In “the pirate of silicon valley” movie when bill gates and his friends went to work for apple he said something that really got my attention he said: “good artists copy, great artists steal” and what these guys stole from apple made Microsoft as we know it today.

In the beginning, I thought that was a nonprofessional act but, after I read steal like an artist, I understand now how creativity works.

steal like an artist coverbook


Buy Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon:

Nothing is original

What a good artist understands is that ” nothing comes from nowhere… “. All the creative work builds on what comes before nothing is completely original as William Ralph Inge said: “what is originality? undetected plagiarism”.Every new idea it’s just a remix of one or more previous ideas for example: if we took this 2 line below:

How many lines are there ? 2 right? but if we look closely we find out that there is a line of negative space between them see when it comes to ideas 1+1=3, it’s just like Dad+Mom= You, that’s what’s the author called ” the genealogy of ideas”, it’s similar to familial genealogy but in this one, you can pick anyone you like not just dad and mom you can pick your friends your influencers, teachers, books, movies…etc. Try to collect ideas good ideas, try to collect them everywhere you go and from everyone you meet the more you collect good ideas the more you can choose from to be influenced by.

“We were kids without fathers… So we found our fathers on wax and on the street and in history. We got to pick and choose the ancestors who would inspire the world we were going to make for ourselves”


Fake it ’till you make it

there are two ways of reading it:

1- pretend to be something you are not until you are

2- pretend to be making something until you actually make something

Pretending that you are something or you are doing something, really helps you gain confidence to do it or to be it, and that’s why a lot of successful people always say: “I know I’m that I am gonna make it because I saw it coming” but in fact, they didn’t saw it coming they just convinced their mind they did. In this book, Austin Kleon told us about how two friends wanted to be artists so they moved to New York City and dressed up in all their bohemian gypsy gear and go to Washington square park and guess what? people gave them attention like they were real artists. The point is: all the world is a stage and creative work is a kind of theater if you want something fake it ’till you make it

” You start out as a phony and become real “

Glenn O’Brien

Start copying

We learn by copying. Nobody is born with style or a voice we just learn by pretending to be our heroes. there is a big difference between copying and plagiarism – Plagiarism is is trying to pass someone else’s work off as your own and that’s bad copying because the human hand is incapable of making a perfect copy, that small change in your copy could lead to the next big thing, musicians learn to play by practicing scales. Painters learn to paint by reproducing masterpieces it’s unavoidable to create something without copying so the real question is who you copy and what you copy?

For who you copy it’s easy your heroes, people you love, people you inspired by, people you want to be, and you better have more than one became when you copy from one person it’s plagiarism but when you copy a lot it’s a research.

” if you have one person you are inflenced by, everyone will say you are the next whoever but if you rip off a hundred people, everyone will say you are so original “

-Gary Panter

Now what to copy is a little bit trickier don’t just steal the style, steal the thinking behind the style. Imagine having all your heroes in a room and you are the leader of the team. What can you add or what should you transform and amplify from their work to your own what makes a theft good is studying the thing not just skim it, steal from many, give credit, transform and remix as Kobe Bryant said: “I have stolen all of these moves from all these great players, I just try to do them proud, the guys who come before. Because I learned so much from them, It’s all in the name of the game, it’s a lot bigger than me”.

Practice productive procrastination

Procrastination is something bad but you can use it to your own advantage by having a lot of projects going at once so you can bounce between them when you get sick of one project you move over to another, and when you are sick of that one, move back to the project you left but to do that you need to have a passion, after all, passion is what moves you forward.

So if you find out that you have two or three real passions or even more, don’t feel like you have to pick and choose between them. Practice productive procrastination on them as Tomlinson suggests that if you love different things, you just keep spending time with them he said: “Let them talk to each other something will begin to happen”. But as much as “the productive procrastination” is good, sometimes you just have to take a break in a specific way, take time to be bored. creative people need time to just sit around and do nothing, take a long walk, stare at a spot on the wall, get lost, take time to mess around, and believe me, it’s gonna helps you a lot

” Avoiding work is the way to focus my mind “

-Maria Kalman

In the end, I want you to know that reading the summary is helpful (at least better than not reading at all). But, you will not get the full benefit unless you read the whole book. Remember: “reading a summary of a certain book is like watching a trailer of a movie while reading the whole book is like watching the whole movie.” 


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