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 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!


Copyright © 2013 by Dan Nielsen, Founder

National Institute for Healthcare Leadership  –

America’s Healthcare Leaders  –

Dan Nielsen Company –

Cell 214-695-1292

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