Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age

by: Jeff Goins (0)

Have you heard it said that creatives should wait for inspiration? How about the one that says it's selling out if an artist strategizes to profit off of their work? Or that a true artist works alone? In Real Artists Don't Starve, author and creativity expert Jeff Goins has set out to replace these false narratives and replace them with timeless strategies for thriving as a creative and debunking the myth of the starving artist. From graphic designers and writers to artists and business professionals, creatives already know that no one is born an artist. Instead, those who have entered a creative field have already utilized the imagination in fundamental ways in order to accomplish what they have thus far. And contrary to popular myth, Goins believes their artistic temperament has actually given them a competitive advantage in the marketplace.Through inspiring anecdotes of successful creatives both past and present, Goins explores the tension every creative person and organization faces in an effort to blend the inspired life with a practical path to success. Being creative isn't a disadvantage for success; rather, it is a powerful tool to be harnessed.

The Reviews

Jeff is a very likable guy. His writing, though, is pedestrian. He's neither a writer nor an artist. He is an author by virtue of having been published. Jeff is actually a most effective marketer of which the book is a prime example. "Real Artists . . ." reads like an extremely elongated sales page letter. His stories from history are tendentious and the details are only selectively accurate. Statistically, real artists have mostly lived in a state of economic want. A few stories to the contrary do not change the facts of history. The book was tortuous to read. It strongly reinforces the aphorism that no one ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American people.

Real Artists Don't Starve is a feel good book of anecdotes and research about artists of all stripes who have come to a point where they can make a living. It is not so much about the practical aspects (such as how to do it within specific industries or avenues to pursue) as it is anecdotal and inspirational.If you have read more than a few books/blogs about being an artist and making a living, particularly those of a more inspirational bent, you won't really find anything new here.Despite that, the way that the stories are told is nicely done. I enjoyed it and found it a light and quick read and will probably read it again at some point. It's one of those books that's better suited to someone who needs encouragement rather than practical instructions.

The aim of this book is to dispel the myth that real artists have to suffer for their art, to starve and emerge ennobled by the experience with some damn fine, pure art that will serve as a beautiful headstone to put on their early grave. Goins paints a compelling picture that through the ages the most successful artists - from Michelangelo to Elvis - haven't starved (obviously by definition - they were successful) and he identifies 12 principles the starving artist doesn't employ, that the thriving artist does.The 12 points, which he lists in the introduction, are:1. The starving artist believes you must be born an artist. The thriving artist knows you must become one.2. The starving artist strives to be original. The thriving artist steals from his influences.3. The starving artist believes he has enough talent. The thriving artist apprentices under a master.4. The starving artist is stubborn about everything. The thriving artist is stubborn about the right things.5. The starving artist waits to be noticed. The thriving artist cultivates patrons.6. The starving artist believes he can be creative anywhere. The thriving artist goes where creative work is already happening.7. The starving artist always works alone. The thriving artist collaborates with others.8. The starving artist does his work in private. The thriving artist practices in public.9. The starving artist works for free. The thriving artist always works for something.10. The starving artist sells out too soon. The thriving artist owns his own work.11. The starving artist masters one craft. The thriving artist masters many.12. The starving artist despises the need for money. The thriving artist makes money to make art.Each point then becomes a chapter that Goins fills with anecdotes to prove his case with Michelangelo as the archetype of the thriving artist. My only criticism of the book is you could say Goins is guilty of cherry picking examples to suit his argument, none of us are Michelangelo after all, but that would be missing the point, which is that good art and commerce co-exist and always have. The principles and examples he develops are good, and after finishing the book today, I can say it maps out a course worth following for any creative type who wants to do good work, as I hope to do, well into a ripe old age.

For anyone who is just discovering they have a creative passion to explore, this might be inspiring and informative. For those who have any experience in being a creative, it's a long and drawn out explaination of some principles that range from common sense to potentially eye opening. I think it would have been much better as a shorter 'steal like an artist' type handbook. The anecdotes were interesting but they weren't distilled down to their main points. The whole thing felt too long for what it is, it felt thinly spread. I found myself skipping through page after page to get the jist because it felt like there was a lot of filler. Genuinely wanted to like it, three stars for effort and acknowledgement that maybe I (a professional musician and artist manager) am not the target market. I couldn't get through it, read the first few chapters to completion and grew tired of the writing style causing me to flip through the rest. Advice to author is to work on saying what you want to say in less words and take the good that's sprinkled throughout this book and concentrate it down to be great. Overall, I walked away feeling this was an attempt at something the author didn't know because it wasn't said with clear succinct words, instead with filler and motivational speech.P.S. interesting marketing campaign, kudos on that

An epic page turning legend which will be on people's bookshelf for a life time. People will want to throw it at those who said, "you'll starve"! It sets the truth straight.When I first read the title, Real Artists Don't Starve (RADS), I automatically became defensive. Here's a book that's going to tell me what a "real" artist is and once again, I'll be labeled as "I am not a 'real' artist". You see, I was told after I graduated high school not to major in art because I wouldn't make any money, "I'd starve". So when I read the title it automatically triggered the moment I was told "no". Because in that first ever "no", in my mind labeled me as "not a real artist". If I couldn't make money at it. Then I wasn't good enough. Good enough to be "a real artist"!Now, I am a few steps ahead of Jeff in my creative process, only by years. I realize everything he states in RADS to be absolute truth. The amount of time, research and thought put in this masterpiece will be the knitting tool for a close knit community where all will be honored as creatives. No matter your creative process; a softball coach, physical therapist, sales person, entrepreneur, lunch lady, music teacher, photographer, dishwasher, yard guy, writer etc. All together we will be held in strength and courage carrying on to the next level of our creative journey. It's great to know I don't walk alone under such a myth having been told, "you'll starve"!Thanks to Jeff for the time put in this project. I shall not, I will not strive any further. I will thrive. Reading Real Artists Don't Starve has brought such clarity. It reminded me I am not hungry. I am an actual thriving artist.It helped me realize I am not being salesy by asking others to buy my works of art. That failing at book sales from last years self-published book, Under Contract: Life in the Middle of Dreams (which has a similar message in it as RADS but in a fictional verse novel way), release was not because it wasn't good. Rather I wasn't creating enough market hiding in hunger.After reading RADS the little apple on the front of the book makes me think of apple products, computers, phones etc. Steve Jobs. Jeff Goins is the Steve Jobs of this creative generation. An influential leader guiding so many towards success. Giving us the courage to stand up to our passions cultivating a realization we are all creatives waiting to be molded each step of the way, each season of life. By putting one foot in front of the other working in ways we were once told not to.Jeff is the king of creatives like Elvis is the king of rocking roll. I don't say that to worship Jeff because I don't worship idols. But I do celebrate those who are an instrument of the kingdom. And that my friends is what Jeff is an motivational influential leader instrumenting a reminder, through RADS, we all have something for the world. The world needs us! We were all created by the creator Himself, of course we are creatives. Stay shiny!

This is a good book to get you into the mindset of making money and eventually earning a living as a creative. Jeff Goins does a good job of poking holes in that persistent myth of the starving artist, and shows again and again why this is harmful, and that artists can thrive instead. The focus of the book is strategic more than tactical, so there are no prescriptions for specific things to do to make that happen--your path is as individual as you are--but there are dozens of case studies that provide endless examples of things you can do. Overall an important read for those creatives who'd like to earn a living from their art, but not a silver bullet.

Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
⭐ 4.6 💛 727
kindle: $10.99
paperback: $3.98
hardcover: $2.02
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