Book: Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

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I picked up this book during my usual perusal of the sorting shelves at my local library. Each time I visit the library, I let serendipity take a hand and see what other patrons have been reading and returned lately. It is typical for me to walk away with anything from 1 to 10 books depending on my mood. These books range from Fiction to Non-Fiction, cookbooks to poetry, manga to literature.

I was quite delighted with this book and its message. The title uses the word “Steal” to great effect but then clearly lays out that they really mean taking the influence of your favorites and heroes. It is true that nothing new really exist under the sun. Everything new and innovative is a mashup of something that has come before with something else. The “stealing” from the title could easily be “mashup” — a more contemporary term that means taking 2 disparate elements and making something new with them.

This is a small book, but it is filled with interesting and useful tidbits. It is a great book to make you stop and think about what you are doing and what you are creating. Here are a few quotes that made me stop for moment and think.

“Don’t steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You don’t want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heros.”

” A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies. Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives.”

This is a great book to keep around for when you have a few idle moments and are looking for a bit of a recharge. You might even want to keep it on your desk, so you can refer to it when you are struggling with your creating. We all need a little readjustment at times and this book is full of enlightening thoughts to do just that.


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 with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, col- lect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

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