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156 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eyes Wide Opened
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 Amazon.com 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...
Published on April 24, 2012 by Amazon Customer

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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars T-Shirt Slogan
I was disappointed in this book. It is very short and not much more than a collection of simple T-shirt or bumper sticker slogans with little real value. I finished reading the book in less than an hour and do not think it is worth the $9 price I paid for it. The author takes his own advice and offers nothing new of his own making. Each of his slogans is fleshed out...
Published 15 months ago by L. Clary


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156 of 167 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eyes Wide Opened, April 24, 2012
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This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
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 Amazon.com 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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236 of 257 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get out there and get busy creating., February 22, 2012
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This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
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. He lists them on the back cover of the book (a choice that Kindle purchasers will miss) so that they're easily referenced. It's a small touch, but emblematic of the book's careful construction.

Most importantly, "Artist" is focused on practicality. Kleon has absorbed the lessons of Hyde and Ferguson, but he wants to do more than evangelize; he wants to transform. "Artist" is stuffed with practical tips that you can adopt. In fact, there's a section at the very end of the book titled "What Now?", in which Kleon gives you a long, itemized list of things you can do *right now* to prime your creative pump.

One recent book that Kleon doesn't reference is "Where Good Ideas Come From", by Steve Johnson. "Good Ideas" is one of the best new books about spurring creativity, but it's primarily focused on principles of creativity and their historical origins. "Artist" is a perfect companion to "Good Ideas". Once you've read Johnson's book and your head is full of theory, Kleon's book comes along and gives you a good, firm (and lighthearted) kick in the pants to send you on your way. You certainly don't need to read "Good Ideas" or any other book to receive the full benefit of "Artist". It's a short, heady blast of exuberance that's guaranteed to kick-start your imagination.
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69 of 72 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creativity to a Deeper Level, October 18, 2013
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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68 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A concise, inspiring guide for creators, February 28, 2012
This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
"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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28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Embrace your inner child, May 21, 2012
This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
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"...wow 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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37 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome litte read, February 22, 2012
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This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
It's always nice to have a book come along and give you a swift kick in the pants when you need it. Steal Like An Artist kicked me twice. I devoured the book in 20 minutes and was flying high afterward. A lot of what's in the book is common sense, but broken down into easy to understand language mixed in with some very cool artwork. I would also say that the book is not necessarily for artists alone. You can take what's written and tweak them to your specifications no matter what your call in life is. I look forward to more books by Austin Kleon!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Carry it with you!, August 11, 2012
This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
I can't remember many books I have recommended via this blog but I have been sitting on this one a while and can't wait any longer! If you have even the tiniest creative bone in your body (or wish you did) this little treasure should be in your library: Steal Like an Artist by Austin Kleon.

Even before you open it the book will charm you: it has a nice feel, a different size, large type and an easy flow format. Great to read straight through and easy to pick up for a 10 minute refresher. But what else?

So many "self help/creative" books are a version of positive thinking. And while Kleon is positive he is also proactive. "Steal" is an action verb and it just so appealed to the goody-two-shoes side of me. Even Picasso is quoted as saying "Art is theft." HOW to steal is the key. After explaining how to steal the author goes on with 9 other meaty pieces of insight all designed to unlock your creativity. Each is creatively (of course) laid out and illustrated (being a visual person I can "see" the advice while I read it which helps my memory). And, as he confesses early on, these are very autobiographical tidbits brought to life by real experiences and real failures.

Here's a 'fer instance': #4- Use Your Hands. We are all fabulous in our heads and most of us are quite free with criticism flowing from our mouth; what are my hands doing? While the computer has opened up great new sources of ideas, all by itself it really is not making a darn thing. Use Your Hands. When my hands are engaged my mind goes into a totally different mode and works on incredible things I am not even conscious of. I often knit (and I mean "knit" as that is the only stitch I know) just to work out a problem in my head. And when painting my hands are the most important tool. What are your hands doing? Simple, huh? Are they writing (or thinking about the book you want to write), are they creating in the kitchen (or watching the cooking channel); use your hands, they are the God-given tools of your trade. (My summation does not scratch the surface, in about as many words as I have used, Kleon goes miles further!)

The 'mother' in me is also partial to the #9- Be Boring chapter; but I will leave that one for you to discover.

I got my copy from www.Amazon.com for $10.95 and it was the best $11 I have spent this summer...fits in my purse and I can get re inspired when ever I have to kill time waiting on an appointment I am inevitably too early for.

