Paul Lavoie is the Chairman of TAXINYC, a respected international creative advertising and design agency with a slew of visible clients, including Mini Cooper, Heineken, Foot Locker, and many more. Lavoie and company have just produced a book of their “unconventional wisdom” that attempts to be as inspiring as it is entertaining. Illustrated by Gary Taxali, the book titled DOUBT, is one in a long history of creative manifestos. So, what makes this one different (aside from Taxali’s engaging characters)? I asked Lavoie to shed some light – I mean doubt.
Your book is called DOUBT. Did you have any doubt that there was a book to be made out of this theme?
Doubt has always been the cornerstone of TAXI’s philosophy: “Doubt the conventional. Create the exceptional.” It has driven nearly two decades of growth and great work at the agency and has never been about the kind of doubt that hesitates and falters but always about the kind of doubt that questions the status quo or the obvious. This book is a very conscious effort to share what we think is a valuable way of working and the hope that it might benefit creative thinkers everywhere.
Ordinarily, I am not a fan of wisdom books. But this has its tongue firmly planted in cheek. Tell, me how you avoided pedantry in this volume?
A title like “unconventional wisdom from the world’s greatest shit disturber” obliges an approach that is in itself unconventional in contrast to most How To books that are extremely formulaic. The wisdom contained therein is the usually making of an excellent 2000 word essay stretched into 10 chapters. Our approach goes in the opposite direction and pares that wisdom down to a handful of truisms – or doubtisms in this case. The Doubt character too is in deliberate contrast to a preachy or patronizing style, and seeks to give credit to a reader already capable of innovative thinking and to fuel their fire.
One of your doubtisms is “Dung Beetles Have Huge Balls?” What do you mean by that?
Watch this. It is often the kind of determination (read balls) you need to have to take an unconventional idea from a fleeting thought, to the light of day.
Watching a dung beetle push crap around is not my idea of inspiration. Nonetheless, it grabbed my attention. Other than grabbing, what do you want readers to take away from this? Or give back to it?
Practically, the books delivers tips on how to navigate ideas through a system that often prefers the status quo. It shares proof that it is worth it with examples of unconventional thinking from all aspects of our world and that have made our lives better. It offers a forum at doubttheconventional.com for an ongoing sharing of doubt. But most of all it seeks to empower creative thinkers to be a catalyst for positive change.