Review: Die Empty by Todd Henry

I’ve been a big fan of Todd Henry’s work for a while. His first book, The Accidental Creative: How to Be Brilliant at a Moment’s Notice has a cherished spot on my paper-based book shelving area, and he recently released its follow-up, Die Empty: Unleash Your Best Every Day. And he’s delivered another winner with this book.

One of the best thing about Henry’s writing is that he does everything he can to make it accessible to s many people as possible. Now I don’t accessible in terms of availability. I mean it in terms of being able to really reach people with the message so that they can relate in a way that sticks. He is able to use this by finding combinations of words — through the use of alliteration, for example — so that his writing is memorable. In Die Empty, he uses this strength of his better than ever. Things like the three kinds of work he offers (Making, Mapping, and Meshing) and the four elements that can be looked at to explore the edges of problems (Aspirations, Affinities, Assumptions, and Attributes) allow the reader to really dig in and grasp the concepts better. He adds a lot more meaning — and meat — to his work with this approach to his writing, and it serves him (and his book) very well.

The idea behind Die Empty is that by the time you reach the end of your life, you should have put it all out there. Living a fulfilling life should leave you empty at the end of it all. And not with an empty feeling, mind you. But instead (as Henry puts it), a life where you sustain passion and curiosity, make a unique and valuable contribution, and…die empty. Henry offers suggestions as to how you can make this happen, and while none of them are particularly easy to make happen (nothing really worthwhile is), they are certainly easy to understand. Being armed with that knowledge brings you one step closer to unleashing your best work every day, and Henry aims to help you make sure that you can do this consistently.

There’s a good reason I’m a fan of Todd Henry’s work. I believe that we’re very similar in our approaches to productivity.1 Effectiveness before efficiency. Mindfulness and awareness are hugely important — and impactful when it comes to going forward with your life’s work. So there’s good reason why I really enjoyed reading Die Empty. If you’re feeling stuck in a place you don’t want to be or feel as if you’re not offering enough to the world (and can’t figure out how to possibly offer more), then give Die Empty a look. It is — fittingly — a very fulfilling read.

1 We are also very similiar in terms of our love/hate relationship for the Cincinnati Bengals, as most Bengals fans are.