If you click on this link, thank you for contributing to us. We may earn a commission when you buy through our links. Learn more ›
Immerse in reading with the All-new Kindle Paperwhite and enjoy 3 free months of Kindle Unlimited. Discover the best sellers in Audible Books & Originals through Audible. $0.00 - Get 30 Days Free and $14.95/month after 30 days. .
In “Steal Like an Artist,” Austin Kleon is a book about creativity in the digital age. It was first published in 2012 and has become a New York Times bestseller. It inspires you to embrace your artistic side and find inspiration from unexpected places. The book encourages you to borrow and remix ideas into your unique creations, helping you become more creative and imaginative. It’s a quick and enjoyable read that will boost your creativity.
- Genre: Nonfiction, Creativity, Self-Help
- Themes: Creativity, Inspiration, Artistic Process, Personal Growth, Innovation
What is this book about?
If you’re looking for a new perspective and some motivation to unleash your inner creative potential, “Steal Like an Artist” is the book for you. Kleon’s book stands out in the genre of creativity and self-help as it provides practical advice straightforwardly and engagingly.
In this book, Kleon debunks the lone genius myth and emphasizes that creativity is often about taking inspiration from others and building upon it. He encourages readers to embrace influences and see the value in borrowing ideas and techniques from artists and thinkers who inspire them. Kleon’s message is clear: it’s not about copying but remixing and making something new and unique.
The book is divided into ten chapters, each addressing a specific aspect of the creative process. Kleon explores the importance of side projects, the role of constraints in sparking creativity, and the significance of sharing your work with the world. He provides readers with actionable advice and exercises to help them overcome creative blockages and build their own creative voice.
One of the book’s central themes is the concept of “impostor syndrome,” which many creatives grapple with. Kleon reassures readers that feeling like a fraud is a common experience and that embracing it can drive improvement. He encourages readers to embrace their amateur status and view it as a valuable phase in the creative journey.
“Steal Like an Artist” is filled with visual illustrations and quotes that add depth and personality to the book. Kleon’s writing style is concise and filled with wit, making it accessible to many readers, including artists, writers, musicians, and anyone interested in fostering their creativity.
In a world where originality can feel elusive, this book serves as a guidepost for those seeking to navigate the creative process with confidence and authenticity. It’s a reminder that creativity is not a solitary endeavor but a collaborative and evolving journey.
- Nothing is original. Kleon argues that there is no such thing as a genuinely original idea. All creative work is derivative of something else. This doesn’t mean you can’t be creative or make something new. It simply means that you should be honest about your influences and build on the work of others.
- Steal like an artist. Kleon doesn’t mean that you should plagiarize or copy someone else’s work outright. Instead, he encourages you to study and learn from the work of your creative heroes. Pay attention to what they do well and how they do it. Then, try to incorporate those elements into your own work.
- Collect and curate your influences. Keep a swipe file of things that inspire you, such as articles, images, quotes, and ideas. Take the time to study and learn from your swipe file. This will help you develop your own unique voice and style.
- Don’t be afraid to experiment. Experimenting with new things and analyzing the results are essential steps in the creative process. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different styles, techniques, and mediums. The more you experiment, the more you learn about yourself and your capabilities.
- Share your work with the world. The best way to learn and grow as a creative is to share your work with others. Don’t be afraid to put your work out there, even if it is imperfect. The more you share, the more feedback you’ll receive, and the better your work will become.
Lessons and tips
- Don’t wait for inspiration. Inspiration is a fickle thing. It can strike at any time, or it can disappear altogether. Don’t wait for inspiration to hit you. Instead, create a schedule and stick to it. If you don’t feel inspired, force yourself to work on your creative projects.
- Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a part of the creative process. Everyone fails at some point. The important thing is to learn from your failures and keep moving forward.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you’re stuck on a creative project, don’t be afraid to ask for help from a friend, colleague, or mentor. Sometimes, all you need is a fresh perspective to get you unstuck.
