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

Fan Club Reviews of best titles on art fashion, artists, history, photography. Check out our top reviews and see what others have to say about the best art and photography books of the year. Check out Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age Community Reviews - Find out where to download Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age available in multiple formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle,Audible Audiobook,MP3 CD,Digital Real Artists Don't Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age Author:Jeff Goins Formats:Paperback,Hardcover,Kindle,Audible Audiobook,MP3 CD,Digital Publication Date:May 29, 2018


Bestselling author and creativity
expert Jeff Goins dismantles the myth that being creative is a hindrance
to success by revealing how an artistic temperament is in fact a
competitive advantage in the marketplace.

class="p1">The Starving Artist Is a
Myth

We’ve heard
it a thousand times: There’s no money in art. It’s too
risky. You’ll starve. So, we end up chasing more
stable careers. We become lawyers and doctors and bankers instead of
poets and filmmakers and painters. We settle. And in the end our best
work suffers.

The truth is we
do not have to choose between a creative life and a prosperous one. In
fact, many of history’s most creative minds—from
Michelangelo to Shakespeare to Steve
Jobs—succeeded not because they succumbed to
the myth of the starving artist but precisely because they
didn’t.

Today we live in a
New Renaissance, an era of unprecedented opportunity in which you can
share your creative work without fear of suffering or starving. Drawing
lessons from the likes of Jim Henson, C. S. Lewis, Dr. Dre, and many
others, bestselling author and entrepreneur Jeff Goins invites us to
drop the myths, worries, and flat-out lies that have been drilled into
us our entire lives and instead reveals an empowering truth: Real
artists don’t starve. They THRIVE.


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

2

June 28, 2017

Great Marketers Don't Starve
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.
4

June 9, 2017

Real Artists Don't Starve is a feel good book of anecdotes and research about artists of all ...
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.
3

June 22, 2017

Honestly..
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
1

October 12, 2017

Poorly Written Clichés
In this book, Jeff Goins offers twelve principles that set apart the "starving artist" from the "thriving artist." Some of the principles might be helpful, but the book isn't worth most people's time.

Each chapter follows the same pattern: cliché, story, redundancy, cliché, story, redundancy, and so on. There's very little substance. I have a feeling that the book started out as twelve 750-word blog posts, and he kept padding and repeating himself until he reached the size that the publisher wanted.

His book attacks the "myth of the starving artist"—a myth which he claims has harmed the careers of many creative people. He's right that the idea of the starving artist needs to go, but his book doesn't do much to alleviate us of the problem. He vigorously attacks this one cliché with a legion of other clichés. The book contains empty platitudes that encourage you to make your art and get paid for it. However, he never instructs the reader as to how they might bring that about. Let me give you the summary of every chapter: "You can do it! Here's a story about Steve Jobs! If he did it, then so can you!" The book might inspire some people, but there's very little actionable content.

Not only is the book shallow, but it's also poorly written. I've already mentioned that the book contains nothing but redundancy and little stories, but even the little stories don't work. He makes a point, and then he tells a little story about someone famous and pretends that the story illustrates his point. Sometimes he tendentiously tries to make the story fit, and sometimes he just leaves the story there without even trying to explain how it fits. Here's an example, and it's not even one of the worst: real artist steal from their influences, and the proof is that Jim Henson stole his Muppets idea—his mother had a sense of humor and his grandmother knew how to sew, see? Theft! Muppets are funny and sewn!

Goins also desperately needs a copy editor. His writing mechanics are pretty poor. Some sentences have such loose syntax that you'll have to reread them to figure out what he's saying. He also misuses words in a number of passages, and he doesn't understand how apostrophes work when denoting that something belongs to two people. The sloppy writing complements the sloppy thinking. There's no indication that Goins took time with his prose or wrestled with his ideas.

I'm glad that Goins gets to be a writer because he sounds like he enjoys being a writer. But his career so far has been nothing but writing about the fact that he writes for a living. Goins is a mediocre writer, but he's an excellent marketer. If you want to learn how to sell your ideas, then you should pay attention to how Goins goes about selling. He's good at selling. Go to his website and social media pages to see his method in action. This book, however, doesn't teach you that method. It doesn't teach much of anything.
5

July 8, 2017

Good business and good art can co-exist
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.
3

Jun 27, 2017

This book is useful because it helps highlight many preconceptions that people might have about what an artist is - and "artist" is used in a very general sense.

