Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon is a book for anyone who aspires to become a writer, artist, or musician. It’s a manifesto for courage and creativity. It’s a gem of a book that contains encouragement, living tips, and exercises for aspiring writers. It’s a quick read that will inspire you.
The most important messages of this book is this: Don’t worry about being original, and don’t be afraid to steal other people’s stuff.
Kleon isn’t saying you should plagiarize. What he’s saying is that you can use other people’s writing, art, music, or whatever as a sort of launching pad for your own art. Use what inspires you even though someone else did it first. If you want to write a suspense novel. Fine. Look at what other suspense writers did, and do what they did, but do it your way.
Steal Like an Artist seeks to change how you read a book, look at a painting, or listen to music. We should still enjoy books, painting, and music but we should also think about art in a more utilitarian way.
We should be thinking: “Is there anything here that I can use in my own art?”
There’s nothing wrong with being inspired by other artists. Chances are that those writers, those artists, or those musician that inspire us took the same approach when they were creating their own works.
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