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Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  259,049 ratings  ·  7,759 reviews
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 w ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published February 28th 2012 by Workman Publishing Company
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Laura This book lays down basic concepts, but is meant to be read. The journal gives exercises, but is meant to be written in and interactive.
Kim Yes, with your local library! Check if they have it on Libby. That's where I read it for the first time.…moreYes, with your local library! Check if they have it on Libby. That's where I read it for the first time.(less)

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  259,049 ratings  ·  7,759 reviews

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Peter Derk
These kind of books are like candy. They make me feel better in the moment, but ultimately don't do much towards building a full picture of happiness.

The inherent problem in any book that's a how-to for something artistic, whether it be writing or painting or making music or the artistry in tailoring a custom Voltron costume, the problem with the how-to book is that when you're reading the how-to book you're not doing the actual thing you're being taught to do. In other words, a book ABOUT writi
Jesse (JesseTheReader)
this book was incredible. i feel so inspired and motivated!
Wil Wheaton
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Steal Like an Artist is essential and required reading for all artists, regardless of the type of art you create.

It's a quick read that you can finish in one sitting, but the ideas and advice it contains will stay with you long after you've put it down. Some of Austin's suggestions will validate what you're already doing, some will challenge you to fundamentally change a creative practice, others will inspire you to grab a notebook and get to work immediately.

Because it's such a small and access
May 03, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction

This was such a phenomenal and much needed read for me. Steal Like an Artist gives ideas that apply to anyone who’s trying to inject some creativity into their life and their work. It really inspired me and I can’t wait for what’s next.

Also, can I just quote everything? Because I really need and want to:

“Always be reading. Go to the library. There’s magic in being surrounded by books. Get lost in the stacks. Read bibliographies. It’s not the book you start with, it’s the book that book leads yo
(This review is longer than the book itself.)

Here are the Top Ten Points that the author makes in this teeny book:

1. Steal like an artist
2. Don't wait until you know who you are to get started
3. Write the book you want to read
4. Use your hands
5. Side projects and hobbies are important
6. Do good work and share it with people
7. Geography is no longer our master
8. Be nice (the world is a small town)
9. Be boring (it's the only way to get work done)
10. Creativity is subtraction

It's all very good advi
May 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read this after reading "Show Your Work!" which is the opposite order of publication, and while I definitely preferred the latter, this was also really great. Sometimes it just has to be one idea, one quote, one line, that can make a book for you. This book was solidly consistently good, but for me it was the push to start using a notebook that really made a change for me.**

So personally I liked the other one more, but I've heard a solid chunk of people that like this one more.. certain ideas
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

This eye-catching little book was wedged into the corner of one of the couches in the student lounge where I work. I was there for a cup of coffee, and since it was a rather slow day, I decided to pick up the book and read.

There’s a lot of common sense stuff in here for all types of creative people. You don’t have to be an artist or writer to benefit from these inspirational bits. They can help those who want to be more creative at work, or find room in one’s life for
Elyse Walters
Apr 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Austin Kleon's "Steal Like An Artist" is a fun little book. Given that I'm not an artist -
I wasn't seeking 'words- of -wisdom'. This book just landed in my hands - and I couldn't resist reading it.

Austin says "every artist gets asked the question, "where do you get your ideas?"
Austin says....'The honest artist answers', "I steal them"...... in RIPS THEM OFF? Perhaps a more 'kind' way to answer the question --- is an artist draws inspiration from others. But what do I know. I'm no
Apr 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2019, mindset-habits
I recently went to an artist lecture at the Phoenix Art Museum. The audience was a mix of young artists trying to make their way, fans of the artist, and amateur art enthusiasts just there for the experience. While offering words of wisdom to the young artists in the crowd, he said: “every day you have to wake up in the morning and tell yourself a story, even if it’s bullshit.” He was referring to the dark voice that talks to artists who haven’t made it big yet. Writers and musicians have that d ...more
Jan 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
Shelves: non-fiction, 2013, room101
The sub-title of this book is '10 things nobody told you about being creative'. Yeah, probably because they thought you already knew them.

