Steal Like an Artist
A Book by Austin Kleon
2012 / 160 Pages
If you’re going to steal to something and call it your own you may as well know how to do it properly so as not to draw unnecessary attention to your actions, no? Though it does contain 10 rules, Austin Kleon’s slight little volume Steal Like an Artist isn’t necessarily a how-to guide. It serves more as solid reminder of one very important fact: nothing is truly original.
Everything in life is mix of something else, even us. We’re a combination of our parent’s genes that were combined to make something new from something that previously existed in the world.
Great art and creativity come from being inspired by the works of others that we enjoy. Kleon says that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. In fact, he encourages it. What his book advises you to do is seek out as many forms of inspiration as possible and to keep a notebook where you write down snippets and pieces that are important to you so that you can refer back to them later. He wants you to learn not only to appreciate your heroes, but to teach yourself to think like them. Once you can do that, you can then combine your inspirations to create something unique to call your own.
Overflowing with short chapters, great sketches, and pertinent quotes, Kleon’s book is structured as a quick read that’s meant to inspire you in times of creative crisis. His rules are based on practical common sense. They are easy to understand, but more importantly, they seem even easier to integrate into even the most hectic of daily routines.
Whether you consider yourself to be highly creative, wholly unimaginative, or maybe somewhere in between doesn’t really matter. Kleon’s guide is aimed at everyone in all walks of life. It certainly isn’t the only blueprint for sparking creativity, and it’s not even that original (which is a huge part of its charm obviously), but it is wildly motivational.