Steal Like An Artist

New York Times best-selling manifesto for creativity in the digital age. Get a signed copy.

Steal Like An Artist cover

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About the book

ISBN: 9780761169253 | Foreign Translations | Ordering FAQ

When I was asked to talk to students at a community college in upstate New York, I sat down and wrote a talk based on a list of 10 things I wished I’d heard when I was starting out:

Steal Like An Artist

  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.

The text and slides from the talk “rocked the creative world” (GalleyCat) and went viral. I expanded the post into a book-length work stuffed full of brand-new writing and illustrations, published by Workman Publishing in February 2012.

The book now has hundreds of thousands of copies in print and has been translated into over a dozen languages.

garbage in, garbage out good theft vs. bad theft you will need who we are vs. what we want to be


Praise for the book Top Best-Selling Book of 2012

Brain Pickings Best Art Books of 2012

2012 Goodreads Choice Awards Nonfiction

“Brilliant and real and true.”
Rosanne Cash

“Immersing yourself in Steal Like An Artist is as fine an investment in the life of your mind as you can hope to make.”
The Atlantic

“Filled with well-formed advice that applies to nearly any kind of work.”

“Equal parts manifesto and how-to, Steal Like An Artist aims to introduce readers to the idea that all creative work is iterative, no idea is original and all creators and their output are a sum of inspirations and heroes…”

“The book is filled with engaging anecdotes and helpful tips taken from Kleon’s experience learning to walk on his own creative feet.”
Fast Company

“Skip about 10 years of trial and error as an artist.”
Christopher Moore

Chris Anderson, curator of TED

“Alarmingly cute.”

“A short, easy, very personal read that’s packed with practical tips to help kickstart creativity.”
Business Insider

“ Breezy and fun and yes, scary. Scary because it calls your bluff.”
Seth Godin

“Engaging, inspiring and practical advice on becoming a successful artist, advice that applies well beyond artistic pursuits… This is a quick, easily digestible read that is particularly relevant in today’s digital world.”
School Library Journal

Stephen Elliott

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