Author : Austin Kleon
Format : Printed book
Summary : You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.
When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, col- lect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination. (Source : Amazon.com)
Why this book ? : This was a bit of a fluke. I had read a blog post about it earlier last year and while visiting an independent bookstore in Toronto last summer, I recognized it. It looked interesting so I decided to buy it.
My Review : Great book. It didn't take me a long time to read it either. In fact, I finished it halfway through my train ride back home. The book essentially describes a series of advices the author, Austin Kleon, who's also an artist, would have given his younger self about how to make art. The interesting thing about this book is that it's not just for artists. Then again, it depends on what your definition of an artist is. I'm one of those who believes that everyone is/can be an artist, we just have different and unique tool kits.
There are all kinds of tips and tricks you can take from in each of the ten sections of Kleon's book and you can implement the ones that appeal the most to you right away. Since I read the book, I've implemented quite a few new habits in my evolving daily routine. I still have to work on my analog desk a little more but I can definitely see the benefits of it. Interestingly enough, I also found some similarities with the author's philosophy and that of Steven Pressfield when it comes to creativity.
At the end of the book there's a recommended books by the author, which is a nice little bonus. I might look into it at some point. Here's the list :
- Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life [Anne Lamott]
- Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience [Mihaly Csikszentmilhalyi]
- Ignore Everybody: and 39 Other Keys to Creativity [Hugh Macleod]
- Make a World [Ed Emberley]
- Reality Hunger: A Manifesto [David Shields]
- Rework [Jason Fried & David Heinemeir Hansson]
- The Ecstasy of Influence: Nonfictions, Etc. [Jonathan Lethem]
- The Gift [Lewis Hyde]
- Understanding Comics: The Invisible Art [Scot McCloud]
- What it is [Lyda Barry]
Favorite quotes and notes from the book:
- " You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences"
- "You are going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with"
- "Don't ask questions before you Google it. You'll either find the answer or you'll come up with a better question"
- "Ask anybody doing truly creative work, and they'll tell you the truth : They don't know where the good stuff comes from. They just show up to do their thing. Every day"
- "You don't want to look like your heroes, you want to see like your heroes"
- "Art that only comes from the head isn't any good"
- "Practice productive procrastination"
- "Don't worry about unity from piece to piece. What unifies all of your work is the fact that you made it"
- "Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder"
- "If you ever find that you're the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room"
- "Get comfortable with being misunderstood, disparaged or ignored - the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care"