A colleague at work told me about the book: “Steal Like An Artist” by Austin Kleon. I read it a few weeks ago. It is such a great book. It reads a bit like a Hugh MacLeod book (see gapingvoid.com). There are so many inspiring ideas in this quick read. You can easily read it in an afternoon.
Ever since I read it, the idea of “Steal Like An Artist” has come up often in the last few weeks. Leveraging ideas that have already been put forth, but altering or updating for a specific audience. For example, infographics are all over the Internet. Many companies and individuals use the “infographic” idea and repurpose them for the needs of their audience. Infographics are a compelling way to break down a story and show a visual image of the data and details in a consumable way. Does that mean that we are plagiarizing or stealing the idea? No, it means that a good idea can be transferred, altered, and made better with each use.
An example Kleon shares is with art and painting. When we are young and are taught how to paint, we look at the great painters, Pollock, Klee, Picasso, etc. We look at their form, color, and technique. We make our own paintings by trying out what these famous painters did. We find our own technique and skill. We might not have ever learned to paint without stealing from these artists. Kleon goes on to clarify that there is a difference between taking a poem word for word, which is plagiarizing, and using a poem to inspire one of your own.
my most recent “almost finished” painting
Above is one of my recent paintings. I cannot decide if I am done with it or not. I have loved learning from artists that have come before me. “Steal Like An Artist” is a definite must read!
Gosh, I feel like I know what it must have been like on Noah’s Ark. It will not stop raining in Portland! Yes, I have lived here a long time and I am used to it, but usually it rains, then is gloomy the next day, then it rains, you get the picture. These last few weeks it has been raining non-stop, and my iPhone shows rain for the next week straight. I am starting to think that this year the saying should be March showers bring…sun and flip flops in April? For those of you that have sunshine send some my way!
Yesterday I read the book: “Evil Plans: Having Fun on the Road to World Domination” by Hugh MacLeod. It is a quick read, with short, quick chapters and even has cartoons throughout that break it up a bit. I read it all during yesterday’s run, so you will only need about an hour. I definitely recommend it if you are wanting to get out of your current job and you are needing inspiration and a little kick in the butt to do so, OR if you left your job and are breaking out on your own and need a reminder for why you broke free. Hugh starts the book with this idea:
“Sigmund Freud once said that in order to be truly happy in life, a human being needed to acquire two things: the capacity to work, and the capacity to love.” [His premise of an “Evil Plan” is to be able to do both at the same time]. page 2
He also has a cartoon that says: “the best way to get approval is not to need it.” I love that idea. (I apologize I forgot to note the page number). At the very end of the book he has a chapter called: “Are you a Waker?”
“A waker is someone who is very good at waking other people up from their metaphorical slumber, temporary or otherwise. Some people just have the gift. Being around them or their work just makes you feel more alive, more inspired, more motivated, more awake. The best wakers will make you do crazy-ass things, like quit your boring job and start your own business, write that song, move to Thailand, forgive that someone who once hurt you, or finally tell that girl that you love her. A waker reminds you on a constant basis just how alive you really are. Just how much human potential you really have inside of you. And there’s something about their influence that makes you utterly unable to go back to “sleep” ever again, despite your best efforts.” page 168
I love this idea of being a waker and wanted to share it with you! I want to help others feel more alive and more awake! Just as I want others to help me in that endeavor. What if we all attempted to do that for each other?