book hack

Steal Like an Artist

Austin Kleon

5 mins

3 key insights

Visual, audio & text

Steal Like An Artist gives us permission to copy our heroes' work and use it as a springboard to find your own, unique style - all while remembering to have fun, creating the right work environment for your art and letting neither criticism nor praise drive you off track.


Steal Like an Artist

Steal Like an Artist

by Austin Kleon


How many times have you heard the following quote from Pablo Picasso? "Good artists copy, great artists steal." [Pablo Picasso]

While it's a very famous line, it's doubtful that it's being used in the right context. Picasso didn't literally steal other painters' work. He merely imitated his favorite artists a lot. So, when your friend tells you this quote the next time you point out she just plain copied someone's homework, you can tell her that's not quite right. So what did Picasso mean? And why does it make sense for artists to imitate one another? Well, that's what Steal Like An Artist is about.

Austin Kleon is a writer who draws. He's written multiple New York Times bestsellers about the creative process of being an artist. This one encourages us to not worry about being original, and instead focus on getting started.

Favorite quote

If you ever find that you're the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room.

- Austin Kleon

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