Nothing Is Truly Original: What Nobody Told You About Being Creative

Bob Chrampanis, my wonderful friend who flies his boss around the USA in a 40 million dollar private jet, and who reads even more books than I do, gave me a great book tip recently.


Captain Bob, as we call him, walked into “our” Starbucks recently, and greeted me saying, “Dan, I’ve got a book for you.”  Captain Bob knows that I love to read, study and learn, and he knows that I’m always looking for new great books to stimulate my thinking and from which to learn, teach, improve and enjoy.


The book’s title, which is obviously designed to differentiate and gain attention in the extremely crowded world of books and publishing, caught me a bit off guard… exactly what it was designed to do.


The title is “Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative.” Without question, every leader who truly desires to continue to grow and improve can benefit from studying and thinking creatively about the concepts and advice within this book.


The premise of this thought-provoking and reenergizing book is not new. However, it is written and presented in a way and style which causes the serious reader to think, rethink, examine and reexamine the critical importance of not only learning from others and their work, but intentionally and consistently (and appropriately) using, building upon, (the author uses the word stealing for emphasis) the work of our colleagues across the world and all those who came before us.


The premise is that nothing is truly original; we all build on the work, knowledge, wisdom and accomplishments of others.


Just a few quotations from the book include:


  • “Art is theft.” – Pablo Picasso


  • “Every artist gets asked the question, ‘Where do you get your ideas?’ The honest artist answers, ‘I steal them.’”


  • “The only art I’ll ever study is stuff that I can steal from.” – David Bowie


  • “The writer Jonathan Lethem has said that when people call something ‘original,’ nine out of ten times they just don’t know the references or the original sources involved.”


  • “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original.”


  • “It’s right there in the Bible: ‘There is nothing new under the sun.’ (Ecclesiastes 1:9)”


  • “As the French Writer André Gide put it, ‘Everything that needs to be said has already been said. But, since nobody was listening, everything must be said again.’”


  • “What is originality? Undetected plagiarism.” – William Ralph Inge


If you are serious about improving your leadership, acquire, read and study this book. If you’re not serious about improving your leadership, delete this article and blissfully move on…


And thank you Captain Bob. Your influence has made me a better leader, a better writer, a better teacher, a better person!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
no comments
Add a comment...

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

Featured posts


“Dan Nielsen is a gifted facilitator and inspiring presenter. He truly has a passion for leadership and for getting to the heart of the matter. He knows what it takes to motivate both individuals and groups and genuinely leads by the example he sets.”

Sharla K JonesVP, HR Learning & Development Manager, PlainsCapital Bank


“Dan is the ultimate professional. He has exceptional relationship development and group facilitation skills. He is a keen observer and is able to offer accurate insights into business relationships.”

- Brenda Moon, Vice President Client Executive, MedAssets


“Dan is a forward thinking leader who is optimistic, collaborative and open to change. He is trusted and respected by colleagues. His speaking style is enthusiastic, confident and engaging. You know that a successful outcome will be delivered when Dan is leading the way.”

- Rick Provencher, Director Member Solutions, Amerinet


“Dan is a great communicator and inspirational speaker. His message is positive and always very motivating. I recommend Dan to help any organization optimize their employees' potential.”

- John Penhollow, Director of Corporate Accounts, Medical Action Industriesi


“Dan is a gifted leader who has the extraordinary ability to develop a strategic vision and mobilize an organization to achieve it. He operates with great integrity and character. Dan completely understands business dynamics and utilizes that understanding to optimize exceptional leadership.”

- Stacy Shillan, IV Infusion & Respiratory Services, Walgreens


“Dan has a passion for leadership and for providing the tools for others to become effective, insightful leaders.”

- Linda DeWolf, Founder, Travel Well


More Testimonials>>