Book Review – Steal Like An Artist

I came across Steal like an artist in the to-read list of a lot of creative giants. Only after reading it I understood how overrated it was. I would be lying if I said, I didn’t enjoy the style in which Kleon wrote the book. If I were to steal from an artist, it would be from Kleon. I will give a 5/5 for his writing style. But the content, it is old stuff in a new cover. If you constantly read self-help books, there is nothing new you will be learning in this book. I ended up highlighting the quotes which Kleon has sourced from different places to create a story rather than original points.
 
Nevertheless, here we go with the main concepts from the book.
 
“The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something “original”, nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references of the original.”
 
Kleon has collected so many such beautiful sentences which are the soul of the book.
 
“Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”
 
Steal like an artist is for those who were not listening while reading other books and might end up listening now.
 
“Hoarders collect indiscriminately, artists collect selectively.”
 
This is a gem. If you can keep this in mind, next time you save something, you know whether you are a hoarder or an artist.
 
“You are only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.”
 
Another way of saying you are the average of five people you are surrounded with.
 
“Chase down every reference.Go deeper than anybody else-that’s how you will get ahead.It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads you to.”
 
For those who don’t know how to research, this helps. Most of the books I end up reading are the books I started with. I pick up one concept from the book I read today and read a lot more to gain in depth knowledge.
 
“Collect books, even if you don’t plan on reading them right away.”
 
I collect 5 times the books I am capable of completing.
 
“They just show up to do their thing.”
 
Photography is all about creativity. When I first started, I was average but I was still showing up daily and posting pictures. One of my friends passed a comment on how art is about creating a masterpiece when you feel like and not creating average stuff daily. Today, she hardly pursues it while I am on my way to mastering it.
 
“First you have to figure out who to copy. Second you have to figure out what to copy.
Don’t just steal the style. Steal the thinking behind the style.”
 
This is another mistake which rookies make. They only see what is visible and not what the original creator’s thought process was.
 
“The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like.”
 
I decided to write my next book on mindfulness so that I can get my hands dirty on this topic.
 
“Keep all your passions in life.”
 
For those who mock at you for being jack of all trades and master of none, you need to remember this. Creativity blooms when you can marry your hobbies with each other.
 
“Instead of keeping a rejection file, keep a raise file.”
 
I was too narcissistic at one time in my life that I actually had this documented. Just something to read when I feel low. 
 
Happy stealing from an artist!