Real Artists Don’t Starve Book Summary - Real Artists Don’t Starve Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Real Artists Don’t Starve summary

Jeff Goins

Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

4.3 (76 ratings)
16 mins

Brief summary

Real Artists Don't Starve by Jeff Goins reveals the myths surrounding the creative process and offers a blueprint for thriving as an artist in the modern age by highlighting the importance of both creativity and business acumen.

Table of Contents

    Real Artists Don’t Starve
    Summary of 6 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 6

    Anyone can be an artist, and real artists know how to steal.

    For ages, we’ve been holding on to popular misconceptions about what it means to be a “real” artist.

    In the media and in our minds, true artists are depicted as starving, naturally talented and deeply original. Unfortunately, these types of ideas can scare some people away from ever entering the arts and fulfilling their creative potential.

    So let’s start with two of the biggest fallacies about artists, namely that they’re born with natural talent, and that their artwork must be completely original.

    First off, you don’t need to be born with natural talent to become an artist; what you need to do is put in hard work and show persistence and determination. With these tools in hand, even a corporate professional can become an artist. Just consider the case of lawyer turned best-selling author, John Grisham.

    He began by finding just 30 to 60 minutes each day to write one page of his book. Three years later he had finished his first novel, A Time to Kill. And even though 40 different publishers would come to reject it, he persisted and got to work on his second book, The Firm.

    Eventually, his perseverance paid off, and both books became bestsellers. They did so well that Grisham was able to quit his day job and devote all of his time to writing. His books even launched a new literary genre, the legal thriller.

    While you do need to be dedicated to your craft, you don’t need to reinvent its form or be wholly original to succeed. On the contrary, what you need to know is how to steal.

    Like Picasso said, “Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

    This doesn’t mean being lazy or mimicking someone else’s work; there’s a code of conduct among artists that allows for taking something that’s been done and expanding upon it or pushing it further.

    A great example is The Muppets. The show’s creator, Jim Henson, took the puppetry of the puppeteer Burr Tillstrom, along with the humor and jokes of other artists, like the comedian Ernie Kovacs, and combined them to create something new and exciting.

    Next, let’s look into what makes an artist thrive.

    Want to see all full key ideas from Real Artists Don’t Starve?

    Key ideas in Real Artists Don’t Starve

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Real Artists Don’t Starve about?

    Real Artists Don’t Starve (2017) is a wake-up call to those who think being an artist isn’t a realistic or viable pursuit. Here, you’ll find ample proof to debunk the myths portraying artists as starving and solitary figures that must suffer for their art. There’s a New Renaissance going on these days – find out how you can be a part of it!

    Real Artists Don’t Starve Review

    Real Artists Don't Starve (2017) explores the myths surrounding the starving artist stereotype and provides insightful strategies for creative professionals to thrive. Here's why this book is worth reading:

    • It offers practical tips and actionable advice that empower artists to embrace their creativity while also building a sustainable career.
    • Through compelling stories and examples of successful artists throughout history, it demonstrates that artistic pursuits and financial success are not mutually exclusive.
    • The book's engaging storytelling and thought-provoking insights make it an enjoyable read, debunking the notion that creativity is a pathway to poverty.

    Who should read Real Artists Don’t Starve?

    • Aspiring artists
    • Workers who don’t feel fulfilled with their jobs
    • Creative readers looking for fresh inspiration and motivation

    About the Author

    Jeff Goins is a former musician who went on to start a writing career, which has since become a thriving business aimed at helping others turn their artistic dreams into reality. His other books include the bestseller The Art of Work. You can find out more about his teachings and keynote speeches at

    Categories with Real Artists Don’t Starve

    Book summaries like Real Artists Don’t Starve

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    31 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Real Artists Don’t Starve FAQs 

    What is the main message of Real Artists Don’t Starve?

    The main message of Real Artists Don’t Starve is that artists can thrive by embracing their creativity, adopting an entrepreneur's mindset, and cultivating fruitful collaborations.

    How long does it take to read Real Artists Don’t Starve?

    The reading time for Real Artists Don’t Starve depends on the reader, but it typically takes several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Real Artists Don’t Starve a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Real Artists Don’t Starve is an inspiring and practical guide for artists. It offers valuable insights and strategies to help artists thrive in their creative pursuits.

    Who is the author of Real Artists Don’t Starve?

    The author of Real Artists Don’t Starve is Jeff Goins.

    What to read after Real Artists Don’t Starve?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Real Artists Don’t Starve, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • Art, Inc. by Lisa Congdon and Meg Mateo Ilasco
    • Keep Going by Austin Kleon
    • The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron
    • The Creative Act by Rick Rubin
    • Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon
    • The Beginning of Infinity by David Deutsch
    • Unfu*k Yourself by Gary John Bishop
    • Discipline Is Destiny by Ryan Holiday
    • When the Body Says No by Gabor Maté
    • The Mind of the Artist by William Todd Schultz