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Early last year, when Abby and I were still exploring what CIA could be, I asked some of my Facebook friends if they knew of any business-related book groups. I was surprised to see how many people wrote back, “no, but I’d be really into that!” I was glad I wasn’t the only one. I like reading business books, but I have to admit it takes discipline. I’m much more likely to stick with it and absorb it if I have someone with whom I can discuss the concepts. And if other people are reading at the same time, even better.

I’m therefore really excited to introduce our very first CIA members-only book group. This is a one-time group read-along and discussion–you don’t have to commit to a monthly club or anything beyond this one title. By joining the group, you’re simply agreeing to read the book, Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, and discuss it with other members.

We’ve asked Rossie Hutchinson to moderate this group. Rossie has a PhD in Communication and taught for 10 years at the University of Michigan. I heard Rossie talk about Steal Like an Artist during a great lecture she gave on copyright at QuiltCon. These days she makes her living from blogging, designing quilts, teaching improv quilting, and selling dye supplies. She is a very talented quilter, instructor, and lecturer, so we’re thrilled she’ll be leading our first book group. You can read more about Rossie on her website.

Steal Like an Artist description from the publisher:

You don’t need to be a genius, you just need to be yourself. That’s the message from Austin Kleon, a young writer and artist who knows that creativity is everywhere, creativity is for everyone. A manifesto for the digital age, Steal Like an Artist is a guide whose positive message, graphic look and illustrations, exercises, and examples will put readers directly in touch with their artistic side.

When Mr. Kleon was asked to address college students in upstate New York, he shaped his speech around the ten things he wished someone had told him when he was starting out. The talk went viral, and its author dug deeper into his own ideas to create Steal Like an Artist, the book. The result is inspiring, hip, original, practical, and entertaining. And filled with new truths about creativity: Nothing is original, so embrace influence, collect ideas, and remix and re-imagine to discover your own path. Follow your interests wherever they take you. Stay smart, stay out of debt, and risk being boring—the creative you will need to make room to be wild and daring in your imagination.

Group description from Rossie:

We’re going to discuss one of my favorite books, Steal like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative, By Austin Kleon. This is a book filled with solid advice for cutting past visual and emotional clutter and just doing your work. There’s also some truly great ideas on how to be inspired by others without unfairly copying their art. This is a book that I treasure and have read and reread since I first found it. I’m so looking forward to discussing it with those who join the group!

Any CIA member is welcome to join the book group for Steal Like An Artist, but you need to join the group before the discussion starts!

Our schedule: We will start our discussion on Sunday afternoons in our group! Of course, people can come by any time to read and chat, but if we show up live on Sunday afternoons, that’d give us a great chance to engage with each other.
New discussions start on January 3rd, 10th, 17th, and 24th. We will have a big wrap-up on January 31st!

Here are the topics for each week:

January 3rd
“Some advice can be a vice.”
Kleon writes it himself that we should take from the book what is good and useful to us and leave behind what doesn’t work for us.
Let’s show up ready to share our favorite concepts or quotes from the book. What made you nod with approval, “I know this to be true!” And what made you smile with gratitude, “I needed to hear this.”
On the flipside, what concepts and quotes left you cold? What made you think, “It’s not helpful for me to think that way.” Or, “This just won’t work for me.”

We’re going to engage respectfully with each other and the book. This topic gives us the opportunity to share even if we’ve only just begun the book; and we can begin to talk about our reactions to Kleon’s ideas.

January 10th
“Good Theft / Bad Theft”
How can we be inspired by others’ work without copying them? What ideas belong to everybody and what’s untouchable?

In this week’s discussion, we’ll work through Kleon’s argument about what kind of “theft” is good, respectful, and celebratory and what kind of “theft” is bad, immoral, and defeating.

January 17th
“Awesome anecdotes”
Do you have a story that would help illustrate on of Kleon’s points? Dust off your own story-telling skills and write it out! We may even declare a winning story and figure out some kind of prize.

January 24th
“Deleted Scenes”
Let’s take a moment to consider what Kleon almost wrote, but didn’t. Consider the notecards depicted at the end of the book. Which idea do you want to delve into? I’m personally quite intrigured by, “quilting vs. weaving.”
This is also your week to bring out ideas not already discussed that you are dying to dig into.

January 31st
“Wrap up”
Let’s wrap up and chit chat!

Order your copy of Steal Like an Artist or put it on your holiday wishlist and join us in January for a group discussion about this simple, yet thought-provoking book about creativity and the derivative nature of inspiration. Click here to join the members-only group.

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