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Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

I love the book Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon. It’s got short sentences and pictures. And buckets of great advice about being more creative. If anyone asks for book recommendation I always recommend Steal Like an Artist. It only takes 30 minutes to read but here are just five of my favourite bits. Read them and then go and buy a copy and read it all.


Nothing is original. The book opens by saying that every artist steals ideas and that there is no such thing as a new idea, it’s simply a mash up or remix of one or more previous ideas. I totally get this – when I worked in the events industry I used to get asked how I got my ideas. I would simply reply that I went to other events and pinched the best bits, stuck them together and created something new.

You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.

Austin Kleon


Save your thefts for later. Carry a notebook and pen wherever you go and make notes, and doodle. Keep a swipe file of stuff you love on your phone. Tear pages from magazines and keep a scrapbook. Go to them when you need inspiration.


Start copying. When you find what you like start copying it.

What to copy is a little bit trickier, dont just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. You dont want to look like your heroes you want to see like your heroes

Austin Kleon


Practice Productive Procrastination – Side projects and hobbies are important. Having lots of projects on the go helps keep you fresh and looking for and connecting ideas.


Share your dots but don’t connect them. This section of the book talks about sharing your work, something that I love doing but can’t always because of client confidentiality. So I’ve been trying to share a snippet, a glimpse of the image, or my work in progress.

Share a handy tip you’ve discovered while working or a link to an interesting article you’ve discovered. If you are worried about giving your secrets away you don’t have to – you can share your dots without connecting them.

Austin Kleon

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