Well, I finally got around to reading Steal Like an Artist, and I read it in about a sitting and a half. It was a fast, fun read, and I really enjoyed all of the pictures, quotes, and little snippets of wisdom scattered throughout the pages.
Steal Like an Artist is a book by Austin Kleon, about creativity. It is full of real life experiences involving creativity, and it has a lot of good advice for the creative aspect of any work. This includes writing, drawing, programming, whatever.
What I enjoyed the most was that he found a way to merge creativity with real life. So many times people think that creativity is some easy, useless skill, and things like math and Physics are more important. Not true. Creativity is hard, and important.
“In the digital age, don’t forget to use your digits!”
Reading the book got me thinking about when I do my best thinking. A lot of the thinking I do is sitting at the computer, waiting for some great idea so that I can type it in. But this isn’t when I do my best thinking. I probably do my best thinking when I’m walking through a park, or sitting outside watching the rain, or standing around at work because there aren’t any customers. I do my best thinking when I should be doing something else.
“Don’t throw any of yourself away.”
This was an interesting point that he made. Sometimes I think that I have to give up some of my interests so that the really important ones don’t suffer. I have always been a writer, so I have never considered giving that up, but occasionally I consider giving up other hobbies so that I can spend more time writing. I used to be really into programming, and I learned quite a bit, but there was a period where I simply gave it up, thinking that it was taking too much time that I should be spending doing something else. I got into the mindset that everything’s a waste of time, and I have to force myself to be constantly outputting what I’m supposed to be outputting. The problem is, I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing. So I’ve started programming again. I love it, and it’s interesting, and I have accepted the fact that I probably won’t ever become the next Linus Torvalds, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy writing the occasional Python script. Besides, if I’m going to do anything with interactive Storytelling, I need to be able to program.
“Complain about the way other people make software by making software.”
Throughout the book Austin Kleon includes many little quotes like this one, that really make you think. I enjoyed reading the quotes almost as much as I enjoyed reading the book.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book, and I’m glad I read it. Few people know how to really talk about creativity, and I would say that Austin Kleon is one of them.
After I read the book, I came across a live-stream of Austin Kleon being interviewed by Chase Jarvis. It was a very good interview, and they covered most of the topics in the book. So if you are interested, but don’t want to go out and buy or read this wonderful book, then you can watch the video here:
If you can’t watch the embedded video for some reason, here’s a link to the original video.