Steal Like An Artist Book Notes

Full disclaimer, this idea came from Derek Sivers Book page where he posts extensive notes on books that he has read. Below is a shorter version of a similar concept. This book was quick, inspirational and definitely something worth referring back to in the future. Pick up a copy of Steal Like An Artist here.

A photo of one of my favorite pages of Steal Like an Artist

“All advice is autobiographical”

André Gide: “Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since no one was listening, everything must be said again.”

Nothing is original. Steal everything, but make sure you change it and improve it. Understand your influences and seek out more.

Always be collecting ideas.

Fake it till you make it. Start being who you want to be even before you think you’re ready. You’ll never feel ready.

If you copy from one author, it’s plagiarism. If you copy from many, it’s research. — Wilson Mizner

Steal from your heroes so you can understand “why” and “how.” Don’t steal because you want the thing. That’s just a knock off.

“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique.” — Conan Obrien

Do the work you want to see done.

Ideas come from the analog world. Computers are a great place to publish ideas, but you won’t generate any by staring at the screen. Sketch, create, observe, listen, feel and explore the world around you.

Keep your passions in your life. Don’t discard any of your self.

Don’t worry about unity. What unifies your work is that you made it.

Enjoy your obscurity while it lasts. There’s no pressure when there’s no audience.

Go away from home. Discover new horizons. Travel. Find inspiration from unknown places.

“Complain about the way other people make software by making software.” -Andre Torrez

“Modern art = I could do that + Yeah, but you didn’t” — Craig Damraurer

“Sometimes by the time people catch on to what’s valuable about what you do, you’re either a) bored to death with it, or b) dead. You can’t go looking for validation from external sources.”

Keep a praise file for when you’re feeling down about your work and need a little boost.

Create a habit of creation. Do a little bit each day.

Keep a log of past events.

Creativity is subtraction. In an age of limitless information, you need to place constraints on yourself.

The right constraints can lead to your very best work. My favorite example? Dr. Seuss wrote The Cat in the Hat with only 236 different words, so his editor bet him he couldn’t write a book with only 50 different words. Dr. Seuss came back and won the bet with Green Eggs and Ham, one of the bestselling children’s books of all time.

The most honest portrayal of every project I’ve ever done

Thanks for checking out these notes! I hope this was valuable. Go forth and make something cool!

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