Book Review: Think Like an Artist: How to Live a Happier, Smarter, More Creative Life by Will Gompertz

Below is a wonderful book for aspiring (yet struggling) artists including bloggers/writers.

Think Like an Artist: How to Live a Happier, Smarter, More Creative Life is written by Will Gompertz, BBC Arts editor.

I came across this gem of a book by pure chance after reading Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon.

The latter is a small book that you’ll likely finish in one sitting.

Although it’s easy to read, I couldn’t help but feel like a child might have written it.

The messages are succinctly delivered with graphics and quotes splashed throughout that hold your attention.

But it’s a VERY thin book with little to no depth or insight of the author to the point I’m surprised by the high ratings on Amazon.

That’s where I found the book Think Like an Artist: How to Live a Happier, Smarter, More Creative Life by Will Gompertz.

One of the reviewers with the same unfavourable view on the other book had recommended Think Like an Artist by Will Gompertz as a better alternative for anyone who’s interested in the subject.

And I’m so happy to have come across the comment and invested my time in the right book.

Embracing Insecurity

If you’ve been following my blog, you know I have deep-rooted insecurity about my writing originated from a self-limiting belief that I’m not a creative person.

I fight the urge to quit and hide every time I’m about to publish a new blog post.

It’s a constant battle with myself.

This book covers many aspects of what it means being an artist, how they think, how they deal with their fair share of struggles and push through, how they develop the craft, how they think differently and so on.

They are not ordinary people (but with ordinary doubts and struggles we can all relate to).

They’re well-known artists you’ll likely have heard of. Plus some you probably haven’t.

Everyone is Creative

It begins with one of the core messages: everyone is creative which I need to hear thousand times over to quieten my own insecurity.

The author puts forward his argument in a positiveencouraging and informative way.

Not just pandering to a bundle of insecurities we have with empty words but using many real-life /  artists examples: you can’t help but be inspired by them.

And he maintains the same tone throughout.

The quotes alone in the book worth every penny for which I created a blog post.

It’s my own inspiration reservoir to dig into when necessary.

Most of all, the author’s in-depth knowledge, personal experiences in the art world and his insights shine through, adding depth to the stories illustrated in the book and delivering lessons with zero superiority or preaching.

If you as an aspiring artist are looking for inspirations to draw on in order to forge your way through self-doubt, fear and uncertainty and discover the possibilities, I thoroughly recommend you read this book.

It’s engaging and super easy to read.

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Highlights from the Book

(Credit: Think Like an Artist: How to Live a Happier, Smarter, More Creative Life by Will Gompertz)

Confidence is crucial.
Artists don’t seek permission to paint or write or act or sing; they just do it.

 

When it comes to creativity, failure is as inevitable as it is unavoidable.

 

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t try exactly the same thing again.

 

As human beings, we are all born with not only the wherewithal to be creative but also the need. We must express ourselves. The only decisions to make are what it is we want to say and through which medium we want to say it.

 

… everyone thinks they are a bit of a fraud; you just have to get over it.

 

He (David Ogilvy) knew hard work was the unsung hero of any creative process. His past had made his future possible: there were no failures, only staging posts.

 

A far more important lesson to learn from artists is not that they fail, but that they prevail.

 

Curiosity is the tool that shapes the work of all artists, just as much as any brush or chisel.

 

Ideas that are born out of ignorance, or which have been flippantly hatched, are invariably weak and most often useless. But those conceived on the basis of real knowledge, inspired by a genuine passion, are much more likely to have plausibility and substance.

 

Collaboration can lead to unexpected, or otherwise unobtainable, discoveries.

 

… creativity is the presentation of pre-existing elements and ideas filtered through the perceptions and feelings of an individual.

 

You have to imitate before you can emulate.

 

Look at the early work of any artist and you will see an impersonator yet to find his or her own voice.

 

There is no such thing as a wholly original idea. But there is such a thing as unique combinations.

 

Creativity isn’t about what somebody else thinks; it is about what you think.

 

Questioning does not make creativity more difficult. Rather it brings clarity and brevity and purity to our ideas.

 

Our unique way of seeing leads to the choice we make, which differentiates our work from everybody else’s. Our point of view is our signature. 

 

… in the creativity game you are not a really player unless you have something to say. 

 

… everyday life can become a potential source of creative stimulation. 

 

If we want our ideas to be seen and heard it is essential we have a point of view and something to say. 

 

Psychological courage is needed to stand up and express your feelings and ideas in public. 

 

Michelangelo decided that if the commission was going to be seen as a failure, he might as well fail spectacularly. 

(Credit: Think Like an Artist: How to Live a Happier, Smarter, More Creative Life by Will Gompertz)

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