Derek Sivers

Steal Like an Artist - by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist - by Austin Kleon

ISBN: 0761169253
Date read: 2016-05-10
How strongly I recommend it: 8/10
(See my list of 320+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Short, inspiring insights into creativity and the creative life: the day job, the mindset, etc. Also read his other book “Show Your Work”.

my notes

“The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” - David Bowie

André Gide: “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

Chew on one thinker. Study everything there is to know about that thinker. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go.

Plagiarism is trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse-engineering.

Salvador Dalí said, “Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing.”

Nick Lowe says, “You start out by rewriting your hero’s catalog.”

We’re incapable of making perfect copies.

He had to wait until the official release day to hear his favorite band’s new album. He would sit down and record a “fake” version of what he wanted the new album to sound like.

“The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.” - Jessica Hische

It’s the side projects that really take off. Have a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them.

Maira Kalman says, “Avoiding work is the way to focus my mind.”

If you love different things, let them talk to each other.

It’s not that people are mean or cruel, they’re just busy.

Bob Ross taught people how to paint. He gave his secrets away.
Martha Stewart teaches you how to make your house and your life awesome. She gives her secrets away.
People love it when you give your secrets away.

“Distance and difference are the secret tonic of creativity. When we get home, home is still the same. But something in our mind has been changed, and that changes everything.” - Jonah Lehrer

Where we choose to live still has a huge impact on the work we do.

Your brain gets too comfortable in your everyday surroundings. You need to make it uncomfortable. You need to spend some time in another land, among people that do things differently than you. Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder.

“The only mofos in my circle are people that I can learn from.” - Questlove

Follow the best people online - the people who are way smarter and better than you, the people who are doing the really interesting work.

Find the most talented person. Hang out with him. Try to be helpful.

“Complain about the way other people make software by making software.” - Andre Torrez

Hugh MacLeod says, “The best way to get approval is to not need it.”

Need a response from them? If you truly love somebody’s work, you shouldn’t need a response from them. So, I recommend public fan letters. Write a blog post about someone’s work that you admire and link to their site. Answer a question they’ve asked, solve a problem for them, or improve on their work and share it online.

“Modern art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn’t.”

“Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.” - Gustave Flaubert

The art of holding on to money is all about saying no to consumer culture.

Freedom from financial stress also means freedom in your art.

Using each personality as a refuge from the other.

Take jobs where I can learn things that I can use in my work later - my library job taught me how to do research, my Web design job taught me how to build websites, and my copywriting job taught me how to sell things with words.

Day job gives you a daily routine in which you can schedule a regular time for your creative pursuits.

Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time.

Work gets done in the time available.

Find a day job that pays decently, and leaves you with enough energy to make things in your spare time.

In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important.

The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself.

Write a song on your lunch break. Paint a painting with only one color. Start a business without any start-up capital. Shoot a movie with your iPhone.

Don’t make excuses for not working.

Some advice can be a vice.