Make Art Make Money?

Learning about Henson the ad man, I had always thought of him as a hippy who hated money.

What does Mary Robinette Kowal bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

She is a good reader, I have failing eyesight, so I don't read books if I can avoid it. I like how she doesn't overly exaggerate male voices while reading. Some narrators do a horrific job trying to sound like the opposite sex.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed some

Any additional comments?

I think the author stretched the material a bit, but I am glad I listened to it.

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Hooked

I felt like I was pretty careful about picking out my first two free books, and this selection has me hooked. I just finished my first play through but the helpful is going to get replayed often. I wish more biographies were set up like this.

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Very helpful

Inspiring and helpful with learning to combine my art w business- it will help become a better advocate for my work