The newest little black book on the bookshelf, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative from Austin Kleon, is definitely attention grabbing. At first glance, I admit, I was a bit confused by the title. Who really gives advice to steal from other people? He doesn’t waste any time writing about his implication of the title and quickly draws you in with his powerful, very truthful, and inspiring words of advice.
Here are just a few of the thought provoking insights Kleon provides in his book:
- Nothing is truly original. Your ideas were inspired from somewhere or someone. “Nothing comes from nowhere.”
- Every new idea is a mix of a combination of other ideas and inspirations.
- Artists have a job to collect good ideas, “You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.”
- See yourself as part of an artistic and creative lineage; study everything there is to know about your favorite artists.
- Be curious about the world around you. Google everything you ever wanted to know.
- Doodle, journal, and save. Allow yourself time to doodle and get inspired. Write down your ideas when they come to you and save them for later.
- Get dressed and setup your stage for the job you want, not the job you have.
- Copy your favorite artists. “Don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style.”
- Don’t imitate, emulate your favorite artists. Make them proud you were influenced by their work.
- Write the books you WANT to read.
- Step away from technology, use analog tools, and get busy with your hands. Setup two work stations – one for analog work and the other for digital work.
- Practice productive procrastination. Keep yourself busy with side jobs.
- Keep your hobbies; keep all your passions in your life.
- Share your work.
- Your geographical location is no longer an excuse; your location does not have to hold you back.
- Make good friends and ignore your enemies. Anything you say can be used against you and probably will, so keep your mouth shut.
- Write public fan letters.
- Your work does not need validation from anyone. “So get comfortable with being misunderstood, disparaged, or ignored – the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care.”
- Artistic highs wear off. Keep a praise file to return to for encouragement.
- Keep busy, stay out of debt, and get organized.
- Don’t overload yourself with possibilities. Simplify. “Limitations mean freedom.”
I thought the entire book, from cover to cover, was truly uplifting and motivating. This book should be read by everyone, including artists and even those who are not creative types. His advice is great for everyday use, in any field of work. Kleon said, “Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.” Page after page has beautifully written advice that you may even find yourself reading the book in its entirety and even reading it again later for another boost of confidence. It’s a great read and a definite must-have for your creative and inspirational bookshelf.