2014 Book Goal: 52 (mostly non-fiction)
2014 Books Read: 58 (91% non-fiction)

3d-Steal-Like-an-Artist-NYTAustin Kleon’s book Steal Like an Artist is one of books everyone seems to mention in their must-read list. (Okay, maybe not everyone… just the cool kids.)  It is on those lists for good reason… it is a good book.

I think the thing that has made it so popular is that Kleon seems to give you permission to copy the work of others. He doesn’t encourage theft or plagiarism, but to realize that (as it says in Ecclesiasties 1:9) “there is no new thing under the sun.”

Good artists copy; great artists steal.”

With the responsibility to be perfect and original removed, the reader is left optimistic about his own creative endeavors. The book is short on actionable items, but as a purely inspirational read, it rocks. It is more “psychology of creativity” than anything else. If you need permission to stand on the shoulders of the giants that came before, here you go.

The idea of making sure to get away from the computer screen when being creative is a good one. I know my best ideas come when untethered from the desk. I like his idea of having two workspaces – one digital and one analog (with no electronics.)

One of the endearing things about the book is that it is sprinkled throughout with sketches and doodles.  These further sell the idea that this was created from a jotted list of ideas before a speech to college students and that you should always jot down ideas/notes/inspirations because it is the lifeblood of creativity.

Check it out.

By Chris Doelle