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

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

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch w...

Title:Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Author:
Rating:
ISBN:0761169253
Edition Language:English
Number of Pages:160 pages

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

  • Peter Derk

    These kind of books are like candy. They make me feel better in the moment, but ultimately don't do much towards building a full picture of happiness.

    The inherent problem in any book that's a how-to for something artistic, whether it be writing or painting or making music or the artistry in tailoring a custom Voltron costume, the problem with the how-to book is that when you're reading the how-to book you're not doing the actual thing you're being taught to do. In other words, a book ABOUT writi

    These kind of books are like candy. They make me feel better in the moment, but ultimately don't do much towards building a full picture of happiness.

    The inherent problem in any book that's a how-to for something artistic, whether it be writing or painting or making music or the artistry in tailoring a custom Voltron costume, the problem with the how-to book is that when you're reading the how-to book you're not doing the actual thing you're being taught to do. In other words, a book ABOUT writing is probably less helpful to a writer than a book that's just plain good. A how-to book about painting is probably of less use than a book of paintings you enjoy.

    I'm not saying there's no place for these types of books, and this one is smart because it's a quick read and it sticks pretty well to the motivational side of things as opposed to the nuts and bolts. It's good to read motivational stuff, especially because creating art can be a pretty lonely process. It's just hard to pack away the awareness that while you're reading about creating art, you could spend that time creating art.

  • El

    (This review is longer than the book itself.)

    Here are the Top Ten Points that the author makes in this teeny book:

    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. 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

    It's all very good advi

    (This review is longer than the book itself.)

    Here are the Top Ten Points that the author makes in this teeny book:

    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. 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

    It's all very good advice. It's all great reminders.

    But that's what these are - reminders.

    The beef I have with self-help or how-to books is that the information inside the covers is stuff you already know. You just haven't thought about it before. This isn't to say that these books aren't helpful for many - but for people who are too busy (or, in extreme cases, too lazy) to think for themselves. They can read the books and their third eye can open and they can think they've just broke new ground... and then they don't go off to do what it is they were learning how-to do.

    What is good about Kleon's book is that he acknowledges almost immediately that there is no such thing as originality. Had he not written that very early on I'd be calling him a hypocrite right now for trying to pass any of this off as original. But that wasn't his intention - he saw a market for his advice and he went with it, so I give him props for that. It's just that I'm such a cynical person anyway, I'm wary of these sorts of "guides". I'd much rather a person just muddle through on their own based on their own experiences, learning from all the good and the bad that happens, and creating something out of all of that. This is a Hot Topic sort of creativity - mass marketed, polished, packaged.

    So why did I read it? Great question, because this is not at all my thing. I was curious, primarily. I came across his name because I came across someone's blog where the author was writing about her journal, which led to her discussion of Kleon's log books, and I was curious to see what he could possibly say about creativity. That's One. Two: I'm fascinated by the creative process. What works for me and my creativity is going to be completely different from my boyfriend's creative process, or my best friend's creative process, or the stranger down the street. I like reading about the daily process that my favorite writers/musicians/artists/people to get into their creative groove because it's fascinating, not because I want to copy them (though Kleon recommends a lot of copying; and this isn't to say there's anything wrong with it, per se, but it's not my motivation).

    The information here isn't

    necessary for the stuff people generally consider "creative" - some of stuff is helpful just in your daily life. People think a 9-to-5 job is energy-sapping and you can't be creative in your boring white-collar job, and those people sit back and do... well, very little of anything... and judge the rest of us who have to work for what we want and say we're not creative. I am creative in my job as much as possible and on paper it's not a very creative position. I have to be creative to find ways of being creative. And when it works, it works well, and it comes up in my annual reviews regularly, so I'm occasionally doing something right. This book is a good reminder for people in those positions too, who think they aren't in any position to be creative. Don't get all stuck on what you or are not doing, don't compare yourself to other people. (That's not even a part of Kleon's advice. That one comes from me. And a bunch of other people.)

    The part I like the best is #5. Hobbies

    important. I always have a side project of some sort, but I have yet to figure out how to consistently have energy after my stupid 9-to-5 job (actually it's a 7-something-to-4-something job, but that's beside the point). I was hoping for some insight from Kleon on that, but it wasn't really there. He basically just said "Hey, you can do this!" which, yeah, okay, thanks, I tell myself that every day, but I'm still tired and sapped. Probably from all that creativity I do at work - coming up with ways not to kill people or worry about backstabbing takes a crapload of energy and creativity.

