The Creative Act

Today Rick Rubin’s Book, The Creative Act: A Way of Being releases through Penguin Random House.

The exquisite 432 page hardbound may finally answer some of the questions hungry musicians, aspiring record execs, and spiritual seekers have been asking the enigma for years. Questions like, “How can I make it in the industry…?” “What exactly do you do…?” And most recently, “How do you listen to a feeling…?”

And then again, it may not.

The Daoist presenting prose ensures readers that the answers are both inside of them, and from the cosmos…and that it’s possible to create the causes and conditions for the two to meet. It is an infinitely wide view refined over 40 years of mythologized creative and commercial success.


Black and white photo lawn, white chairs and old bus

Gotta Serve Somebody; Rick Rubin’s Shangri-La Recording Studio, Malibu. Courtesy of Showtime

A Way of Being

Rick Rubin famously launched Def Jam recordings from his Weinstein Hall dorm room at NYU. He learned messaging from wrestling villains like the Four Horsemen and used the technique to design The Beastie Boys’ epic explosion onto MTV.

In the decades since then, the legendary producer has become known for creating a sacred space, connecting to the collective unconscious, and inspiring an artists’ most distilled work. Lucky Angelenos have reported receiving pith instructions from the American Recordings founder while milling around the local farmers market, standing in line for a smoothie at SunLife Organics, and by posting up in the old Bodhi Tree Bookstore on Melrose.

Of course, for yogis Rick provided a portal into another world by producing the Krishna Das classic, Door of Faith.

In The Creative Act, Rick Rubin invites the artistic adventurer on a journey within.

From The Creative Act: A Way of Being, by Rick Rubin;

On Receptivity-

 “Creativity is not a rare ability. It not difficult to access.
Creativity is a fundamental aspect of being human.
It’s our birthright. And it’s for all of us.”
-Rick Rubin


On Accepting The Assignment

Man on phone on couch

I Need A Beat; Rick Rubin at the Def Jam Office (1133 Broadway, NYC) – Dharma Mittra’s 908 Yoga Posture poster behind 1986 c. Rick McGinnis

“If you have an idea you’re excited about and you don’t bring it to life,
it’s not uncommon for the idea to find its voice through another maker.
This isn’t because the other artist stole your idea,
but because the idea’s time has come.”
-Rick Rubin

On Gestation 

group of people black and white

It’s The New Style; The Beastie Boys, Run DMC, Slayer +  Rick Rubin 80s. Source; Unknown

“At this point in time, it’s helpful to think of the work as bigger than us.
To cultivate a sense of awe and wonder at what’s possible,
and recognize that this productivity is not generated by our hand alone. “
-Rick Rubin

On Manifestation

Rick Rubin

It’s Yours;  Rick Meditative. Courtesy of Showtime

“Talent is the ability to let ideas
manifest themselves through you.”
-Rick Rubin

On Timing

The Great Surrender; Public Enemy signs with Rick + Def Jam Records 80s. Source; unknown

“Patience is required for crafting a work that
resonates and contains all that we have to offer.”
-Rick Rubin

On Doing

Movie still, man with sunglasses black and white

Whoooo’s Hoooouuussseee….?; Rick as himself in the feature film  Krush Groove 1985. Courtesy of Warner Brothers

“Do what you can with what you have. Nothing more is needed.”
-Rick Rubin

On Synchronicity

Three men, black and white photo

Legend Has It; Rick + Run The Jewels source; Broken Record Podcast

“When you’re working on a project, you may notice apparent
coincidences appearing more often than randomness allows—
almost as if there is another hand guiding yours in a certain directions.
As if there is an inner knowing gently informing your movements.
Faith allows you to trust the direction without needing to understand it.”
-Rick Rubin

On Support

Rick Rubin and Mourielle Herrera black and white photo red carpet

Walk This Way; Rick Rubin and his partner Mourielle Herrera arrive at the Vanity Fair Oscars Party c. Getty

“When the clues present themselves,
it can sometimes feel like the delicate mechanism of a clock at work.
As if the universe is nudging you with little reminders that its’
on your side and wants to provide everything you need to complete your mission.”
-Rick Rubin

On Habits 

two men at picnic table black and white

By The Way;  Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers + Rick talk of their 30+ year friendship in the Showtime Series Shangri-La.  Courtesy of Showtime

“If you make the choice of reading classic literature
everyday for a year,
rather than reading the news,
by the end of that time period
you’ll have more honed sensitivity
for recognizing greatness from books than from the media.

This applies to every choice we make.
Not just with art, but with the friends we chose,
the conversations we have, even the thoughts we reflect on.
All of these aspects affect our ability
to distinguish good from very good, very good from great.
They help us determine what’s worthy of our time and attention.”
-Rick Rubin

On Intuition

Dixie Chicks, Davis Lynch And Rick Rubin, standing with arms around eachother

Takin’ The Long Way Around;  The Dixie Chicks, David Lynch + Rick  c. Getty

“It’s not always easy to follow
the subtle energetic information the universe broadcasts,
especially when your friends, family, coworkers,
or those with a business interest
in your creativity are offering seemingly
rational advice that challenges your intuitive knowing.
To the best of my ability,
I’ve followed my intuition to make career turns,
and been recommended against doing so every time.
It helps to realize that it’s better to
follow the universe than those around you.”
-Rick Rubin

On Deep Listening

Everyone I Know Goes Away In The End; Rick with Johnny Cash c. Getty

“Our work embodies a higher purpose.
Whether we know it or not, we’re a conduit for the universe.
Material is allowed through us.
If we are a clear channel,
our intention reflects the intention in the cosmos.

Most creators think of themselves as the conductor of the orchestra.
If we zoom out of our small view of reality,
we function more as an instrumentalist
in a much larger symphony the universe is orchestrating.”
-Rick Rubin

On Intention

The Last Waltz; Rick reflects             courtesy Showtime

“With the objective of simply doing great work,
a ripple effect occurs. A bar is set for everything you do,
which may not only lift your work to new heights,
but raise the vibrations of your entire life.
It may even inspire others to do their best work.
Greatness begets greatness. It’s infectious.”
-Rick Rubin

On Trust

Adele with her Grammys black and white

Rolling In the Deep; Adele wins 7 Grammys for her “21” album produced By Rick at Shangri-La c. Getty

“In an abundant world,
we have a greater capacity to complete
and release our work. When there are so many ideas
available and so much great art to make,
we are compelled to engage, let go, and move forward.”
-Rick Rubin

On Eternity

Tom petty and rick Rubin at sound board back and white photo

It’s Time To Move On; Tom Petty + Rick in the studio on “Wildflowers” c. Robert Sebree

“As human beings, we come and go quickly,
and we get to make works that stand
as monuments to our time here.”
-Rick Rubin

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