Summary: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon
Summary: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Summary: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon

Steal from many… not one.

What is originality?….  “Undetected plagiarism”.

Writer Wilson Mizner said, “If you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism, but if you copy from many, it’s research.” Research. Steal from many.


Copy… but examine and customize.

Fake it till you make it. You start out as a phony and become real.

We’re incapable of making perfect copies. Copy our heroes. Examine were you fall short. Customize and transform into your own work.


Write the book you want to read.

Draw the art you want to see, start the business you want to run, play the music you want to hear, write the books you want to read, build the products you want to use – do the work you want to see done.


Use your hands… write, draw, script, whatever.

We don’t know where we get our ideas from. But we know for sure they don’t come from our laptops.

Use two desks: Digital and Analog. Analog desk has nothing but marker, pens, pencils, paper, index cards, and newspaper. Nothing electronic is allowed on that desk. This is where most of creative work is born. Digital desk has your laptop, monitor, scanner and drawing tablet. This where ideas are refined, edited and published.


Take on side projects and hobbies.

Take time to mess around. Get lost. Wander. You never know where it’s going to lead you.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward. You can only connect them looking backwards.


Do good work and share with people.

If you’re worried about giving your secrets away, you can share the dots without connecting them. It’s a 2-step process.

Step-1: Do good work. It’s incredibly hard. There’re no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. You’re going to suck for a while. Fail. Get Better.

Step-2: Share it with people. Put your stuff on the Internet.


Be nice in a small world.

If you talk about someone on the Internet, they’ll find out. Everybody has a Google alert on their name. The best way to vanquish your enemies on the Internet? Ignore them. The best way to make friends on the Internet? Say nice things about them.

Find the most talented person in the room, and if it’s not me, go stand next to him. Hang out with him. Try to be helpful. If you ever find you’re the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.


Creativity is subtraction.

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

In this age of information abundance, those who get ahead are the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s important to them. Nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities.