“If everyone is thinking alike, then someone isn’t thinking.”

George S. Patton, General U. S. Army

"It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt."

Mark Twain

"The ancestor of every action is thought."


"All that we are is the result of what we have thought."


"When you are not told what to do you begin to think what to do."

Roger Cohen, Op-Ed Columnist New York Times

"No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking."


"Never be afraid to sit awhile and think."

Lorraine Hansberry, A Raisin in the Sun

"You and I are not what we eat; we are what we think."

Walter Anderson, The Confidence Course

"Did you ever stop to think, and forget to start again?"

Winnie the Pooh

"Time to think matters ─ at least if we’re interested in getting the answers right."

Stephen L. Carter

"Thinking is always out of order, interrupts all ordinary activities and is interrupted by them."

Hannah Arendt, Life of the Mind

"Too often we…enjoy the comfort of opinion without the discomfort of thought."

John F. Kennedy

"The trouble with most people is that they think with their hopes or fears or wishes rather than with their minds."

Will Durant

"Thinking is like living and dying. Each of us must do it for himself."

Josiah Royce

"Some people get lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory."

G. Behn

"The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking."

Albert Einstein

"Pursuing our thoughts in silent contemplation takes an investment in time that few can spare."

Stephen L. Carter

"A moment’s thinking is an hour in words."

Thomas Hood

"Sometimes I think and other times I am."

Paul, Variete: Cantiques spirituels 192

"To think is to differ."


"To think is to live."


"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices."

William Jones

"What we think, we become."


"Our job is not to make up anybody’s mind, but to open minds and to make the agony of the decision-making so intense you can escape only by thinking."


"The person who thinks before he speaks is silent most of the time."


"Think ─ and you will be very lonely."


"Thought is action in rehearsal."


"We live in a world that leaves very little time to contemplate."


"Don’t worry too much about what people think because they seldom do."


"Invest a few moments in thinking. It will pay good interest."


"One cannot think crooked and walk straight."


"Think Differently + Do Things Differently = Better Results"


June 26, 2017

Steal Like An Artist

Tags: General, Design,

You never know what you’ll find in a stack of fifty cent paperbacks at a Flea Market. One title that caught my eye was Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon. The author makes the case that nothing is more paralyzing than the idea of limitless possibilities. And unfortunately we live in an age of limitless everything.

I’m pretty sure Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon.com, wasn’t thinking about buying The Washington Post and Whole Foods when he launched Amazon.com in 1994. He started by selling books online. He started with something, not everything.

I was drawn to Kleon’s provocative and intriguing title because I work with artists every day and personally like to frequent museums, galleries, historic homes and trendy retailers to absorb creative inspiration.

Kleon believes creativity is for everyone, no matter what your line of work or play. Once you’re attuned to it, there are thousands of random ideas floating out there waiting to be harnessed. Which influences we internalize and when we choose to call them up is where the magic begins.

That’s what Kleon means by “stealing.” Taking bits and pieces of creative influences and making them your own.

You are a mashup of anything you let into your life. Anyone can be creative if they surround themselves with the right influences, play nice and work hard.

And you don’t need to have endless resources at your disposal to get started opening that bakery, planting that garden or writing that song. Singer/songwriter Jack White said it best:

Telling yourself you have all the time
in the world, all the money in the world,
all the colors in the palette, anything
you want -- that just kills creativity.

As I was writing this, here was my horoscope for the day:

CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19). The tools used to be creative will be a focus, but don't be fooled: The tools do not create. Creativity is in the head and heart. Fancy, expensive tools can actually work against the art.

Better to have a few bucks and an opening line.

When it comes to any creative endeavor, Kleon concedes that “narrowing the options is one of the hardest things to do; self-editing is one of the most difficult forms of self-discipline.”

The way to get over creative block is to simply place some constraints on yourself. It seems contradictory, but when it comes to creative work, limitations mean freedom.

His book is a quick, fun read with great graphics, but if you’re a headline scanner, I’ll just go ahead and tell you the10 Things Nobody Told You (until now) About Being Creative:

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.

Definitely worth 50 cents.

Alvare Associates  Anita Alvare

Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative   Austin Kleon   Creativity  Jeff Bezos   Amazon.com   Jack White

Since establishing Alvaré in 1981, Anita has guided the agency through 37 years of steady growth and success. A marketing communications entrepreneur who has done it all, she remains deeply involved in strategic planning and creative direction, bringing extensive knowledge and insight to each client project.


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Comments (4)

Lou Miesen

Hi Anita - I found your article interesting. It prompted me to share with you a book I happened to be reading now.  It’s called “Stealing Fire: How Silicon Valley, The Navy SEAls, and Maverick Scientists Are Revolutionizing the Way We Live and Work by Steven Kotler and Jamie Wheal and thought you might be interested. It helps you to access your inner flow of creativity, how to maximize it and stay in this state which is difficult to acquire in the first place.  They say these states which are usually acquired with a controlled use of psychedelic drugs can be acquired naturally using mind exercises. So far I can’t comment much - I’m only into the first chapter.


Another creative gem Anita!
I just ordered my book- I will mention your name when I write my book.
Keep that creativity flowing.

Joan Rychalsky

Another insightful, interesting, creative article.  Love your organization of thoughts to create a magnificent read.  Love the ending.  Thanks for sharing.  Gratefully, Joan

Donnas Schaeffer

Hello Anita,

wonderful post, always good to know that less really is more when it comes to creating