Articulated Simply. Beautifully. “How To Steal Like an Artist” by Austin Kleon

(and 9 other things nobody tells me)One of my best friends follows work, art and culture closely in Austin, TX, and she sent me this recent favorite. It is rare and refreshing to observe complex ideas articulated simply.

The full piece: How To Steal Like an Artist

My three favorite excerpts (and expanded below):

  1. Create your own family tree of those who you allow influence you.
  2. Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.
  3. Creativity is subtraction.

Create your own family tree of those who you allow influence you.

You’re only going to be as good as the stuff you surround yourself with. ….

Your job is to collect ideas. The best way to collect ideas is to read. Read, read, read, read, read. Read the newspaper. Read the weather. Read the signs on the road. Read the faces of strangers. The more you read, the more you can choose to be influenced by.

family tree of writers

Identify one writer you really love. Find everything they’ve ever written. Then find out what they read. And read all of that. Climb up your own family tree of writers.

Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.

The secret: do good work and put it where people can see it

“Do good work and put it where people can see it.”

It’s a two step process.

Step one, “do good work,” is incredibly hard. There are no shortcuts. Make stuff every day. Fail. Get better.

Step two, “put it where people can see it,” was really hard up until about 10 years ago. Now, it’s very simple: “put your stuff on the internet.”

I tell people this, and then they ask me, “What’s the secret of the internet?”

Wonder at something. Invite others to wonder with you.

Step 1: Wonder at something. Step 2: Invite others to wonder with you.

Creativity is subtraction.

creativity is subtraction

In this age of information overload and abundance, those who get ahead will be the folks who figure out what to leave out, so they can concentrate on what’s important to them.

Devoting yourself to something means shutting out other things.

What makes you interesting isn’t just what you’ve experienced, but also what you haven’t experienced….

Creativity isn’t just the things we chose to put in, it’s also the things we chose to leave out. Or black out.

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