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‘How to Steal Like an Artist’, a Recommended Reading for Any Creative Person


In his new book, Austin Kleon summarises the great idiosyncrasy of the Remix Era, one of the principal pulses of contemporary creativity.

Austin Kleon could be the artist every creative person should read. In his new book he does not only make a valuable dissertation on what it means to create in present times, but also articulates a ludic apology for the remix in the digital era. The form of his message, fresh and simple, and his own remix of information makes this a small jewel of sorts.

How to steal like an artist (and 9 other things nobody told me) is a list of 10 pieces of advice he would have liked to know when he was 19 years old. The book thus is a type of gift to artists who, like him, have passed or will pass through a world of adversities to simply realise that “nothing is original”.

Every artist gets asked the question, “Where do you get your ideas?”

The honest artist answers, “I steal them.”


This is the primary idea of his list, which is perfectly engrained in the era we’re experiencing, where everything has been said and done and what truly matters is how we say it. “Each new idea is a mashup, or a remix of previous ideas”, writes Austin. “Like it says in Ecclesiastes: ‘There is nothing new under the sun’.”

His manifesto reveals the “artist as a collector”, where his merit resides in this ability to select ideas within an infinite torrent. “Every art is subtraction”, he notes.

In addition to this, Austin reminds us we will never be more ready to do what we would like to do. The role of the artist is to create, err, and create again, until his work reflects something “different” to what already exists out there. Different, but not original. And if the world is a stage and we are actors playing a part —as Shakespeare said—we have to play them as best we can and not waste energy on procrastinating. All of this without forgetting that “The golden rule is even more golden in our hyper-connected world: be kind”, concludes Kleon.

How to steal like an artist is, beyond inspiring, a call to create. ––A goodread that complements creativity while reminding us of some essential instances which, well, gives us peace of mind.

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