This book is packed to the brim with platitudes such as: try to do good work, there are lots of different things to consider when choosing a place to live, it's important to be careful who you marry, money is really important, try to find a day job that you like and, my favorite, take $10 to the stationers and buy some stuff - then you can write your ideas dow
Carmen Sisson
Jun 13, 2012 rated it liked it
I'm undecided on this book. While I appreciate the premise — draw inspiration from people you admire and surround yourself with good role models — I'm uneasy with the "steal" concept.

The title grabs attention, but I think it overshadows the actual point, which is not to become a replica of someone else but to create more authentic work by creating work you love.

It's a bit overly simplistic, and definitely a short, fast read. For those who stand on the precipice, afraid to answer the call of crea
Kathryn Patterson
Aug 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I find it difficult to review "Steal Like an Artist" because the book is an amalgamation of advice, anecdotes, and uncommon sense. Austin Kleon writes in an easy-to-follow style, instructing readers about how to be creative without talking down to anyone. In fact while I read the book, I felt like I was part of some secret creators club, with this book as the secret club manual.

The book focuses on 10 rules for people to follow in order to be creative. Rule number one is "Steal like an artist."
Apr 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This Review ✍️ Blog 📖 Twitter 🐦 Instagram 📷

I love how after I finished Kleon’s other book, I wanted to check out more of his works, and then found out that this book is his most famous work! I also like the fact that his book titles sound like a click bait but after reading them you will realize that they are accurate.

The book does not encourage stealing or plagiarism and I found out that I have been stealing like an artist for a long period of time, the point is that most things have been done
☘Misericordia☘ ⚡ϟ⚡⛈⚡☁ ❇️❤❣
Not sure what I think about it. Many things are just rehashed stuff from elsewhere.

And steal? Like an artist? Yeah, there are lots of controvercies and the plagiaristic hearings are among the most unclear and pointless ones, I say. Still, ouch.

And steal?? Some of us steal inspiration from sun, rehash Picasso, get the energy to do wonderful staff brom bipolar disorder and technique from schisophrenia, and yeah, it's totally all right to do any of that. Some don't. Many don't. Still, it's all righ
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: quite-good
I usually don't go for self-help, but this seemed like it would be different. No disappointments here! This is a great book for you creative folk out there. Personally I think everyone can benefit from what this book has to offer.

Erin Bowman
About a year ago, I was at the day job (web design), when a link to a blog post made it’s way around the office via AIM.

The post was basically one man’s manifesto when it came to creativity. He listed out ten things he wished he knew when he was starting out as a writer and artist. I remember the simplicity of his statements — practical, to the point — but also incredibly insightful. Small things we often forget when we are knee-deep in The Creating or overwhelmed by The Doubts.

I remember noddin
Nov 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, business

Reading this book might be the fastest thing my bosses ever asked me to do.

This is a wonderful little book with advice on creativity that makes you think. I'm pretty sure i didn't grasp the whole thing right now. I think i'll take a few things out of it. And in a few months I might read it again (really only takes like 30 minutes) and take a few more things out of it.
It's nicely written, it's got some nice napkin-sketches in there so it stays a light read. And it also makes me very curious about
Jun 29, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: writing
I have heard a lot of complaints about this book from all around that it doesn’t actually tell you how to do something, specifically. Really?! What were you expecting? Do you want the author to write you your new novel, grant application, play? Should he wipe your ass too, while he is at it? Get to it. Stop complaining. This isn’t a technical manual or a blueprint for your idea.

This book does, in my opinion, exactly what it claims to do – no more, no less. Inspirational, a good reminder that the
Aug 04, 2013 rated it did not like it
I don't often go the 1-star route. But this is such a blatant attempt at brand-building that I could feel the "speaker's fees" right there between every page. Read Anne Lamott's "Bird by Bird" instead for a true creative boost. ...more
Mar 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
In an age where even in art there seems to be a focus on the final product or end result, Kleon's manifesto on creativity is refreshing. At a slim 100-something pages, it is a fast engaging read, filled with doodles and quotes and functioning the way zines your internet friend would send you. I say this because it is the equivalent of a whole body approach to creativity as opposed to the spot treatment of fixing one specific area of your art, whatever your medium may be; to put it simply, it's s ...more
Apr 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
I expected:
Manual that teaches how one should look for, analyse, copy, rethink, redesign and come up with new, IDEAS.
What I've got:
Probably outdated 100th iteration on how to live great life by unfocused, average person reconstructed from numerous stick-it notes around his desk. Still not sure how 90% of the text was relevant to the idea on the cover.
Even thinking about the title of the book will give you more relevant ideas than those contained within it.
Don't buy it.
And definitely ste
Close Enough
📚6th Book


This book is addressed to people who are seeking creativity in their work and their lifestyle, and this magical concept (creativity) is a result of being a wise and intelligent thief!; literally a perfect one who steals thoughts and ideas from several successful folks, random conversations, Tv shows, scientists, inspiring books, and even ordinary people.

I really like his style of writing and his motivated thoughts and the drawings as well. Readi
Aug 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
The advice is so generic that it ends up being nothing more than empty blanket statements. It's forgettable, shallow, and serves no great purpose. The book is more of the author's art project to further build his personal brand -- still, you would think the project could be a little more original or valuable. ...more
Nov 14, 2012 rated it liked it
Oh fooey. Wrote something, then accidentally clicked and lost it. Let's get this over with:

-Loved it. Was awesome. Will reread, often.
-Too much quoting. Isn't the whole point, reappropriate, don't rip off? Excessive quoting seems to go against that.
-Figures=awesome and funny. Add anything? Sadly, I don't think so.
-Good direct voice.
-Moves well, but chunks are so small that they feel slight. It is a manifesto that outlines main points, rather than a substantive work that discusses things.

Still, a
Mar 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Quick read. It is full of what I consider basic, sensible advice for creatives and people looking to practice creativity in their daily lives. Although I would consider the ideas presented merely suggestions because you know what, just do what works for you. There is absolutely no perfect template for creation.

Kleon touches on several things like "imposter syndrome" that affects a lot of artists, no matter their level. Hehe, hard not to relate! I see it with a lot of my friends too, just the oth
A Nelson
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
This book could have been a pamphlet. But, despite its brief insights--it is thought provoking.

• Nothing is original
• Learn the history of your craft: one artist at a time. This is your creative lineage.
• School yourself--be curious
"School is one thing. Education is another. The two don't always overlap."
• Keep a "swipe" file. Things you like for later inspiration.
• Get started--perfect your craft along the way.
• "The human hand is incapable of making a perfect copy." Your "copy" will never be
Oct 09, 2013 rated it did not like it
This book is all recycled advice and quotes from people who know more than the author. I think the worst advice is on page 19:

"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."

And on the next page:

"Collect books, even if you don't plan on reading them right away. Nothing is more important than an unread library."

Maybe it's just me, but this rubbed me t
Jenny Maloney
This one is short-and-sweet but filled to the brim with good advice. Definitely worth keeping on your bedside table or work desk if you're an artist of any kind (writer, musician, dancer, etc).

Probably the piece that stuck out the most for me was Kleon's discussion of constraints. I've known that putting constraints on, say, a piece of writing - putting a box around what I was trying to create - actually made the piece better and, strangely enough, made me feel more free. It was refreshing to h
Gail Klanchesser
Jun 10, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is amazing! It's not condoning plagiarism, it suggests sharing of ideas and the process behind the product created by other artists. While you can easily sit and read it completely, I think it is best to read in small sections and think about what you've read and how it applies to your own form of art. ...more
Anubha (BooksFullOfLife, LifeFullOfBooks)
Very enlightening..
The book was written in a very simple understandable language..
Here's the free audiobook I listened to
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