A book by Austin Kleon

Steal Like an Artist
Unlock your creativity. An inspiring guide to creativity in the digital age, Steal Like an Artist presents ten transformative principles that will help readers discover their artistic side and build a more creative life. � Nothing is original, so embrace influence, school yourself through the work o…

The Main Takeaway:

  1. Steal like an artist
  2. Don't wait until you know who you are to start making things
  3. Write the book you want to read
  4. Use your hands
  5. Side projects are important
  6. Do good work and put it where people can see it
  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

Steal like an artist

Not steal, but rather study, credit, remix, mash-up, and transform. Creative work builds on what came before, and thus nothing is entirely original.
Nothing comes from nowhere. There is nothing new; creativity is about tasteful stealing.
You only the people you surround yourself with
Select and steal only the things that help and interest you. Don't collect everything and be selective.
Make your branch on the tree on the top of your influences (the people you want to steal from)
Always have a notepad to capture notes and thoughts in one place.

Don't wait until you know who you are to start making things. Just start

You don't have to look like your heroes. You want to see like your heroes
Fake it until you make it
Start copying things until you find yourself (practice or reverse-engineering something to master it and then build on the top of it)
Move From imitation to emulation when copying your heroes.
Failing to copy your hero make you your version of a Hero
Who to copy (all of them)? Start with your heroes.
What to copy? Not the style, just the ideas that they want to share

Write the book you want to read

It is essential to do what you want to do. Write the stories that you like to read.
Write what you like, not what you know.

Use your hands

It is essential to step away from the screen and immerse in actual physical work.
Computers have robbed us of the feeling that we're making things. To be creative, you must involve your whole body and not just your brains."
You won't find creativity while on a computer; you will find it while running or walking in the street, under the shower, or by talking to strangers.
Combine Analog and Digital. Setup 2 stations (analog and digital stations) to move between both to stay creative.

Side projects are important

Hobbies are important because they keep you happy.
A hobby is something that gives but doesn't take.

Do good work and put it where people can see it

Sharing your work and even your thoughts about what you like to help you get good feedback and more ideas.
People are busy. That's why they will ignore you.
Use that you are not known yet; there is no judgment, use that opportunity to make mistakes and learn from them.
People love it if you share your secret with them.
Share things with people similar to you. No need to share everything; you have the power to decide what to share.

Geography is no longer our master

Travel makes the world look new, and when the world looks new, our brains work harder
Constraints can also act favorably – bad winters or summers can force you to be indoors and work on your projects.
Leave home to get uncomfortable to meet people who do different things than you.

Be nice (the world is a small town)

Stop fighting and channel your rage into a creative pursuit.
Get angry but keep your mouth shut. Use writing insisted
Show appreciation for the good things you see around you.
Show appreciation to your heroes but without waiting for a reward... Build on their work to resolve a problem they face.
Be kind and make friends, say nice things about your enemies.
If you ever find yourself the smartest of the room, leave the room.

Be boring (it's the only way to get work done)

You can't be creative all the time, so set a routine.
Learn about money as soon as you can
Stay away from death and keep a daily job... Keep a routine
Do ordinary things and stay healthy.
Do the work every day.
A good job, is the job that keeps you energetic to do things in your spare time.


  • Get an actual calendar: to stay on track. Complete each day with an X, and don't break the chain.
  • Keep a logbook: We usually remember the sad moments. The idea is to keep track of what is going on. The log will help you see what you did during the day (no need for details)

Creativity is subtraction

In an age of information overload and abundance, focus is essential.
Choose what you want to leave out of your crucial work. "
Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities.
Focus and limit the options you have... Figure out what to leave out to keep the focus.
The best way to get over creative block is to place some constraints on yourself.
Choose well... Your wife, friends, and relationship
Limitation means freedom for creative work.

Steal Like an Artist