Monthly Beerside Chat: Discussing "Steal Like an Artist" by Austin Kleon
McCann Book Clubbers met for our monthly Beerside Chat. Here’s a recap of what we discussed – complete with discussion questions – and the rabbit hole we fell down.
On the topics of creative license, thieving great ideas and the nonexistence of true originality, we got right down to the ‘genealogy of ideas.’ Acknowledge that what you create will never be unique, and you and your idea can take its place within the genealogy of ideas - with the experts you listen to, the books that stimulate you, the art that speaks to you, the movies you see over and over, and all the other influences that shape your artistic identity and creative roots.
Which brought us to the modern notion of the meme, an idea or behavior that permeates our lives, passing from person to person, cultural analogues to genes in that they self-replicate and become viral by means of cultural ‘natural selection.’This word comes from Richard Dawkins’ book The Selfish Gene. And there is an entire field of study called memetics. I’d say in a way, this quasi-academic study is a vital part of our work here, no matter what position you hold or account you’re on. Doesn’t every client ask for every idea to spread through our culture like wildfire?
So whether you’ve read this little gem or not, here are some pull quotes and questions you might think about, which might have more meaning for you if you pick up the book. It’s small, fun and full of pictures.
“If you ever find that you are the most talented person in the room, you need to find another room”
*How does this relate to how you work with your team?
*Everyone brings their own strengths to the table. In what ways are you the most talented?
*What does this pull-quote mean for those who lead their teams?
“Don’t wait till you know who you are to get started”
This is about influences and growing into your own
*Who creatively inspires you?
*How have they shaped you or your work?
*What is one way you “see” like your heroes?
*How can that translate for you into the work we create here?
“Use your hands”
Going through the motions can kickstart our brain into thinking.
*Do you use the dry-erase board/notebook?
*How do you use your hands or your body when creating ideas/work?
“You don’t have to be passionate about one thing”
*Do you get opportunities to bounce back and forth between projects/passions/side hustles/accounts?
*How can you create those opportunities where you work? And outside of where you work?
“Do good work and don’t be afraid to share it with others”
*How open are you about sharing your ideas, opinions, and work at work?
*Do you put your work online via social media or a portfolio site?
“Keep a praise file”
*Do you have one and do you ever look at it? It’s much needed in this business. Make one on your desktop now!