More Culture:

October 25, 2016

Book Review: Local author offers 'Ego Management for Creative People'

Books Writing
Camille DeAngelis Camille DeAngelis /for PhillyVoice

If anyone knows about how to put aside your ego, it’s the guy who had to do it to become Hannibal Lecter.

Writers aren’t, historically, “how-to” readers. Writers don’t like being told that bitterness, jealousy, neurosis and Maker’s Mark aren’t the perfect combination for literary success. Outside of grad school, they’re not so keen on homework. But given the changing publishing landscape, and another best-seller list featuring the latest by Snooki or Bill O’Reilly, they’re learning to adapt.

  • "Life Without Envy: Ego Management for Creative People"
  • by Camille DeAngelis
  • St. Martin’s Griffin
  • Published Sept. 27

With “Life Without Envy,” Moorestown, New Jersey, native Camille DeAngelis offers writers an interesting option for overcoming the mental traffic jam creative people often find themselves in. Because she’s been there herself — after publishing four novels and still struggling to pay rent — she’s seen the best and the worst of the industry. Here, she outlines every snub, slight and shrug she’s experienced and turns it into practical advice.

And “Life Without Envy” is delightful simply because it is practical. DeAngelis isn’t peddling a philosophy, but she has boiled down some salient points. It’s talk therapy in book form. Inspired by Eckhart Tolle, DeAngelis describes the “misapprehensions” of ego that serve as artistic roadblocks and offers anecdotal advice on how to circumvent them. It’s thoughtful and thorough.

She quotes spiritual texts, mythologists, philosophers, gurus and Sir Anthony Hopkins; because if anyone knows about how to put aside your ego, it’s the guy who had to do it to become Hannibal Lecter. There’s homework, but it’s the fun kind — just thinking and reading.

The handiest part of “Life Without Envy” is its design. It’s a slim paperback with short chapters and an index for further reading. It’s ideal to keep in the big pocket in your bag to take out on your way back from your friend’s fabulous event, or after reading a rejection letter, or when you’re in what DeAngelis describes as a “pinchy spot.” Read it at the bar between sips of Maker’s Mark.