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

Book review by Deane Barker tags: creativity

This is one of those motivational/inspirational type books. It doesn’t really present a lot of new information, and it’s formatted all funky with weird fonts and colors and stuff (a la Tom Peters), and it’s really short – you can read it in 30 minutes.

The goal is to impress upon you that it’s okay to steal stuff from other artists, because this is what helps us develop creatively. Everyone wants to have their own creative style, but few people acknowledge that something really unique is rare. Everyone just mixes up other people’s stuff with their own ideas.

Here are some of the “10 Things” from the subtitle:

  • Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started

  • Write the book you want to read

… and that’s about it, related to the title. Some of other chapters are just about creativity in general:

  • Use your hands

  • Do good work and share it with people

  • Geography is not longer our master

It’s a good book, and I’m glad I read it, but it’s pretty shallow. Again, this is inspiration, not practicum.

Also, if you already accept that stealing from others is a great way to find yourself creatively, then perhaps you don’t need the book? Though, even then, it’s nice to have some tangible reminder/authorization of this.

(If you like this idea in general, then I also recommend the Everything is a Remix series of videos, and website.)

(Also, if you really want practical information and history here, try Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. He makes the same point around creativity and innovation in technology and industry.)

Book Info

Austin Kleon
  • I have read this book. According to my records, I completed it on .
  • A softcover copy of this book is currently in my home library.

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