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Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative [Kindle Edition]

Austin Kleon
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1,035 customer reviews)

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Book Description

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, col- lect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

Editorial Reviews


"Brilliant and real and true."
-Rosanne Cash

"Austin Kleon is positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet... Kleon makes an articulate and compelling case for combinatorial creativity and the role of remix in the idea economy."
-The Atlantic

"Breezy and fun and yes, scary. Scary because it calls your bluff."
-Seth Godin

"A quick, easily digestible read that is particularly relevant in today's digital world."
-School Library Journal

"Filled with well-formed advice that applies to nearly any kind of work."

About the Author

Austin Kleon is a writer who draws. He is the author of  the New York Times bestsellers Steal Like An Artist, which spent six months on the list, and Show Your Work!, as well as Newspaper Blackout. His work has been featured on 20×, NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal. The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet.” He speaks frequently about creativity in the digital age for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. He grew up in the cornfields of Ohio, but now lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and sons. See his work at

Product Details

  • File Size: 6668 KB
  • Print Length: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company (February 28, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0761169253
  • ISBN-13: 978-0761169253
  • ASIN: B0074QGGK6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,492 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
215 of 227 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eyes Wide Opened April 24, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I am not a creative person. I want to be. I think like most people I want to create something. I want to write something. Create something. While searching for something new in the books section of I hit on this title. I knew nothing about Austin Kleon. I am not a poetry fan so I did not know about the Newspaper Blackout book. I actually judged this book by it's cover (and the description to be honest). I read it in an hour (you can too - it is a short book). Then I read it again much more slowly and with a highlighter. Most of what he writes about may be trite to those "in the know" but for me this book said I could go into the world, find something I love and tweak it bit to make it mine. And in doing that I could show the creator that his work inspired me to create something. This book also told me that I already possessed the tools to be creative. Since I know that I like Kleon suggest that I study why I like it. Find out what makes it work for me and then use that as a jumping off point. But even these words do not convey accurately enough how inspired I was - I read it again - I added his blog and tumblr feeds to my daily readings - I follow him on twitter and bought some books he recommended. Finally - rather than sending him an email telling him how wonderful this book is - I am following his advice and putting those same thoughts in a review. A small book awakened a bit of passion for being creative. Not a small feat. A small book but a big heart. Hope all these words add up to this - I love this book.
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257 of 280 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out there and get busy creating. February 22, 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you've been paying attention to certain parts of the Web recently, you may be familiar with a rising chorus of voices talking about creativity as "remixing." The broad thesis is that creativity isn't a mystical flash of insight in the mind of a lone genius, but rather a combinatorial, collaborative process in which artists and designers consciously and gradually combine existing ideas into novel forms. Books like "The Gift", by Lewis Hyde, and video series like "Everything is a Remix", by Kirby Ferguson, champion this burgeoning idea (and are name-checked by Kleon at the end of "Artist"). But if Hyde and Ferguson are the theorists charting the contours of these new ideas, Kleon is the practitioner, the man-of-artistic-action, bringing the means and the message to the people.

"Steal Like An Artist" began as a lecture given by Kleon at Broome Community College that later emerged as a viral blog post. Kleon makes no effort to hide the fact that the blog post forms the skeleton of "Artist". But even if you've memorized the post, Kleon layers enough muscle and flesh on it that you feel like you're encountering his core ideas all over again. The same rush of discovery and energy awaits.

Kleon describes himself as "a writer that draws," and "Artist" is proof of that. He designed the book himself and his voice and style shine through. "Artist" feels unified, innovative, balanced, and, above all, intimate. The book is small, like a big cocktail napkin. It's full of illustrations by Kleon and little flourishes that keep things brisk as you read. The small size makes the book feel approachable, ready to provide a quick inspiration burst if need be. Kleon describes ten basic principles to boost your creativity.
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84 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creativity to a Deeper Level October 18, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition
After reading Dr. Andy's book Creativity, 63 short exercises to a Happier Life (a great book with good exercises by the way), I decided I wanted to get into the topic of creativity to a deeper level. So I picked up this book and I am glad I did.

What Kleon does in this book is take a lot of the mystique out of creativity and show how you can use the idea of mixing what others have done to come up with great ides that take the concepts to a new level not before envisioned.