That being said, the book tends to have a lot of hot air. Don't work alone (except the people who worked alone). Find a scene. Make money from your art so you can make more money. People need a patron - OR *be your own patron*. It's a slim book, but it feels fluffed out even so.

Worth a skim, but not a must have.

4

Jun 21, 2017

Real Artists May Not Starve, but They May Not Get Rich

Allowing yourself the freedom to be a creative artist is something everyone should feel free to enjoy. This book offers strategies for how to get there. I completely agree with the ideas of learning your craft, being prudent and disciplined, working with others, stealing from the masters, and using old ideas in creative ways. However, I think the book is a little too much like a call to salvation. Some people will try all the suggestions and Real Artists May Not Starve, but They May Not Get Rich

Allowing yourself the freedom to be a creative artist is something everyone should feel free to enjoy. This book offers strategies for how to get there. I completely agree with the ideas of learning your craft, being prudent and disciplined, working with others, stealing from the masters, and using old ideas in creative ways. However, I think the book is a little too much like a call to salvation. Some people will try all the suggestions and will still come up short, Unless they keep their day job, they may well starve.

There are more avenues than ever to get your creative product before the public: write a blog, publish your novel with Amazon, or Scribid, join a critique group, convince people in your area to give a book signing, talk a local gallery into hanging you paintings. The list goes on. However, a word of caution. No matter how hard you work, you may not become the next Michelangelo, or John Grisham. Some ideas catch hold and propel the artist to fame and fortune, others give satisfaction to the artist, but don’t pay the bills.

This is a book worth reading. The advice is good. If you want to be an artist, read the book and take the lessons to heart. However, a word of caution: make your goal to satisfy yourself. Creativity is about more than making money. Get your work before the public, enjoy the journey, but don’t expect to amass millions, it happens to a very few.

I received this book from Booklook Blogger for this review. ...more
1

October 9, 2017

Shallow & Writing Style Irked Me
This is the second book I have read on the topic of earning income for making art. One of my art professors suggested we read Art/Work this semester which is being expanded and released next week. Last week I finished reading What They Didn’t Teach You in Art School by artists Davis & Tilley. I had never heard of Jeff Goins.

Real artists is a very fast and easy read, I read it over four days. The writing style is colloquial and the vocabulary is simplistic. The book is filled with fluff and I personally do not like the writing style and formula which is used. I am used to reading a lot of nonfiction books and I am willing to read through dry or long books if it is my only source of important information. I am not used to reading books like this. Part of the problem I think also is that I have read some of the original books which are quoted here. The shallow information given is not enough for me and since I know some more of these topics from the original source I feel this is superficial.

The book opens with a story about Michelangelo revealing that he was known to have lived a life of poverty but in fact he was the equivalent of a multimillionaire in today’s dollars. He was a miser. Michelangelo was paid well for his work and the base argument in this book is that artist deserve to get paid. Using the Michelangelo story spread throughout the book as the spine, the Author intersperses success stories going back from Shakespeare to modern day hip-hop artists, Pixar, Steve Jobs, Michael Jackson, and George Lucas to name a few. Within each chapter Goins dips into one story, changes topic to someone else’s story, dips back to the first story, mentions Michelangelo again, then circles around with very short passages from different peoples lives and stories to illustrate his point. I found this an irritating style for me to read. I am used to more substance and getting deeper into a topic.The style of writing reminded me of the sermons of Joel Osteen compared to other sermons that have a deeper Bible teaching wuth some analysis while also relating the ancient passages to modern day applications.

There are 12 points that Goins has created. After briefly introducing the 12 points in the introduction there is one chapter per belief or recommendation to explain and expand on it. These chapters reminded me like the mini talks given at a TED-X presentation. I personally don’t agree with all of his advice and I do not like the way he discusses stealing from others. He also contradicts himself sometimes in the book. He says don’t be a master at something and then another. He says you should be a master.

