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Steal Like an Artist Summary

About Steal Like an Artist Book

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, collect 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.

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Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Steve jobs

Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”



Great Example

Good artists borrow, great artists steal.” - This the quote of Steve Jobs. But he may be misquoted it from "Lesser artists borrow; great artists steal" by Pablo Picasso who was rephrasing Igor Stravinsky.

But may the original one is T. S. Eliot’s dictum: “Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal."

The origin of this quote itself is an example of great artists stealing.


Nothing is Original

Nothing is Original

"Everybody is inspired by somebody."

Instead, chew on one thinker—writer, artist, activist, role model—you really love. Study everything there is to know about that person. Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them. Repeat this as many times as you can. Climb up the tree as far as you can go. Once you build your tree, it’s time to start your own branch.

Go deeper than anybody else—that’s how you’ll get ahead.


“Good artists borrow, great artists steal.”—T. S. Eliot’s dictum, Igor Stravinsky, Pablo Picasso, Steve Jobs

Steal Like An Artist

Steal Like An Artist

  • Every new idea is just a mashup or a remix of one or more previous ideas.
  • You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.
  • Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.



“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”




“if you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.”



This article briefly teach you to get ideas from anywhere in the world as we are on a planet of artistic ones.


Immature poets imitate; Mature poets steal; Bad poets deface, what they take:

But, Good poets make it into something better, different and unique.



What Is An IDEA

What Is An IDEA

Every new idea is just a remix of one or more previous ideas like Genetics.



An Artist is a COLLECTOR, not HOARDER.

Just collect the more good ideas and choose from them to be influenced by



A good example of stealing ideas is genetics.

A good example is genetics. You have a mother and you have a father. You possess features from both of them, but the sum of you is bigger than their parts. You’re a remix of your mom and dad and all of your ancestors


have your own swipe file for your inspiration

Keep a swipe file. It’s just what it sounds like—a file to keep track of the stuff you’ve swiped from others. It can be digital or analog.

See something worth stealing?

Put it in the swipe file.

Need a little inspiration?

Open up the swipe file.


Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self.”



Go Analogue for making Creative Work

Go Analogue for making Creative Work

Using analogue tools is very important for creatives. Working on computers doesn't feel like we are actually making something. This is because our body doesn't come into work and we are just typing keys or clicking mouse buttons.


Let us give more time for doing things in the real world . . . plant a plant, walk the dogs, read a real book, go to the opera.



Take Your Body Into Work

Take Your Body Into Work

There is a direct connection b/w our bodies and nerves. When we take our bodies into work and will use analogue tools instead our computers, our work quality will improve and the work will feel like fun.


"Steal Like an Artist" is a transformative guide that encourages you to tap into your inner artist, drawing inspiration from the world around you. It invites you to reimagine the creative process as a collaborative, ever-evolving endeavor, where sharing, borrowing, and transforming are not only accepted but celebrated.

Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist

Unleash your inner artist with "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon, a manifesto that flips the script on creativity. In this innovative guide, you'll discover that stealing, borrowing, and remixing are not just acceptable in the world of art; they're encouraged. Here are ten key takeaways from this game-changing book


Embrace Creative Thievery

Embrace Creative Thievery

Rather than fearing the influence of others, make it your ally in forging your unique path.


Imitation as Learning

Imitation as Learning

Copy the greats to learn the ropes, and then transform those imitations into your distinctive creations.



”nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what can before. Nothing is completely original.”



Collecting Source Material

Collecting Source Material

“Your job is to collect good ideas. The more good ideas you collect, the more you can choose from to be influenced by.” - Austin Kleon


Collecting Not Hoarding

“The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder.” - Austin Kleon


5 life lessons I Learned from the Austin Kleon's book "Steal Like An Artist" :)

5 Lessons I Learned from "Steal Like An Artist

5 Lessons I Learned from "Steal Like An Artist

This book got a lot of great things. Austin Kleon nailed it. Here are the best 5 life lessons I have learned from this wonderful book. Enjoy :)


1. Great Artist Steal.

Nothing is original. Every New Idea Is Just A Mashup Or A Remix Of One Or More Previous Ideas. Once we understand that nothing is completely original, we'll feel a heavy burden lifted off ours shoulders. This mean anyone can become a creative person. We just simply need to find great resources that inspire us to do something great. Great resources to steal from. We just need to Steal like an artist.



"Art is Theft."

"Good Artists Copy, Great Artist Steal."



This book as thought me to get out of my comfort zone and Create. Everything in this world is a remix of what came before. You just have to know how to steal it.

Things You Need To Know About Being Creative

  • Everything in this world is a remix or an upgrade
  • What we call original is just an edited version of an inspiration.
  • " What is originality? - undetected plagiarism." - William Ralph Inge
  • A good artist understands nothing comes from nowhere, all creative work builds on what came before.


Don't Wait Until You Know Who You Are To Get Started

  • Start early, don't wait to find your voice before getting started
  • When you put more of your work out in the world you will eventually figure out your voice.
  • It is in the act of making things, that we figure out who we are.
  • Imitate your favourite artists and idols understand their perspectives and behaviours.
  • Don't simply copy, instead understand , learn , create and release your own version of the idea


Use Your Hands

  • Step away from your screens
  • Try using more of your hands to write or create art.
  • It's proven that, when you use your body creative ideas flow more easily.
  • Screens distract us and hinder our creative flow


All advice is autobiographical

When people give you advice, they're really just talking to themselves in the past.

This book is me talking to a previous version of myself.


Nothing is original.

The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something " original," nine out of ten times they just don't know the references or the original sources involved.

What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original. 

It's right there in the Bible: "There is nothing new under the sun."


The Genealogy of ideas

Just as you have a familial genealogy, you also have a genealogy of ideas. You don't get to pick your family, but you can pick your teachers and you can pick your friends and you can pick the music you listen to and you can pick the books you read and you can pick the movies you see.

You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences. The German writer Goethe said, "We are shaped and fashioned by what we love."


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