The book is full of information about how to work with your own creative instincts and bring forward excellent new ideas even if your skills have been dormant for a long time or you have been caught in in a dead end job that does not seem to give an outlet for your finer instincts.

This book is well on the way to becoming a classic in the field, and with good reason, I highly recommend it!
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73 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise, inspiring guide for creators February 28, 2012
By Ryan
"Steal Like an Artist" provides practical advice, in a succinct and often witty style, to people who create things in this modern world (as Kleon points out, "that should describe all of us"). The tone isn't presumptuous or arrogant; it's written like he's talking to a friend. His insights are surrounded by quotes, illustrations, and several poems in the style of his newspaper cutouts, making the read all the more pleasant. "Steal Like an Artist" isn't a long book, and that's awesome. You can easily pick it up and read through a few chapters for a quick injection of inspriation.

Also: I would highly recommend buying the print version; having this little square book in your hands, easily flippable and reachable on your desk, is worth spending an extra 44¢. You won't regret buying this handy little guide.
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36 of 41 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embrace your inner child May 21, 2012
A colleague gifted this book to me quite unexpectedly one morning. Perhaps he thought I needed a reminder that my creativity was lagging lately, who knows. I leafed through the pages and found a comment by Jessica Hische "The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life" moment.

Many of his comments and advice I had learned along my journey as an artist before some professors "knifed my muse" [metaphorically speaking] in college and the corporate world finished it off.

While I didn't find Kleon's words new, he is correct, no one tells you the little bits of wisdom contained within, you learn it for yourself the hard way.

Basically, harken back to your time as a child, when your creative juices were flowing and there was no limit to your imagination; embrace your inner child, go forth and CREATE! Create something everyday, be it a doodle while talking on the phone, making a journal a work of outsider art, or grabbing some clay, paint, or what have you and create. Just do it!

Like he says, there's nothing new under the sun. The book gives you license to steal what is worth stealing "artistically" and then placing your own spin on it to make it something more.

So, go forth and Steal Like an Artist.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Basic, But Good For Its Category
It's great for quick motivation. Won't stick if you're a heavy reader, but it's good for what it's good for. Read more
Published 5 hours ago by Jay Z. Little
5.0 out of 5 stars GREAT BOOK
One of the best book I ever had! Would definitely recommend this for any everyone not just designers. the way he explains the steps for everything is very easy and understandable. Read more
Published 13 hours ago by Fatma Ismail
5.0 out of 5 stars Everything is in the title... and more.
This book is amazing and might unlock some hidden potential in your artistic self, read it, analyze it and just go create my fellow humans!!!
Published 1 day ago by H.C
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
I love this book!
Published 1 day ago by Alexandra
5.0 out of 5 stars Damon good
I e brought back my art in the last couple years, and doubted so much of myself and my work and what it was to me, and others. Read more
Published 2 days ago by Chelsea.P
5.0 out of 5 stars Helpful
I enjoyed this book and found it to be very helpful. I been able to start writing again and with confidence. I've never been happier.
Published 2 days ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Steal Like an Artist does not disappoint
I had the pleasure of going to a reading when Austin Kleon released Show Your Work. Steal Like an Artist does not disappoint. Read more
Published 3 days ago by Mary
4.0 out of 5 stars Great starting point on your journey to success.
It's mostly on target. The book is small with a grippy cover which I really like. A lot of the advice is basically good but you will need to tweak and adjust it to fit your needs... Read more
Published 4 days ago by MrBios
2.0 out of 5 stars Pretty unimpressed.
Based on the reviews of others, I expected this to be an inspirational master piece. Not what I expected in terms of guidance and depth of content... Read more
Published 4 days ago by Megan
4.0 out of 5 stars However it is packed with a lot of great information that you can...
This is a teeny, tiny book. Be prepared! However it is packed with a lot of great information that you can revisit often if you are creatively minded and looking for inspiration to... Read more
Published 5 days ago by Kristen B
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More About the Author

Austin Kleon is a writer and artist living in Austin, Texas. He's the author of two bestselling books: Steal Like an Artist, a manifesto for creativity in the digital age, and Newspaper Blackout, a collection of poetry made by redacting newspaper articles with a permanent marker. He speaks about creativity for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. Visit him online at

Amazon Author Rankbeta 

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#97 in Books > Self-Help
#97 in Books > Self-Help

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