Steal Like an Artist

Austin Kleon
Star Rating
Reviewer's Rating
Mar 13, 2014

If you're anything like me, you've spent too much time thinking, "I want to be a writer/artist/musician/craftsperson," and not enough time thinking, "I am a writer/artist/musician/craftsperson." Maybe you spend time writing, drawing, painting, playing music, knitting, doing woodwork, making collages, but, because you aren't doing it full-time or professionally, because you think what you've created isn't wildly original and brilliant, you think of yourself as someone who "wants to be" instead of someone who is an artist. Which is pretty silly, because all creative types, even the most famous, most lauded professionals, began as amateurs who tinkered and played and copied.

Enter writer-artist Austin Kleon and his small but powerful book, Steal Like an Artist. In short chapters loaded with Kleon's sketches and newspaper blackout poetry, as well as quotes from famous thinkers and creators, Kleon instructs and inspires you to stop putting things off, stop making excuses, start creating art right now. Don't wait for the perfect moment because there aren't any. Don't wait for inspiration to hit because inspiration is all around you. Don't wait for original ideas because all artists steal from their inspirations. "Write the book you want to read." "Do good work and share it with others."

As I said, this isn't a big book. It's short and to the point. You could easily sit down and read it in your doctor's waiting room. But it's a book you're going to want to go back to again and again for inspiration and encouragement, to remind yourself that all it takes to be a creator is to start the work and finish the work. Steal Like an Artist is a nugget of pure gold.

Reviewed by Josh N.
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