Steal Like an Artist

My morn­ing com­mute is a qui­et, 25-minute dri­ve down a small inter­state. While my office is in the heard of His­toric Savan­nah, Ga, I live west­ward in a dif­fer­ent city and coun­ty. If I’m on the road for almost an hour a day I fig­ure I might as well make the most of it.

I typ­i­cal­ly spend my com­mute, both to and from the office, in one of three ways. My favorite of the three is to dri­ve in silence. This gives me time to men­tal­ly pre­pare for my day on the way to work, or grad­u­al­ly tran­si­tion from work mode into home mode on the way home. Anoth­er way I often spend my com­mute is by lis­ten­ing to audio­books. I love to read and wish I had more time to do it. Audio­books have been a great addi­tion to my dri­ves. The last way I some­times spend my com­mute is list­ing to podcasts.

Recent­ly I was lis­ten­ing to the Entre­Lead­er­ship Pod­cast and the main inter­view was with Austin Kleon, author of two books we have and love at Focus Lab. The book dis­cussed in this pod­cast episode was Steal Like an Artist. It’s a short and won­der­ful read to any­one who makes things (which, as dis­cussed in the pod­cast episode, is basi­cal­ly everyone).

I encour­age you to lis­ten to the episode on your own; but I want­ed to share some of my key take­aways. If you want to lis­ten to the seg­ment with the author, scrub ahead to the 1:20 mark. The actu­al inter­view is about 28 min­utes long. Here are my favorite thoughts and quotes:

  1. A lot of inno­va­tion and cre­ativ­i­ty is about know­ing what came before you.” (~4:50)
  2. If you just throw a lit­tle bit of effort into the search, you just dive a lit­tle bit deep­er than the Aver­age Joe or the aver­age per­son in your field, it’s amaz­ing what you can dig up.” (~8:00)
  3. The dis­cus­sion about ques­tions and chil­dren between 8:35 and 12:15
  4. Talk­ing about how con­straints enable and enhance cre­ativ­i­ty (~12:48)
  5. Mas­tery ver­sus amateurism/​student (starts around 17:45)
  6. …attempt mas­tery while retain­ing [the spir­it of a stu­dent].” (~20:25)

Go give it a lis­ten and shoot a reply my way if you took some­thing help­ful away from it!

Published on June 11, 2015

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