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Steal Like an Artist is an epic ride of illustration, counterintuitive observations about creativity and it’s devourable in the time it takes to fly to Cancun. I mean, it’s built for reading quickly and getting a lot of very cool takeaways, including quotes, diagrams, and big-picture type info that will help you be more creative, quick on the draw, and a better storyteller.
Instead of stealing as plagiarism Austin Kleon advocates that we are all an amalgamation of what we consume so we should choose wisely, create wildly, and allow yourself to be messy. Rather than half-assing, he advocates we need to finish what we start, that all of our hobbies should be curated to make us better creators and that by trying to see through the eyes of our artist heroes we can use their spirit, so to speak.
The key take-aways from Steal Like an Artist
- “You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.”
- The best artists came in packs – get a mastermind group and use your group of geniuses to make even better stuff
- You’re ready. Start making stuff.
- Nothing is original. In other words “If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you first must create the universe.”
- Fake it til you make it
- Write the kind of book you’d want to read – not the one you think people want
- Do the nitty-gritty stuff, do work with your hands
- Side projects and hobbies matter
- Share your work – even if it’s not perfect yet
As I said, this book isn’t really just info – with all of the quotes, diagrams, and visuals it reads more like a Cliffsnotes where the big idea is “curate the things influencing you, create before you’re ready, get down and dirty, and team up and share your work for greatness.”
I would say this is a bit of ‘fun read’ rather than a super serious in-depth read – but for a fun read, my take is that this is on the more nutritional side, not just straight saccharine. 4/5 stars – would read again, because it was so easy to finish quickly, and I got some amazing quotes, stats and visuals out of it.
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