“Steal Like an Artist” is a must-read for those who want to unleash their creativity and overcome creative blocks. Whether you’re an artist, writer, musician, or someone seeking to infuse more innovation into your life, Austin Kleon’s insights are valuable. This book benefits those who have struggled with inadequacy or impostor syndrome in their creative pursuits. Kleon’s approachable style and practical advice make applying his principles to your creative projects easy. If you’re looking for a book that will inspire you to embrace your influences, remix ideas, and cultivate your unique creative voice, “Steal Like an Artist” is the perfect choice. It’s a handbook for anyone on the creative journey, reminding you that you don’t have to start from scratch to create something meaningful and original.
Best-recommended books besides “Steal Like an Artist”
“Steal Like an Artist” encourages readers to embrace their inner artists and draw inspiration from the world around them. It offers practical advice on unlocking your creativity and becoming more innovative. If you enjoyed this book, here are alternative books in the creativity and personal development genre:
“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert
In “Big Magic,” Elizabeth Gilbert, the author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” explores creativity and inspiration. She believes creativity is a magical and mystical force in all of us. Gilbert shares anecdotes, personal experiences, and insights to inspire readers to pursue their creative passions without fear. She offers practical tips for overcoming creative blocks and living more creatively.
Why we love it:
- Gain a fresh perspective on creativity as a mystical force.
- Learn how to overcome fear and embrace your creative ideas.
- Be inspired by Gilbert’s engaging storytelling and wisdom.
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron is a transformative guide to unlocking your creative potential. Cameron introduces a 12-week program to break through creative blocks and connect with your inner artist. Through exercises and activities, readers are encouraged to tap into their creativity, find inspiration, and express themselves authentically.
Why we love it:
- Explore a spiritual approach to creativity and self-discovery.
- Follow a structured program to nurture your creative talents.
- Develop a deeper understanding of your creative process.
“Show Your Work!” by Austin Kleon
Written by the same author as “Steal Like an Artist,” “Show Your Work!” delves into the art of sharing your creative work with the world. Kleon emphasizes sharing your creative process, making meaningful connections, and building a following. He offers practical strategies for artists, writers, and creators to gain visibility and recognition.
Why we love it:
- Learn how to effectively share your creative work with others.
- Discover strategies for building a creative community and finding your audience.
- Benefit from Kleon’s concise and actionable advice.
“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield
“The War of Art” by Steven Pressfield is a motivational guide for overcoming the resistance that prevents us from pursuing our creative endeavors. Pressfield identifies the internal forces of procrastination, self-doubt, and fear that hinder creativity and offers practical tools to conquer them. This book serves as a battle plan for artists, writers, and creators to overcome their inner obstacles.
Why we love it:
- Gain insights into the psychological barriers to creativity.
- Learn how to develop discipline and consistency in your creative work.
- Find inspiration and motivation to overcome creative resistance.
“Creativity, Inc.” by Ed Catmull and Amy Wallace
“Creativity, Inc.” shares a behind-the-scenes look at the success of Pixar Animation Studios. Ed Catmull, co-founder of Pixar, shares his insights into fostering a culture of creativity and innovation. He discusses the challenges and triumphs of building a creative powerhouse. He provides valuable lessons on leadership, teamwork, and the creative process.
Why we love it:
- Explore the principles that drive creativity in a corporate setting.
- Gain insights into leadership and management within a creative organization.
- Be inspired by the stories of Pixar’s creative journey and success.
“The Creative’s Guide to Starting a Business” by Harriet Kelsall
“The Creative’s Guide to Starting a Business” is a practical guide for artists and creatives who aspire to turn their passion into a profitable venture. Harriet Kelsall provides step-by-step advice on launching and running a creative business. She covers branding, marketing, finance, and business planning, helping readers transform their creative talents into sustainable careers.
Why we love it:
- Learn how to monetize your creative talents and start a business.
- Gain practical insights into the business side of creativity.
- Discover real-world success stories of creative entrepreneurs.
“The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything” by Sir Ken Robinson
“The Element” by Sir Ken Robinson explores finding your passion and harnessing it for personal and professional fulfillment. Robinson argues that when individuals discover their true passions, they unlock their fullest potential. Drawing on personal stories and research, he provides guidance on identifying your “element” and cultivating a life of creativity and purpose.
Why we love it:
- Explore the transformative power of finding and pursuing your passion.
- Gain insights into personal development and self-discovery.
- Get motivated by real-life instances of individuals who have found their “element.”