Steal Like an Artist – Austin Kleon

Title: Steal Like an Artist

Author: Austin Kleon

Publisher: Workman Publishing

Year: 2012

Number of Pages: 140+

Available at: Amazon


Book Description

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 of others, remix and reimagine to discover your own path. Follow interests wherever they take you — what feels like a hobby may turn into your life’s work. Forget the old cliche about writing what you know: Instead, write the book you want to read, make the movie you want to watch.

And finally, stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring in the everyday world so that you have the space to be wild and daring in your imagination and your work.



About the Author

Austin Kleon is a writer and artist. He is the author of the redacted poetry collection Newspaper Blackout, and his work has been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS NewsHour, The Wall Street Journal, and the art website 20X200.com. He lives in Austin, Texas, and online at austinkleon.com




Here’s the list of contents and my short description on each of them:


1. Steal like an artist.

  • Talks about how nothing is really completely original nowadays and how you can create your own original ideas from stealing from others.


2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.

  • Talks about how you shouldn’t wait till you figure out everything before you start and some tips to help you get started if you are not sure where to start.


3. Write the book you want to read.

  • Talks about why you should do creative things that you enjoy.


4. Use your hands.

  • Talks about how getting away from our digital gadgets and using our bodies can help generate new ideas and give you a fresher view.


5. Side projects and hobbies are important.

  • Talks about how side projects and hobbies can lead to productive procrastination and you shouldn’t stop doing the things that you enjoy.


6. The secret: Do good work and share it with people.

  • Talks about why you should share your work and knowledge to people on the internet.


7. Geography is no longer our master.

  • Talks about how the internet has made the world a smaller place and that it’s important to not depend on it too much.


8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)

  • Talks about why you should be nice on the internet and that you should never be the smartest or most talented person in a group.


9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)

  • Talks about how ordinary lifestyle and recording things down frequently helps achieve your long term goals.


10. Creativity is subtraction

  • Talks about how giving yourself restraint can help get you over an artist block.



My Review

Every artist has experienced artist blocks, this is a perfect little book to read through for some motivation. I found myself finishing the book very quickly and being motivated by the words and tips from the book. The design and layout within the pages are interesting and captivating so you won’t get bored of reading quickly, such as the many illustrations by the artist and quotes by various artistic people scattered around in the book.

Whether you are someone who’s trying start something creative as a hobby or your job needs you to be creative, whichever type of creative path you’re on, drawing, painting, photography, music, writing etc, this is a nice little read when you are feeling like you’re out of your creative juices. There are also various helpful tips on different areas of life as a creative person.

Austin has also written a few other similar books, such as Keep Going and Show your Work which I am interested in reading too.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this book review, if you are interested in getting this book, you can buy it by clicking here. When you purchase a book through the links I’ve provided, I gain a small portion of commission which helps me continue making reviews.


Here are some of my other book reviews that you may be interested in:


8 Responses

  1. The book’s title is very captivating! From your content description, this sounds like a book that can get me going with ideas. I like that is sounds like a motivation to help me discover my potential and run with it.

    Truth be said, we all have that one thing that we dream of achieving and I feel like this book can help me ‘discover’ that. I am trying to unleash my creative side through the internet and I will need some motivation to get going.

    Thank you for summarizing this book so well. It is a great recommendation.

  2. Dear Mary,

    Thanks a lot for the very thorough and comprehensive review post.

    I always prefer to read reviews and book summary before making my purchase and your review provided me with helpful and enough insights on Steal Like An Artist.

    By reading this book for sure we can save a lot of time and effort and learn great things from Austin Kleon’s experience.

    List of the content section is very helpful in my decision making. “Write the book you want to read” topic is interesting and thought-provoking. For sure this book is on my list.

    Much Success!


  3. Hi Mary,

    Love this article, since all the great art starts with copying or stealing! I think to cultivate other interests and to do by practice also count for something that makes you a master of art eventually. This is a great book for everyone who wants to create and also excellent for someone like for a change in life or at work.

    Anyway, I cannot wait to have this book in my place and read it this weekend.

  4. Excellent article,I appreciate your writing prowess,powerful message that influences and boost morale,someone creativity would make a way for him or her,helping people on what you know tells more about who you are,its a real fact that a long term goal must be written down in order to achieve it at an appropriate time,I love your creativity and your ways of motivating,encouraging people to achieve greater by taking action and never to remain on a spot,thanks for sharing. 

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