Book No. 2 of 49: Steal Like An Artist

So I went to the book store today and picked up Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon. I wasn’t planning on picking it up (I didn’t know it even existed). But it was visually appealing, and more importantly, I appreciated the principles. So, I bought it on the spot (along with Frankenstein and The Stranger). Just finished it. And now, I am 2 books into 2018.


The core of the book is an inspiration towards creativity outlined in 10 simple, yet profound, principles.

Here are the ten (which are outlined on the back cover):

  1. Steal like an artist.
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
  3. Write the book you want to read.
  4. Use you hands.
  5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
  6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
  7. Geography is no longer our master.
  8. Be nice (the world is a small town).
  9. Be boring (it’s the only way to get work done.)
  10. Creativity is subtraction.

The book has a really cool minimalist-style. It has simple, yet beautiful sketches, photographs, and graphs that supplement each of his principles.

My favorite quotes:

If we’re free from the burden of trying to be completely original, we can stop trying to make something out of nothing, and we can embrace influence instead of running away from it. (8)

Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying. (33)

A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies. Our failure to copy our heroes is where we discover where our own thing lives. That is how we evolve. (41)

Work that only comes form the head isn’t any good. Watch a great musician play a show. Watch a great leader give a speech. You’ll see what I mean. You need to find a way to bring your body into your work. (54)

It’s the side projects that really take off. By side projects, I mean the stuff that you thought was just messing around. Stuff that’s just play. That’s actually the good stuff. That’s when the magic happens. (65)

Don’t throw any of yourself away. Don’t worry about a grand scheme or unified vision for your work. Don’t worry about unity–what unifies your work is the fact that you made it. (72)







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