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

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

by Austin Kleon

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Overview

Unlock your creativity.

An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life.
 
Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path. Follow interests wherever they take you—what feels like a hobby may turn into you life’s work. Forget the old cliché about writing what you know: Instead, write the book you want to read, make the movie you want to watch.
 
And finally, stay Smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring in the everyday world so that you have the space to be wild and daring in your imagination and your work.

 “Brilliant and real and true.”—Rosanne Cash
 

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780761169253
Publisher: Workman Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date: 02/28/2012
Pages: 160
Sales rank: 14,637
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 6.00(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Austin Kleon is a writer who draws. He is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work! His work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. He also speaks frequently about creativity in the digital age for such organizations as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. He lives in Austin, Texas, and online at austinkleon.com.


Read an Excerpt

HOW TO LOOK AT THE WORLD (LIKE AN ARTIST)

Every artist gets asked the question,
“Where do you get your ideas?”

The honest artist answers,
“I steal them.”

How does an artist look at the world?

First, you figure out what’s worth stealing, then you move on to the next thing.

That’s about all there is to it.

When you look at the world this way, you stop worrying about what’s “good” and what’s “bad”—there’s only stuff worth stealing, and stuff that’s not worth stealing.

Everything is up for grabs. If you don’t find something worth stealing today, you might find it worth stealing tomorrow or a month or a year from now.

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.”
—David Bowie


NOTHING IS ORIGINAL

The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something “original,” nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.

It’s right there in the Bible: “There is nothing new under the sun.” (Ecclesiastes 1:9)

Some people find this idea depressing, but it fills me with hope. As the French writer André Gide put it, “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it.

“What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.”
—William Ralph Inge

Table of Contents

  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.

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