Book Notes. Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

This book is by Austin Kleon, 2012. I had also wrote about his other book "Show Your Work! 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered." 

Here are the 10 things nobody told you about being creative:
  1. Steal like an artist.
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
  3. Write the book you want to read.
  4. Use your hands.
  5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
  6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
  7. Geography is no longer our master.
  8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
  10. Creativity is subtraction.
Kleon gave a short TEDX talk about the idea behind this book.

The title is an homage to a quote attributed to Picasso: “Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” Picasso also said: "Art is theft." It’s not just where you take things from, it's where you take them to. Here are some parts I highlighted under Section 1: "steal like an artist."

Every artist gets asked the question, "Where do you get your ideas?" The honest artist answers, "I steal them."
             
Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.

You have a mother and you have a father. You possess features from both of them, but the sum of you is bigger than their parts.
             
You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe said, "We are shaped and fashioned by what we love."

Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.
             
Carry a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go. Get used to pulling it out and jotting down your thoughts and observations. Copy your favorite passages out of books. Record overheard conversations. Doodle when you're on the phone.

You might be scared to start. That's natural. There's this very real thing that runs rampant in educated people. It’s called "impostor syndrome."
             
Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they'll tell you the truth: They don't know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day.
             
Don't just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don't want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes.

As with Kleon's other books, the book has beautiful artwork.


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