Book Category: Creative, Motivational,

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (book summary)

Author: Austin Kleon
Life Changing Principles
Quality of Writing
Overall Value
pros: Great motivation, unique voice
cons: Too high-level
overall rating

QUICK SUMMARY: In Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, the word “stealing” doesn’t necessarily mean “bank robbery” or “plagiarism.” Instead, Kleon explains that good artists are a culmination of the art they consume. It’s not really stealing as much as getting inspired by others and involving yourself in an active community of artists to produce art.


1. You can make art whether you think you’re ready or not.

2. Nothing is original, but that’s not a bad thing. There is a lot of great art to learn from.

3. The best kinds of art and artists thrive on many different influences.


1. You are an amalgamation of the art you consume, so choose wisely.

2. Nothing is holding you back from creating.

3. Let your art be messy with the goal of pleasing only yourself.

4. Be diligent about working on creative projects until you actually make something.

5. Be a wise collector of hobbies, passions, and ideas.

6. Don’t try to be an exact image of an artist you like but instead, see through their eyes.


What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.

You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.

The great thing about dead or remote masters is that they can’t refuse you as an apprentice. You can learn whatever you want from them. They left their lesson plans in their work.

You’re ready. Start making stuff.

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.

Interested? Buy the book here!