book talk: steal like an artist

Book Talk | Steal Like An Artist

Our team loves to read. From books on business best practices, developing creativity, professional growth, or even thoughts on personal development, we know that knowledge is power. So, in true higher education fashion, we wanted to add in a portion of our blog called “Book Talk.” We hope this category can help you stand on the shoulders of giants, spark your literary interest, and give you some food for thought on books that should be on your to-read list.

Steal Like An Artist

This book is a must-read for those that want to cultivate creativity in their lives. The central theme of the book is simple – “art is theft” and we should “steal like an artist.” Author Austin Kleon, who has been described as “one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” is a writer and an artist who believes that nothing is original. In his New York Times bestseller, Steal Like An Artist, Kleon gives us 10 ways to inject some creativity into our lives and our work.

We don’t want to ruin the fun of actually reading the book, so check out some of our favorite points below then pick up a copy of your own!

#1 Steal Like An Artist

Look at the world like an artist and find inspiration in everything. Kleon writes that nothing is original – “all creative work builds on what came before” so free yourself from that burden of being completely original because complete originality doesn’t exist. Think of yourself as a collector. Treasure hunt in your daily life for things that you can draw inspiration from and keep a “swipe file” of things you want to steal from others. If you find you are the smartest or most creative person in a room, you better find another room.

#2 Don’t Wait Until You Know Who You Are To Get Started

Fake it ’til you make it. Kleon tell us that we already have everything we need to get started. We find ourselves by making things and creating. No matter your role – student, job seeker, employer – don’t wait until you know who you are to get started because you might be waiting a long time for that day to come. There is a great quote in the book from fashion designer Yhhji Yamamoto that reads, “Start copying what you love. Copy copy copy copy. At the end of the copy you will find yourself.” As humans, we are incapable of making a perfect copy, so, copy those that inspire you and note where you fall short. That shortfall is what you should capitalize on in your own work.

#6 The Secret: Do Good Work And Share It

This point is as easy at it sounds. Do good work and then share it with the world around you. We think this is so important in the job search. If you have things you are passionate about or love to do, do them! Document your journey, start a blog, become a thought leader on topics that interest you. Whatever you choose to do, share it with others. People want to hire those that 1) care about what they do and 2) are interesting. Show others why your passions matter and share your projects with the world.

#7 Geography Is No Longer Our Master

We love the author’s idea of “creating your own world.” From connecting with individuals you want to learn more from on social media, to, quite literally, creating a space you like to be in at home or at work – geography is no longer your master. All you have to do is create the world around you that you want to live and thrive in.

#10 Creativity Is Subtraction

Last, but certainly not least – creativity is subtraction. Working within constraints that we can’t always control is just part of the game. Think about it like a person: a person isn’t interesting only because of the things they’ve experienced, they are also interesting because of the things they haven’t experienced. It is the same for everything in life – embrace the limitations and keep moving forward. Kleon tells us “in the end, creativity isn’t just the things we choose to put in it’s the things we choose to leave out, too – so choose wisely.”

For more ideas and work by Austin Kleon, check out his website – He sends out a weekly newsletter with interesting thoughts, new ideas, and great reads. Subscribe on his site to stay in the loop!

Getting you hired sooner,

-OU Career Services Team

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