in Thoughts

What I learned from the “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon

While reading Austin Kleon‘s Steal Like An Artist, I came across a lot excerpts that had an impact on how I think, but, this one particular quote/excerpt is essential to this post.

It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.

It’s essential to this blog post because, you see, I came across Steal Like An Artist through a video about creativity.  The video is called “What is Creativity?” by Cody Jensen.

At this point in time, I’m all about creativity. I’ve been talking and thinking about it for so long that it only made sense to also write about something that really changed the way I thought about a lot of things and just creativity in general.

Collect only good ideas.

The artist is a collector. Not a hoarder, mind you, there’s a difference: Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively. They only collect things that they really love.

In today’s day and age, it’s hard to keep oneself from being addicted to forms of content. For me, it’s Instagram and YouTube, I’m on these two apps all the time. I love going through my Instagram feed, stories on Instagram and watching videos on YouTube.

One of the side effects of being addicted to consuming content is that we tend to collect a lot of ideas, and, most of these ideas are straight up trash. While I’m not exactly working on getting off this addiction anytime soon, what I do want to work on being minimalistic with the ideas I collect. Bad ideas are just like junk food. They’re going to mess you up in the long run.

But you’ll end up collecting them anyway and so will I, what I mean by being minimalistic is consciously thinking about which ideas you really love and which ones you don’t AND then, there will be the ones that you feel very strongly about. For or against, either way. You’ll always come across ideas that you want people to not pick up, ideas that you want to speak against. Those are the ideas right next to what I like to think of as “good ideas”.

Consciously filter ideas you find on the internet and elsewhere.

You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with. My mom used to say to me, “Garbage in, garbage out.” It used to drive me nuts. But now I know what she meant.

Imitate what you love.

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


Nobody is born with a style or a voice. We don’t come out of the womb knowing who we are. In the beginning, we learn by pretending to be our heroes. We learn by copying.

No, it’s not about plagiarism. It’s about the practice. Imitate and change an element, imitate and change an element and repeat.

Google everything, period.

Google everything. I mean everything. Google your dreams, Google your problems. Don’t ask a question before you Google it. You’ll either find the answer or you’ll come up with a better question.

The amount of free resources we have now is mind boggling but the tendency to ask questions without using these free resources (which some people do) is absolute insanity. GOOGLE SHIT. You have your phone on you all the time now. Stop whatever you’re doing and GOOGLE SHIT, period.

Create. DON’T EDIT. Just create.

The computer brings out the uptight perfectionist in us—we start editing ideas before we have them.

It’s hard to not edit while creating. I tend to ammend posts before I even completely finish them. Screw that, I tend to edit my pictures as soon as I take them and fail to notice what’s going on around me and end up missing out on amazing compositions and just moments in life. I’m actively trying to get rid of this tendency of mine and you should too.

You should too, because:

  • A: It’s going to make your creative process more effecient.
  • B: It’s going to help you stay in the moment and help you train your subconscience to not get rid of what could’ve been a great idea.

While there is a lot more from Steal Like An Artist that I want to share with you, I don’t want to give it all away. You are a creative. (If you think otherwise, you should watch the video I mentioned in the beginning of this post.) And, you should definitely give Steal Like An Artist a read. Think of the possibilities of this 80 page book changing your life is ways you couldn’t even imagine. Well, it did mine.

If you enjoyed reading this post, make sure you follow me on my social media accounts:

AND, go read some of the few other posts I’ve written:

Also, feel free to drop your opinions in the comments section down below. Constructive criticism is always welcome, too.

Write a Comment