I bought this book on 10Feb2015 and finish it the night I bought it.
“Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon.
I must confess I bought the book solely because of the Title. Since I was fasinated by the idea of stealing and the status symbol of being an artist, I bought it without second thought.
Steal Like an artist is a short and easy read, I finished the whole book in less than 2 hours and did some notes in the process. Anyone with reasonable reading skills should be able to finish the book in less than an afternoon.
The primary objective of the book is to persuade you to reverse engineer the work of others and improvised it into your own model. Start a Phony and become a real artist is the premise of the whole book. Austin defines copying as the act to absorb and reverse engineer the word of others and immersing oneself into a space where one can blend multiple ideas into a complete set of idea and create something out of it, be it a piece of art, a product or a business.
Austin Kleon also suggest the readers to find out who to copy, what to copy and the reason of copying, since the world is a GIGO (Garbage In and Garbage Out).
Another interesting point he point out is that humans are more able to create content on paper or by physical actions rather than hitting the keypad. He believe that is because the muscle actions will stimulate the brain more thoroughly, thus unleashing the power of creativity. This view resonante by another book I read “The Anti Education Era” written by James Paul Gee. In this book, James Paul Gee also recommends the use of multi sensory input. The more sense involve, the better the memory will register. So I guess as a writer, I will try to include more sensory input to entice the audience to a higher level of engagement.
As of now I am pretty obscure, that could be an Advantage according to Austin Kleon. Because I am in obscurity, I can afford to experiment and be focused on doing good work instead of handling social task. And the readers can feel more engaged in my works since its imperfect. The readers can discover and find the bits and piece by themselves, by filling the gaps between it, the audience can feel more engaged. That’s why incubation and obscure artist always sells better than a fully developed piece and a highly recognized artist.
In the book Austin also stresses the ability to remain stably euphoric. He suggest any artist to keep some praises from readers and audiences and reviewing them when one is having a struggle.
Last but not least, Creativity is subtraction, and creativity is the struggle against limitation. That’s why when you are facing a writer block, entrepreneur block or artist block, try to slash some elements and create something out of a lot of restrictions.
He validated this idea by actions quite well by finishing a poem book called “Newspaper Blackout”.
You can check it out on this link