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Quotes from Steal Like an Artist

Each of these quotes are from Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Workman, 2012).

This short, fun, readable book has provided me with some insights into my research on how we can make our schools more "creativity-friendly," but even more so, it's asked me to think about my own creative abilities and efforts. Read it. It's a good'n.

School is one thing. Education is another. The two don’t always overlap. Whether you are in school or not, it’s always your job to get an education.

At some point, you’ll have to move from imitating your heroes to emulating them. Imitation is about copying. Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking through into your own thing.

The best advice is not to write what you know, it’s to write what you like. Write the kind of story you like best - write the story you want to read. The same principle applies to your life and career: Whenever you’re at a loss for what move to make next, just ask yourself, “What would make a better story?”

The manifesto is this: Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use - do the work you want to see done.

… have a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them. When you get sick of one project, move over to another, and when you’re sick of that one, move back to the one you left.  Practice productive procrastination.

Keep all your passions in your life.

Personally, I think bad weather leads to better art. You don’t want to go outside, so you stay inside and work.

The trouble with creative work: Sometimes by the time people catch on to what’s valuable about what you do, you’re either a) bored to death with it, or b) dead. You can’t go looking for validation from external sources.

In this age of information abundance and overload, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s really important to them.

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Reader Comments (2)

I use this book the teach a fundamentals of media class about the parts of a book. We disect old books- kids even have to write a lab report. Then they use the dissected books to create black out poetry. We pin our favorites examples on Pinterest. We watch Kleon's Steal Like an Artist TED talk while we are creating. We take their black out poetry and create abook. Very deconstructive of us.

February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterCalypso


I am guessing Kelon would approve. Thanks for the info on his TED talk. Didn't know there was one.


February 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

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