Book recommendation: Steal like an artist
This is one of my favorite books of all time: «Steal like an Artist» – or «Alles nur geklaut« in german – by Author Austin Kleon. I must have bought and gave to friends as a gift at least five times already, it’s that good. Basically, it’s a short and readable Guide to creativity. The author explains Creativity in such a fun and entertaining way, you read through the 160 pages really quick.
A lot of my views about being creative stem from this book or are described therein at least. Some examples:
I deeply believe that creativity can’t occur in a vacuum. New ideas stem from mashing up other ideas, or applying a familiar idea in a new context. This is also the message in the popular video series «Everything is a remix» by Kirby Ferguson. The first of the 10 concepts in the book revolves around this. Austin Kleon explains how new ideas derive from the old, how you can find what inspired the things which inspire you, and what the difference is between «stealing» in the books sense and blatant plagiarism.
Another of the 10 ideas is about «Fake it till you make it». If your dream is to become a professional musician, then «fake» your life as a professional musician. This probably means practicing every day, playing concerts and writing songs. If at some point you’re good enough to make a living from it, then the only difference to the «faked life» is the commercial aspect. Also, if you recognize after doing this for a while that you don’t want to spend that much time practicing, playing concerts and writing songs, then that dream of yours is probably not a dream but a nice fantasy. That’s the difference between wanting to be a professional musician with all the effort that goes into it or just wanting to stand in front of a crowd and be famous.