The examples in the book are not all visual artists, if thst is what you are looking for. By artists he discusses and references actors, musicians, music producers, film producers, dance choreographer, book authors, photographer, powder, web designer, animator, cartoonist, and some painters and entrepreneurs. Some of these people have a day job in sm unrelated field or work in the industry but don’t actually create creative works. He praises commercial art and daily items such as useful pottery, this book does not emphasize doing fine art. Oddly relating to making art works he never mentions the commercial side such as working in graphic design or being an illustrator.

I will give Goins credit for doing what he recommends that we do. In his research about topics he cares about for his own goals: wanting to be a musician, wanting to be a published author, wanting to work for himself as an entrepreneur —
1

June 28, 2017

Extremely Boring Book. Don't waste your money.
I bought this book at Christianbook.com on June 2. I am extremely disappointed in it and will not buy another book by Jeff Goins again. There are so many boring stories in it that go on, seemingly endlessly.. Some very serious editing is needed. A few interesting stories mixed in, but nowhere near worth the price of the book. Jeff, it seems, thinks that putting in a lot of extra words makes a book, and him a writer. So much repetition. Not enough editing. Found much of it tedious and irritating, and skipped many pages of material throughout the book, and even a few chapters because of that. At 231 pages it was at least twice as long as it could have been if all the repetition and some of the boring material had been cut out. As far as I'm concerned, there wasn't much useful material in this book. One of the most boring books I have ever read.
5

Jul 02, 2019

This is a truly fantastic book.

Goins expertly understands not only what it takes to succeed as a creative-minded individual in the ever-morphing digital age but also how to motivate people to pursue that path. This book left me with a lot to think about regarding practices I could better adopt as a writer to better pursue a sustainable career on that front, and also refreshed my mindset on how I ought to be pursuing this path.

I'm going to have to re-read this book on a regular basis.

Highly This is a truly fantastic book.

Goins expertly understands not only what it takes to succeed as a creative-minded individual in the ever-morphing digital age but also how to motivate people to pursue that path. This book left me with a lot to think about regarding practices I could better adopt as a writer to better pursue a sustainable career on that front, and also refreshed my mindset on how I ought to be pursuing this path.

I'm going to have to re-read this book on a regular basis.

Highly recommended.

Rating: 4.5 Stars (Excellent). ...more
4

Jun 26, 2017

Is the starving artist path the only accepted way in our society for an artist?

Jeff Goins answers that question in his latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve (Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age). The starving artist mythos has been accepted by our culture and Goins has come up with twelve practical principles to show that an artist does not have to starve in making a living from their art.

The book is twelve chapters long with each chapter focused on a principle for the Is the starving artist path the only accepted way in our society for an artist?

Jeff Goins answers that question in his latest book, Real Artists Don’t Starve (Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age). The starving artist mythos has been accepted by our culture and Goins has come up with twelve practical principles to show that an artist does not have to starve in making a living from their art.

The book is twelve chapters long with each chapter focused on a principle for the Thriving Artist. The principles 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 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.

Goins provides example of each Thriving Artist Principle from diverse artists like Michelangelo to Picasso to Elvis Presley to John Grisham to Dr. Dre. Real Artists Don’t Starve is a book that blows up the Starving Artist persona and its something all artists should keep a reference guide on their bookshelf.

I will admit that I disagreed with Principle 11 about the Starving Artist masters one craft and the Thriving Artist masters many. I understood the author’s perspective of an artist not being so focused one discipline to the detriment of the myriad of skills needed to make a living from one’s art. However, I found the Michael Jackson example of buying the Beatles catalog somewhat false because the singer’s business savvy and opportunistic nature did not take away from his craft of the being one of the best entertainers to have ever done it. I believe artistic geniuses master one craft and being a jack-of-all-trades does not fully bring out artistic genius.

Despite that disagreement, I totally enjoyed Real Artists Don’t Starve will recommended it for all artists who want learn some timeless principles on how to make a living from their art. I wrote in my review of Elizabeth Hyde Stevens’ Make Art Make Money that it would be my most important read of 2017. Well, I will add Real Artists Don’t Starve to that list. ...more
3

June 27, 2018

High value for struggling creatives
I wanted to like this book better than I did. I follow Jeff Goins—I like and respect him greatly as a person and a professional. Some of his shorter-form writing has been, for me, transformational. But this one didn’t land as solidly, and I found myself getting bogged down in details that might not have been necessary to get his message across. I thought it needed some editorial pruning.