Finally, if you don't believe me, just check out his website by clicking on the book photo above and meander through this guy's head for a bit. You'll either take notes (and lose them ) or you'll invest the bucks. Have fun and let me know what you think. Meanwhile I am off for a long walk in the woods because #5- Side Projects and Hobbies Are Important. ([...] and [...])
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Boost I Needed, May 1, 2012
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I bought Austin Kleon's "Steal Like An Artist" on a whim after reading about it in Shelf Awareness, a daily email subscription I get about books and the industry. Being an author myself, a poet, and dabbling in painting and crafts, I like to think of myself as an artist. And like all artists, I'm frequently at a loss as to how to get the creative juices flowing and the muse talking.

Kleon's book was the boost I needed on how to do just that. At just 140 pages, it's a quick read and is filled with insightful quotes, fun drawings, and inspirational photographs. I read it on my Kindle and found myself highlighting something on practically every page. After finishing it, I immediately bought 4 hard copies - 1 for myself and 3 to share with my creative friends who I know will benefit from it as well.

Kleon focuses on the fact that it's okay to "steal" from those artists, musicians, actors, painters, writers, singers, etc. who are our heroes. We imitate them as children and want to be like them when we "grow up." So why now steal from them? Kleon stresses that he's not talking about plagiarism; that's just copying. He's talking about taking from the elements of those people that inspire us in the first place. It's the perfect way to learn and to eventually develop your own style.

I'd like to think we can apply Kleon's advice to any part of our lives really, so those who aren't so creative might enjoy the book as well. I especially liked his "log book" idea because while I enjoy blogging, it seems I can never squeeze in time to write out long and insightful blog posts. His quick check list log book entries is a perfect way to take notes and remember the things that are important each day.

A must-have for the artistic ones in your life, of if you yourself just need some inspiration. I know I will be suggesting this one to my friends and colleagues for a long time!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The power and achievement of "artistic theft", October 2, 2012
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This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
A 12th century French monk, Bernard of Chartres, once observed, "We are like dwarfs standing on the shoulders of giants." I thought of that observation as I read Austin Kleon's brief but insightful discussion of ten "things nobody told you about being creative," with the first serving as this book's title. There are dozens of quotations throughout the narrative that reaffirm Kleon's thesis: Almost anyone can become more creative in what they do and how they live by applying the lessons that Kleon learned during the past decade. What he learned, of course, is what he stole from others and then applied...and the world wisdom they possessed had been stolen from still others and then applied...you get the idea.

In his thought-provoking book, Ignore Everybody, Hugh MacLeod identifies and discusses a total of 40 "keys to creativity" and, of course, the first is to Ignore Everybody. Taken literally, that would include both MacLeod and Kleon. However, in each of his several books, MacLeod duly acknowledges his appreciation of countless others who have helped him to become the best Hugh MacLeod he could be. My own opinion is that Kleon has a similar objective: To help his reader think more creatively about becoming more creative by introducing his reader to a variety of different perspectives that will help the reader to become more alert, more aware, of how to live a more productive, a more enjoyable, a more fulfilling life.

The quotations he includes are indeed excellent. Several have become classic insights. Here is a representative selection:

o "Art is theft." Pablo Picasso
o "The only art I'll ever study is stuff that I can steal from." David Bowie
o "What is originality? Undetected plagiarism." William Ralph Inge
o "It is better to take what does not belong to you than to let it lie around neglected." Mark Twain
o "Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find your self." Yohji Yamamoto
o " The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life." Jessica Hische
o "Complain about the way other people make software by making better software." Andre Torrez
o "Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work." Gustave Flaubert

My take on "artistic theft" is that it is essential to the development of more creative thinking. All of the world's great chess players throughout history, for example, devoted thousands of hours to studying and replaying, then evaluating the greatest matches in decades past. The advice "steal only from the best" is relevant to just about all (if not all) human initiatives. However, it is also imperative to then make what you steal your own. In the field of human development, Oscar Wilde is correct: "Be yourself. Every one else is taken." That has been true of Leonardo, Shakespeare, Mozart, and countless other creative artists...and it is also true of those who read this book. I am grateful to Austin Kleon for sharing what he has learned from others and then made it his own: this book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to win your daughter's heart, August 13, 2012
By 
Bertie Darling (salt lake city, ut) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative (Paperback)
Bought this for my artist daughter and she loves it! Couldn't thank me enough. Showed it to all her friends.
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Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon (Paperback - February 28, 2012)
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