Except for the provocative title, this book looks innocent enough. After a quick thumb through of the contents, Steal Like an Artist doesn’t appear to press for thievery of any kind, at least not in the traditional sense. Rather, the author is informing the reader that there is no “pure’ creative life, and that no matter how you pass your endeavours off as unique, there will always be someone else’s work that is a precedent, and that it’s best that you admit your influences – only then can you start to make something truly your own.
Kleon then explains his ideas for jump starting creativity, beginning with the title phrase, and including other key concepts for living the creative life. Some involve common sense; others urge a need for groundedness when doing art of any kind, be it writing, visual, or musical.
Steal Like an Artist is a breezy read, done in under an hour, but worth the detour if you are or consider yourself a creative type and aren’t sure how to proceed down your chosen path.
(William Hicks, Information Services)