Book Summary — Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon

A short & sweet book summary, for my own use as much as anyone else’s. Limited to 30 minutes.

✅ The Book in 3 Sentences

  • All new ideas are amalgamations of things that have come before. Nothing is truly original, so you shouldn’t feel bad about taking inspiration from others.

💫 General Impressions

A collection of 10 pieces of advice on how to be more creative in work and life. It’s short enough to read in one sitting and has absolutely no filler. I liked the first half better, with novel ideas about being part of a “creative lineage”. The second half teetered off a bit into vague advice on how to live your life (some of which I didn’t agree with). However, the book actually invites you to pick and choose the bits of advice that you want to take, so I didn’t feel too bad about skip-reading some parts — “Some advice can be a vice. Feel free to take what you can use, and leave the rest.”

⭐️ Overall rating

4/5 Stars.

🕵️‍♂️ How I Found It

Austin Kleon is a well known name in creative circles, and this book is often cited as being a must-read. It often comes recommended alongside Kleon’s other book “Show Your Work.”

😀 Who Should Read It?

  • Anyone with a creative job, pass-time or hobby. Especially people struggling to get started, having trouble finding inspiration, or people who can’t figure out how to fit creativity into their day.

💭 Things That Stuck With Me

  • The idea of a creative lineage, or “idea family tree”. In my work, I’ve sometimes felt bad that I might be taking too many ideas from others. The reality is that all creative work is built upon foundations and ideas that have already been laid, in the past.

✏️ Quotes, Notes & Excerpts

  • On originality. “[…] when people call something ‘original’, nine times out of ten they just don’t know about the references or original sources that went into it.”

UI/UX Designer & Landscape Photographer.