Steal Like An Artist

10 Things nobody told you about being creative


Part of the beauty of Austin Kleon's work is in its conciseness. My college history professor, Dr. Greg Massey, instructed us to provide as much information as we could, using as few words as possible. Kleon does just that. His words are simple, yet profound. Steal Like an Artist is full of actionable strategies designed to help inspire the reader to summon their inner creative. It is a short read, but it is packed with value.


Cover to cover will take 40 minutes give or take, and I foresee several more rereads in my future. When I finish an Austin Kleon book, my mind is yearning for more. So, as I did with the first of his works that I read, Keep Going, I finished my first read of Steal Like An Artist, I flipped immediately back to the front and started again. Paraphrasing his comments from the first page of the book, the ideas he presents are applicable far beyond the realm of artists.


I reflected briefly on the book on Day 225.


And I'll finish by sharing a few of the thoughts that I liked from the first chapter of the book.


"It's one of my theories that when people give you advice, they're really just talking to themselves in the past."


"Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again." - André Gide (Kleon's work is riddled with the words of other thinkers and doers who have clearly influenced his process)


"Embrace influence instead of running away from it."


"Your job is to collect good ideas."


"Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul." - Jim Jarmusch

(That one is speaking directly to mine)


"Once you build your tree, it's time to start your own branch."


"Whether you're in school or not, it's always your job to get yourself an education."


"You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else -- that's how you'll get ahead."

Book Review by Dustin Woodward