Steal Like an Artist

10 Things Nobody Told You About Being CreativeSteal Like and Artist by Austin Kleon
by Austin Kleon
ISBN: 9780761169253

It turns out that the secret to getting off your ass and doing something is… getting off your ass and doing something. Kleon’s book is parts manifesto, pep talk, tough love talk, to do list, and art held together with some humor, good intentions, and a vision of the world where more people actually get off their asses and create.

Which makes it pretty awesome, unless you are determined to be a hardcore cynic, in which case I suppose you decided the book was ridiculous based on the title. It is not.

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use — do the work you want to see done.

If this manifesto resonates with you, go get the book. I doubt you’ll be sorry. You’ll probably be inspired, and you’ll want to share it with others. There isn’t a great mystery here, the ten key points Kleon makes are listed right on the back of the 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. 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.

I liked that he calls out the secret right there, point number six, in case you might miss it. In other words, the secret is there is no secret: get off your ass and do something.

Creative side projects have been important to me for a long time now. I think, after reading this book, I will try and apply the ideas to not just my side projects, but to my day job. The list of things Kleon says you’ll need to be creative seem to me to be necessary in my new gig: curiosity, kindness, stamina, and a willingness to look stupid.

I highly recommend this book. I think it will be good for the creative and procrastinating and sometimes scared (most of us) and the not certain they are creative, but yes they are and need a nudge to embrace new ideas (all of us at some point).

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