{lesson} Nothing is original—Steal Like an Artist

Picasso had a saying, “good artists copy, great artists steal.”

Steve Jobs admitted, “we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas.”

David Bowie spoke about his originality, “I’m more like a tasteful thief.”

Paul Rand advised, “don’t try to be original, just be good.”

Nothing is Original it’s just a remix or a mash-up. Austin Kleon shares his secret about originality in his talk “Steal Like An Artist.”

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Every new idea is just a remix or a mash up of one or two previous ideas.

I loved the part of Justin’s talk when he said “this is what they teach you in art school” and illustrated 1 + 1 = 3 with two lines and a family photo. Perfection!




Words of wisdom from Austin Kleon

  1. Steal like an artist.
  2. Don’t wait until you know who you are to get started.
  3. Write the book you want to read.
  4. Use your hands.
  5. Side projects and hobbies are important.
  6. The secret: do good work and share it with people.
  7. Geography is no longer our master.
  8. Be nice. (The world is a small town.)
  9. Be boring. (It’s the only way to get work done.)
  10. Creativity is subtraction.


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