Jeff’s message is important: today’s tools and resources provide an environment in which creatives with the right mindset and skillset can support themselves without compromising their dedication or passion. It’s time to ditch the mindset of the “starving artist,” and Jeff outlines 12 ways an artist must shift his/her perspective. I endorse this wholeheartedly and appreciate not only his message but the many stories from history and living creatives to support his message. He did an impressive amount of research.

This is a big-picture approach, not a how-to manual, but without the big picture, you can’t work out the details, so it has great value. To be fair, I’m not his target audience for this book, and it received rave reviews from many readers who loved it. If you’re struggling to make a living with your art, this may be the book to change your life for the better.
5

June 29, 2017

This is not just a great book to read
Just finished reading the book for the first time. I plan to read again, this time marking it up. This is not just a great book to read, but it provides a lot of great ideas for doing the work that one wishes or wants to do. It's not about sticking to one chosen career field for life, but rather pursuing the things that we truly enjoy and/or find valuable for others or the world. I'm nearing 40, and would like to write some books in the future. I do think the book provides ideas that are helpful in this area: This book provides a lot of inspirational stories, and some principles, for succeeding in a creative venture. It's not specifically about writing, painting, or entrepreneurship, but it touches on all of these things by looking at "creativity" through a broad lens. Stylistically, I felt like the book was kind of set up like a Malcolm Gladwell book just because there's a lot of storytelling and reporting on interviews and the like.
1

September 22, 2017

Simple Stuff
Pretty simple stuff if you've read a lot of self-help or success type books. I enjoyed "You are a Writer" much more than this.
2

August 21, 2018

should probably be called real craftsmen don't starve
unfortunately he's blending artists and craftsmen, both valid paths, very different, some rehashes of Pressfield and Kleon, and like other 'gurus' he hasn't walked the walk. people who can't do teach, rough saying, but too often true. its why books like 'on writing ' by king are so valuable, bradbury's zen in the art of writing, and i heard dean koontz is working on a memoir. the source is important. unfortunately the next generation is being taught by people that just read those books :(
3

Jun 17, 2017

I gleaned some useful thoughts from this book, though I didn't necessarily find every chapter or line a revelation. I appreciated the big-picture concept of the book—that the bohemian-style Starving Artist is more of a romantic myth than a fact of life, and that artists don't have to live that way if they pursue their art and manage their lives intelligently—and found the illustrations from the life of Michelangelo strung through the book as the main case study quite interesting.

I didn't agree I gleaned some useful thoughts from this book, though I didn't necessarily find every chapter or line a revelation. I appreciated the big-picture concept of the book—that the bohemian-style Starving Artist is more of a romantic myth than a fact of life, and that artists don't have to live that way if they pursue their art and manage their lives intelligently—and found the illustrations from the life of Michelangelo strung through the book as the main case study quite interesting.

I didn't agree with every single point Goins makes. For instance, he places a lot of emphasis on the concept that artists are made rather than born. While many of the things he stresses as vital to success in art—practicing diligently and honing your craft, studying under masters, etc.—are entirely legitimate and important, the matter of natural gifts and talents is brushed over briefly with a token acknowledgement, and I think that can create a bit of misconception. I think perhaps the "you don't have to be born an artist" concept could be better expressed as "you don't have to be raised an artist"—i.e. that it's possible to change careers and follow the pursuits you really love even if you didn't start out that way from the beginning, which seems to be the idea Goins is trying to get across anyway. After all, if it wasn't for a natural gift and bent, the people whose stories he uses as examples—the major-league baseball player who walked away from sports because he wanted to write even more, the lawyer who switched careers to become an actress—wouldn't have felt that pull and desire for the work that they really wanted.

