“evil plans” is nearly done

Since I got back home from SXSW I’ve been working on finishing EVIL PLANS, my second book.

I think I’m almost there, Folks. A few more days of obsessive tweaking to go, and then off to the publisher’s for the final edit. Hurrah!

Man, what a relief. Ever since I signed the contract last summer, I’ve been feeling the pressure. The first book, IGNORE EVERYBODY did very well- FAR better than I ever could have predicted. Beginner’s luck? Maybe.

Regardless, to do it a second time felt like a lot to live up to. It feels GREAT to have the hardest part of the process mostly over and done with.

EVIL PLANS will have roughly the same format as IGNORE EVERYBODY: 18,000 words, plus a hundred or so cartoons. Designed to be read easily on the john, or on an airplane. As I’m fond of saying, “This isn’t rocket science”.

Here’s how the Introduction opens:


Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN. Everybody needs that crazy, out-there idea that allows them to ACTUALLY start doing something they love, doing something that matters. Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN that gets them the hell out of the Rat Race, away from lousy bosses, away from boring, dead-end jobs that they hate. Life is short.

Every person who ever managed to do this, every person who manged to escape the cubical farm and start doing something interesting and meaningful, started off with their own EVIL PLAN. And yeah, pretty much everyone around them- friends, family, colleagues- thought they were nuts.

Thanks to the Internet, it has never been easier to have an EVIL PLAN, to make a great living, doing what you love, doing something that matters. My intention is that by the time you’ve finished reading this book, you will completely concur. More importantly, you’ll actually feel compelled enough to go and do something about it yourself, if you haven’t already.

Last year my friend, David Brain interviewed me:

DAVID: What was the motive behind writing the book [IGNORE EVERYBODY]? I mean, I know how little money these things make, but do you want it to help other people better their lives or is it just another evil plan?

HUGH: I certainly didn’t expect to make any real money from it, and how much it would “help” other people is pretty debatable. But sometimes in your life you have these defining moments, where you draw a line in the sand and declare to the world, “This is who I am, this is what I believe, this is what’s important to me.” I think we all need these moments at some point, to make us better understand who we really are. Writing a book is a good way to force these moments to the surface. That was really the key driver, here.

And “forcing these moments to the surface” was the key driver with EVIL PLANS, as well. The book is not a how-to book; it’s not an instruction manual. It is a personal rant about something I’ve been pursuing all my adult life: to somehow find a way to unify both Work and Love.

i.e. To do what you truly love, and somehow get paid for it. Again, conceptually this may not be rocket science, certainly, yet it’s still something that eludes most of us. Most of us still have to schlep for a living.

Personally, I think most of us would rather not have to schelp. I think most of us would rather have an EVIL PLAN. I think most of us would much rather find a way to unify Work and Love.

Which is why, of course, I wrote the book. Wish me luck with it, anyway. Thanks…

[EVIL PLANS is scheduled to hit the bookstores April, 2011.]


  1. Sounds great, I’m looking forward to it!

  2. The introduction sounds great. I can’t wait to get my hands on the book. Will have to re-read Ignore Everybody in preparation.

  3. April 2011? that’s a long time away. Really looking forward to it, though.

    • Hey David,

      Yep, over a year.

      Contractually, I have to have the manuscript done by July. Though I’m aiming for well before that…

      Then it’s a couple of months in production. Then a couple of months getting the publisher’s sales & marketing up to speed.

      By that time, Christmas is already behind us. Then the book goes in to the next corporate sales cycle, which in this case is April, 2011.

      The good news is, by the time EVIL PLANS comes out, I’ll already have a new book, already written and ready to go into production.

      I’ve already started working on it…

  4. So freaking awesometastic. And I’m glad you’re having this conversation, because it seemed like there was a message in Ignore Everybody to keep art separate from the thing you do to make money … and I don’t believe that has to be true.

    The entire thesis of my biz is that by doing what is a natural expression of who you really are, that’s when the most success/fulfillment/joy/changing-the-world is possible. Yeah, not quite sure if that is true, really … but that’s the thesis at least. And the adventure, eh?

  5. Well Hugh, you know I love your art and you, so I can give you a hard time ;-)


    How the HECK do you allow being sucked up and absorbed by the corporate publishing circus?

    Half a year producing and marketing a “john’s booklet”? Woooooooooooot?

    “The next corporate sales cycle” oh no, Hugh! You must still be dizzy from the SXSW booze actually writing down stuff like this

    Looks like the system’s hunting you down where ever you go, hey?

    ;-) Martijn

  6. Hey Marty, the “circus” you speak of has been very kind to me, so far. Not to mention, they’ve done a fabulous job.

    If you have a better idea, put it in writing, write me a check and let’s see what you got ;-)

    Secondly, it takes four months to do the sales and marketing simply because, the team in charge of that at any large publisher’s won’t have just my book to worry about, they’ll have many others as well.

    It’s a lot more complex than leaving a silly-ass comment on a blog, that’s for sure ;-)

  7. A year IS an awfully long time to wait for such goodness, but meanwhile I have all your “Evil Plans” posts printed out for any time I need a little jolt of Hugh-ly inspiration.

    Obviously all this stuff resonates with me, and I started making my Evil Plans real a few years ago when I learned how to make and sell my own DVD on the internet. Turned a profit in 2009! It’s all real, folks!

  8. hugh, i have to say, i would be so very pleased if this time you didn’t put the cartoons in with an angle and a fake drop shadow. it just…seems like such a ‘young adult book’ way to handle images…

  9. Is Evil Universal? Not sure, but I know that love is… Thanks for spreading the love Hugh…

  10. A Scot who says, ‘shlep’. Too funny! :-D

    Looking forward to your new book. What a clever title!

  11. Just curious if you happen’re implementing model new jigga-star plugin for BE or at after you made this theme by yourself?


  1. [...] worked long and hard at something he truly enjoys.  His blog is at gapingvoid.com. His most recent post is an update on his second book which is nearly completed. “Evil Plans” is his look at [...]

  2. [...] love the introduction to Hugh McLeod’s (@gapingvoid) new book ‘Evil Plans‘ – Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN. [...]

  3. [...] love the introduction to Hugh MacLeod’s (@gapingvoid) new book ‘Evil Plans‘ – Everybody needs an EVIL PLAN. [...]

  4. [...] “evil plans” is nearly done (gapingvoid.com) [...]

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark