Steal Like an Artist - by Austin Kleon





my notes


When people call something ‘special,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.

It’s right there in the Bible: “There is nothing new under the sun.”

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

You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with.

You can learn whatever you want.

School is one thing. Education is another.

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

Don’t worry about doing research. Just search.

Plagiarism is trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own. Copying is about reverse-engineering. It’s like a mechanic taking apart a car to see how it works.

Even The Beatles started as a cover band.

Emulation is when imitation goes one step further, breaking through into your own thing.

A wonderful flaw about human beings is that we’re incapable of making perfect copies.

Whenever you’re at a loss for what move to make next, just ask yourself, “What would make a better story?”

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

Stand up while you’re working.

Practice productive procrastination.

Creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing.

The classroom is a wonderful, if artificial place: your professor gets paid to pay attention to your ideas. Your classmates are paying to pay attention to your ideas. Never again in your life will you have such a captive audience.

All you need is a little space and a little time - a place to work, and some time to do it; a little self-imposed solitude and temporary captivity.

It helps to live around interesting people and not necessarily people who do what you do.

If you ever find that you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.

So get comfortable with being misunderstood, disparaged, or ignored—the trick is to be too busy doing your work to care.

Establishing and keeping a routine can be even more important than having a lot of time.

The trick is to find a day job that pays decently, doesn’t make you want to vomit, and leaves you with enough energy to make things in your spare time.

Those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out.

The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself.

Don’t make excuses for not working—make things with the time, space and materials you have right now.

In the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in, it’s the things we choose to leave out.