Book Review: Steal Like an Artist

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

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.

My thoughts: First sentence: "It's one of my theories that when people give you advice, they're really just talking to themselves in the past."

I read this one in about an hour. It was a quick, entertaining read with a lot of great tips. I think it's hard to come up with totally original things to write about and this book takes the pressure off of making ourselves believe it's 100% necessary. It isn't about plagiarism, which is illegal and morally wrong. It's about liking something and expanding on it, putting our own twist things and going for it. It's about taking inspiration where you find it. What if you absolutely adored The Wizard of Oz and wanted to write a modern version of the story? Perhaps a steampunk or post-apocalyptic version? Just because the story has already been written, doesn't mean that there's not room for a different take on things! Yes, it might not be such a great idea to make your main character's name be Dotty, give her a dog named Totem, and travelling companions similar to the Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and the Scarecrow. Instead, let the story spark your own imaginative, creative juices!


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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at

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