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Steal Like an Artist – 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative    Austin Kleon 2012  New York: Workman Publishing

If you’re like me, I have always been aware that to copy is a cardinal sin for an artist, and yet, as a classical musician, that is what I was taught to do – reproduce the music as written down by the composer.  The artistry came in my personal interpretation of the music – how I chose to perform it.  But whether you are a musician or a visual artist, we all copy, sometimes to learn techniques, sometimes elements from something else that we’ve seen or heard.  Austin Kleon very clearly states where the boundaries are between plagiarism and inspiration in this amusing, arty take on the artist’s dilemma and also gives you ideas of how to unlock your creativity.

The ten topics cover

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.

I’ve had it on my shelf for quite a long time and this isn’t the first time I’ve read it.  It’s a quick, but thought-provoking coffee break read and one to have on hand for those moments when you are not quite sure how to progress in your creative life.