Make Your Own Rules by Andrew Huang

I was not excited when Andrew Huang announced that he would be writing a book. I’ve been online long enough to be weary of “books written by YouTubers”. But that was unfair of me. Andrew Huang has been a goldmine of awesome and entertaining videos, helpful and useful advice, as well as a very large discography interesting and groovy music.

So, when a few excerpts started coming out and when Andrew made a few videos talking about some of the things he writes about in the book — I was sold. This was one of very few books that I pre-ordered.

I read the book in just a few days. It’s great!

The book is a mix of autobiography, vignettes from Andrew’s life, advice on creativity and promotion, and a treatise on authenticity and, well, making your own rules.

Having followed Andrew’s work online for the better part of a decade there were some ideas that I’ve heard him talk about before. But these stories were expanded and/or connected to larger themes within the book, giving me a new perspective on them.

Other stories in the book feel like they wouldn’t make much sense to somebody who doesn’t know about Andrew Huang and his prolific career as a musician and YouTuber. I’ll never know for sure (because I’ve seen all his videos (many of them more than once)), but there were bits where it seemed like my knowledge of his output was doing a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of providing the impact of the lesson he was trying to teach/thought he was trying to convey. But there’s always just enough background information provided to make the point clear and make the section stick the landing.

A lot of the book is about “balance” and finding it and maintaining it. I think Andrew Huang managed to find the balance here as well. There weren’t any sections of the book that felt like recycling old material and there weren’t any sections of the book that felt like they rely too much on prior knowledge. And that’s a very difficult thing to achieve in a non-fiction book by a person who’s been (very actively!) online for so long.

I think this book would definitely be interesting to people who struggle to figure out “how they’d like to make art” and would like to move on to the exciting part of just making it. It lists all the mistakes Andrew made in his career and the things he did successfully.

It’s not a roadmap to success, but it does tell you where “north” is and warns of all the many places where you might end up going off track. And I think the honesty (and authenticity) of this kind of approach really makes the book stand out from all the other “how to be an artist” books.

Plus it’s Andrew Huang, dude! I don’t think I’ve ever been bored by one of his videos.

So yeah.

Make Your Own Rules by Andrew Huang: 9/10
Would definitely recommend.