Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality – Now that’s a hopeful title isn’t it. How many times have you had a great idea, thought ‘I really should do something with that’, but then nothing ever comes of it?

I picked up this book in the hopes that it would, with the wave of its magic bookmark, turn all my old ideas and day-dreams into run-away international business successes. Okay… I admit that’s a little far-fetched, but I was drawn to this book because I have a hard time turning my ideas into reality. So, I started reading, hoping for that spark of inspiration, or hidden secret, that would help me take my ideas and turn them into something both functional and real.

Unfortunately, there is no magic bookmark being waved in my direction, and no book can single-handedly turn my ideas into gold. However, it is possible that, with a bit of sweat, Making Ideas Happen can change my life. This is not a book filled with fluffy bunnies, or motivational metaphors designed to get me moving. Instead, this is a college course in actually doing something with your ideas. Belsky mines the experience of visionary people who all have one thing in common, they were able to make their ideas happen.

Scott Belsky contends that you need three elements to make any idea real. He says, “you just need to modify your organizational habits, engage a broader community, and develop your leadership capability.”

Getting Organized

Being organized is the first step toward execution. Creative people have a tendency to flit about from one thing to the next. When a new idea strikes, we leave off on an old one. With a project based approach and a way to organize and create action steps around an idea, you can stay focused and stay creative at the same time.


Belsky does a very good job in showing how the best ideas that have come to fruition have all involved a team element. Whether it is a team of colleagues or friends, physical or virtual, it doesn’t really batter as long as you have the right mix of Dreamers, Doers and Incrementalists.

Without friendly scepticism, and people checking to see ideas are water-tight, too much energy is spent on poorly formed ideas.

Be the Leader

While most of the section on leadership could come out of any good leadership or management manual, Belsky always ties it back to the idea. The idea is the engine that makes everything else possible. Therefore, when you lead, you are not doing it from the position of an exalted CEO. You are doing so as the person with the idea – and you are instilling passion in the people around you every step of the way. While Belsky enthusiastically points out that, without execution, ideas are pointless; he also admits that good execution needs an idea to start with.

This book is for you, if you:

  • have a great idea (or ideas) but can’t get it off the ground
  • are already working on your ideas and want to execute better
  • need to learn a better way to manage tasks and organize projects (read the first part of the book)
  • want to create a dynamic team that buys in to your idea 110%
  • want to enable your team to get more done and achieve more creative results