Real Artists Don’t Starve Book Summary - Real Artists Don’t Starve Book explained in key points
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Real Artists Don’t Starve summary

Jeff Goins

Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

4.3 (66 ratings)
16 mins
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    Real Artists Don’t Starve
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    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.

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    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!

    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

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