Twenty Eighteen Preparation: Steal Like An Artist.
Monteiro was in town a few days ago and invited a small group of friends to hang out with him at ABGB. I was happy to see Austin there and to have the chance to chat for a bit. Seeing him inspired me to dust off my copy of Steal Like An Artist when I got home. I received my copy at the very first Creative Mornings Austin, where, “man-Austin” gave a presentation titled “A writer who draws.”
So, I pulled the book from the library and brought it upstairs where I tend to keep a pile or four of various reading material. Normally the book would sit there, get a few scans until it was time to de-clutter the area and bring everything back down to the library. But this year I vowed to use books for what they were intended for, reading not staking. Yesterday afternoon I hurried home, grabbed the book and headed for the rooftop to read under a brilliant, blue, cloudless sky.
Steal Like An Artist is a quick read that is deceptively simple. At one hundred and forty pages and eight inches square, it reads just as quickly as scanning Twitter or swiping through Instagram, but that does not have an impact on the potency of ideas and the depth of inspiration. The simplicity is a first-hand example of how constraints produce the best result — the subject of the last chapter: “Creativity is Subtraction.”
The deception in the book comes through the many anecdotes and quotes by successful artists, poets, musicians, and creators that support the main books of the book. They are intertwined briefly, almost casually, but not at the cost of the message. Whereas, other books in the same category use these hooks to string out each story to add weight. You won’t notice this by simply scanning the pages. I didn’t when I first got my copy, and that’s my loss.
I did not intend to finish the book as quickly as I did, but I feel more inspired and ready to build on this framework of thinking and making. I’m tempted to go through the book again soon, but take more time to process each chapter and turn those ideas that apply into more actionable items than simply checking off the first book read in 2018. If you’re looking for something to help you get off to a great start to the year, then I suggest picking up Austin’s book and spending an afternoon with it.