Saturday, September 8, 2012

Your Guide to Creativity

September 2012 Book Review

Steal Like an Artist

10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Austin Kleon

A lot of people think there’s a world of difference between the creative and analytical professions, but I know this couldn’t be further from the truth.  The ability to analyze, recognize patterns, and proactively think of different ways to look at things takes an enormous amount of creativity.  In a sense, I’m saying the best analysts are artists as well.  Analysts that are not creative produce reports, just like artists that are not creative draw stick people.  I was pleasantly surprised that Austin Kleon makes a similar case in this book.  By page two he admits that creativity isn’t just reserved for “artists,” by the traditional definition.  An arena that requires progress requires creativity or artistry.  He also makes it clear that nothing is truly original, but merely reiteration or improvement to something already discussed or created.  Artistry is evolution and we need to embrace the idea that stealing (not to be confused with plagiarizing) is an integral part of the process.  Kleon’s book is a perfect supplement or “how to guide” for Jonah Lehrer’s Imagine.  Kleon does an amazing job of intertwining his own experiences, observations, studies and quotes to provide a framework for tapping into your creative skill sets.  He also unconventionally uses creative imagery to support his ten points throughout the book.  Simple and powerful sums it up best.  Anyone interested in maintaining creative momentum and improvement to their passions needs to keep a copy of this book in their professional or creative workspaces.

Here are some of the best excerpts from this book:

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

“Study everything there is to know about that thinker.  Then find three people that thinker loved, and find out everything about them.”

“School is one thing.  Education is another.  The two don’t always overlap.  Whether you’re in school or not, it’s always your job to get yourself an education.”

“Nobody is born with style or a voice….We learn by copying….We’re talking about practice here, not plagiarism….”

“It’s the side projects that really take off.  By side projects I mean the stuff that you thought was just messing around.”

“Do good work and share it with people.”

“The best way to get approval is to not need it.”

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

“Don’t make excuses for not working – make things with the time, space, and materials you have, right now.”

The Fightin' Analyst Book Rating:

out of five stars