Book Cover

Steal Like An Artist – Book Notes

I regret not reading the book in 2012. So, I am taking his suggestions seriously at this time in life, and we’ll see what comes of it. It’s not something I can just read and not feel impressed to implement. This blog is an example, and writing summaries of books that have affected me is part of this new phase of my life.

As one who survived the academic process, my training was to write for my professors and peers. There was certain creativity in academic writing, but it is a far cry from what Kleon’s books are attempting to inspire (see Show Your Work here)

Anyone with a desire to create in any form or field can find the motivation and kick in the butt to break the stalemate of procrastination. 

Title: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Author: Austin Kleon is a New York Times bestselling author[of five books: Steal Like an ArtistShow Your Work!; Keep Going; Steal Like An Artist Journal; and Newspaper Blackout.  Kleon’s works focus on creativity in today’s world. Source:

Publication: Workman Publishing Company, New York

Book in Three Sentences:

  1. Waiting to be original is to delay developing your emerging creativity; create something now.
  2. Write the book you want to read; create the art you want to see, hear, etc. 
  3. Technology is not conducive to being creative; fine for editing and preparing for publication but have a separate analog desk for creativity that flows more from within your body.

Impressions: Klein wrote the book from a speech presented to college students in 2011 that shared ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting at their age.  He created the art for the book and published it in 2012. (Wikipedia)The major points in the chapter titles are not new ideas but presented in a condensed version that effectively motivates the budding creative to stop procrastinating. He’s careful to distinguish “stealing” to learn the heart and soul of the creator you admire from plagiarizing. His use of excellent supporting quotes almost writes the book.

My Favorite Quotes: 

  • If you have one person your influence by, everyone will save you the next whoever. But if you rip off 100, everyone will say you’re so original!” – Gary Panter
  • “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.” – André Gide
  • Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination.… Select only things to steal from that speak directly to your soul. If you do This, your work (and theft) will be authentic.”- Jim Jarmusch

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