    So, again, great reminders here, and really great for Millennials and Gen Y and whatever generation comes after those kids (have they been named yet??). It's a fast read, hopefully inspiring, even if for just the moment. But don't get bogged down by it. Read it because it's fast and easy, feel good for a few, and then go on and do your thing. Do

    . That's all you can answer to regularly anyway.

    The other thing I fully 100-bajillion% agree with Kleon about - keep a journal. Do whatever you want in those pages, but keep

    thing. If you want to be creative in any way, that's going to be your rock. I fill mine with everything. EVERYTHING. You could flip through them, but you'd think I am a serial killer. I mean it's all very insane in these journals. (And I would have to kill you after you flipped through them, so.) But that's what works for me. Figure out what works for you and do that. You'll appreciate it later.

    A little heavy-handed with all the quotes, but again, feels more geared towards younger readers anyway, and hopefully many readers will want to know more about those quoted people which is certainly Kleon's point.

    And on that note (I can quote too!), I'll share one of my favorites from David Foster Wallace's

    :

  • Nancy

    This eye-catching little book was wedged into the corner of one of the couches in the student lounge where I work. I was there for a cup of coffee, and since it was a rather slow day, I decided to pick up the book and read.

    There’s a lot of common sense stuff in here for all types of creative people. You don’t have to be an artist or writer to benefit from these inspirational bits. They can help those who want to be more creative at work, or find room in one’s life for a

    This eye-catching little book was wedged into the corner of one of the couches in the student lounge where I work. I was there for a cup of coffee, and since it was a rather slow day, I decided to pick up the book and read.

    There’s a lot of common sense stuff in here for all types of creative people. You don’t have to be an artist or writer to benefit from these inspirational bits. They can help those who want to be more creative at work, or find room in one’s life for a hobby when time is in short supply. There are other tips for managing one’s life in order to be able to spend the time doing creative and fulfilling work.

    I really like this advice:

    It’s a short, fun book, and not a bad way to spend 30 minutes. Perfect to read in the student lounge, on the bus, or on the toilet.

  • Ariel

    I read this after reading "Show Your Work!" which is the opposite order of publication, and while I definitely preferred the latter, this was also really great. Sometimes it just has to be one idea, one quote, one line, that can make a book for you. This book was solidly consistently good, but for me it was the push to start using a notebook that really made a change for me.**

    So personally I liked the other one more, but I've heard a solid chunk of people that like this one more.. certain ideas

    I read this after reading "Show Your Work!" which is the opposite order of publication, and while I definitely preferred the latter, this was also really great. Sometimes it just has to be one idea, one quote, one line, that can make a book for you. This book was solidly consistently good, but for me it was the push to start using a notebook that really made a change for me.**

    So personally I liked the other one more, but I've heard a solid chunk of people that like this one more.. certain ideas will click more with different people. I recommend reading both .. I read them very close together and they feel like one project.

    ** (I wrote a blog post about it, check it out:

    )

  • Natalie

    This was such a phenomenal and much needed read for me.

    gives ideas that apply to anyone who’s trying to inject some creativity into their life and their work. It really inspired me and I can’t wait for what’s next.

    Also, can I just quote everything? Because I really need and want to:

    This was such a phenomenal and much needed read for me.

    gives ideas that apply to anyone who’s trying to inject some creativity into their life and their work. It really inspired me and I can’t wait for what’s next.

    Also, can I just quote everything? Because I really need and want to:

    (Those were some of my personal favorites.)

    And this book also included pictures within, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

    It's a very quick and honest read. I highly recommend it!

    ,

  • Wil Wheaton

    Steal Like an Artist is essential and required reading for all artists, regardless of the type of art you create.

    It's a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you've put it down. Some of Austin's suggestions will validate what you're already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.

    Because it's such a small and access

    Steal Like an Artist is essential and required reading for all artists, regardless of the type of art you create.

    It's a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you've put it down. Some of Austin's suggestions will validate what you're already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.

    Because it's such a small and accessible book, you'll want to go back to it from time to time. Just like Stephen King's

    , as you change and grow as an artist, it reveals new ideas and inspirations to you that you may have missed on a previous read.

    This is a fantastic addition to your library, and a wonderful gift for any creative person in your life.


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