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Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon

This book is a perfect example of making an impact in the least possible words. This is a short and sweet book that you will finish in just one reading. This book was suggested time and again by the Youtuber Ali Abdaal and he was highly appreciative of both the books by this author, another one being Show Your Work which I plan to pick next.

This book was funny, inspirational, and written in quite an interesting way. It is a must-read for anyone in creative business and a recommended read for anyone looking to pursue something creative but held themselves back thinking that they are not creative enough.

I needed to read this right now because more than often as a creator I doubt more than anyone that I am not good enough, that I don’t have enough original ideas, and yeah the whole shebang of imposter syndrome.

Though I will strongly urge with you read this book but as always I am capturing here the ideas which resonated most to me in the book:

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

  • Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.
  • You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. In the digital space, that means following the best people online— the people who are way smarter and better than you,
  • You have to be curious about the world in which you live. Look things up. Chase down every reference. Go deeper than anybody else—that’s how you’ll get ahead.
  • Carry a notebook and a pen with you wherever you go.
  • Fake it ’til you make it. Pretend to be something you’re not until you are or pretend to be making something until you actually make something.
  • Plagiarism is trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.
  • First, you have to figure out who to copy. Second, you have to figure out what to copy.
  • If you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research
  • Find your heroes and internalize their way of looking at the world. If you just mimic the surface of somebody’s work without understanding where they are coming from, your work will never be anything more than a knockoff
  • The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use—do the work you want to see done.
  • The computer is really good for editing your ideas, and it’s really good for getting your ideas ready for publishing out into the world, but it’s not really good for generating ideas.

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

Jessica Hische
  • Have a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them. When you get sick of one project, move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the project you left.
  • If you have two or three real passions, don’t feel like you have to pick and choose between them. Don’t discard. Keep all your passions in your life. A hobby is something creative that’s just for you. You don’t try to make money or get famous off it, you just do it because it makes you happy
  • Most of the world doesn’t necessarily care about what you think. It sounds harsh, but it’s true. There’s no pressure when you’re unknown. You can do what you want. Experiment. Do things just for the fun of it.
  • The more open you are about sharing your passions, the closer people will feel to your work. Artists aren’t magicians. There’s no penalty for revealing your secrets.
  • You don’t put yourself online only because you have something to say—you can put yourself online to find something to say.
  • You can’t go looking for validation from external sources. Instead of keeping a rejection file, keep a praise file. Use it sparingly—don’t get lost in past glory—but keep it around for when you need the lift.
  • A day job gives you money, a connection to the world, and a routine. Freedom from financial stress also means freedom in your art.
  • Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time
Published inBooksNon-Fiction

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