The chapters on drawing inspiration from other sources and sharing your work didn't really introduce any new concepts for me, as I think this ground has been already covered and covered better in Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work!. I think the part of the book I appreciated most was the third section on the business and money-managing side of the artist's life. I do think, though, that many of Goins' suggestions are more suited to visual and performing arts, like painting, music, acting and so forth, rather than writing. Some of the ideas can be adapted to a writing career, of course, but they don't always fit perfectly. For example, for a fiction writer it's a little hard to reconcile the concept of "practice in public" with "don't give your work away for free." ...more
2

September 4, 2018

An unfortunate miss to me as an artist
I listened to this on audible and wish I cancelled. There were some good points made that an experienced artist would already know but I don't get the feeling the author was more than a theoretical academic artist of some type. Honestly I haven't even finished the last couple chapters. It wasn't clear where the ramblings are going but contained a lot of there and impracticality. Suggestions at being a master at so many disciplines isn't practical, realistic or makes much sense. The common sense points were obvious. No "Aha" moments. Perhaps the pain and sacrifice of an artists grasp for a book with this title is internally hoping to be rescued instead of only restating realities. This did a little more of the later. It was uninspiring to me and didn't seem personally authentic although intelligently written from an arms length. The reader was also "distant" from the material. BUT as art is, it all doesn't appeal to everyone. It may to you. It is not absent of work or effort. There is NO blueprint for being a successful artist, the quicker you come to that realization the sooner you are aware of your challenge. The author talks about astronaut Alan Bean turning artist, but Alan Bean is another artist taking advantage of his celebrity. Would he have been a successful artist without landing on the moon? May he even asks that of himself, but the point is there is no blueprint and he used whatever he could, his position, moon dust, tools and even boot footprints in his work. You USE whatever you have and whatever path will get you "there" fueled by your own passion, energy and desire. Other successful artists will be inspirational, I know several, but even most of them will tell you the same. There is no path that will guarantee you success. If you are successful, it will be a path that is only recordable by looking back.
5

Jul 08, 2017

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 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.

Signup for my monthly book newsletter and download my starter library for free here - http://eepurl.com/bFkt0X ...more
4

Jun 17, 2017


[Note: This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishing. All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

A good lesson from this book is that real douchebags shouldn't write books. Generally speaking, it is not wise for someone to insult their targeted audience--in this case creative types--and this author demonstrates throughout this book that while he has some good points to make that he needs a bit more finishing at charm school before he is ready for the big time as a writer
[Note:  This book was provided free of charge by BookLook/Thomas Nelson Publishing.  All thoughts and opinions are my own.]

A good lesson from this book is that real douchebags shouldn't write books.  Generally speaking, it is not wise for someone to insult their targeted audience--in this case creative types--and this author demonstrates throughout this book that while he has some good points to make that he needs a bit more finishing at charm school before he is ready for the big time as a writer about the relationship between art and commerce [1].  After having read this book, I feel somewhat torn between wanting to rip into the author's total lack of empathy and understanding and his dodgy theology of the relationship of art and suffering and giving him well-deserved praise for seeking to provide a model by which artists can thrive in creating work that not only nourishes the spirit but gives encouragement to others and also serves for the benefit of the artist, so I suppose I will do a bit of both.  This is a book that has a lot to offer, if a reader can get beyond the snarky tone and relentless sales pitch of the author's approach.  Rarely has so much useful content been put in such an unpleasant and unpalatable context.

The slightly more than two-hundred pages of this book are divided into three parts.  The first part looks at the mind-set of a successful artist--knowing that it requires a great deal of effort, that it involves the appropriation and internalization of influences, that it can best be done through apprenticeship with masters, and that stubbornness has to be properly harnessed and disciplined.  The second part of the book is a look at the market for creative people, encouraging artists to cultivate patrons, join a scene, collaborate others, and practice in public (bloggers get special mention and praise here).  The third part of the book encourages artists to avoid and refuse working for free, own their own work, diversify their portfolio by acquiring many skills and developing a variety of interests, and making money in order to make art.  The book ends with an altar call of sorts for artists to join a "new renaissance" that seeks to provide a greater deal of financial security for creative people similar to the way that Renaissance artists plundered the artistic wealth of the Greco-Roman world in order to blaze a trail for greater honor and wealth for themselves.

There is a good deal to praise about this book.  The discussion is immensely practical, the revisionist history about artists and how they came to prominence through a combination of skill and opportunity is useful, and the narrative of thriving is a worthwhile counterbalance to the prevailing narrative of suffering artistry.  Nevertheless, the book itself has a certain smugness of attitude that proclaims that if an artist is suffering than they are doing something wrong, an attitude that smacks of the bad theology of Job's friends or of the prosperity gospel.  One can agree with the idea that acting appropriately and wisely ought to generally lead to thriving without taking that idea to extremes, and this author has an unfortunate tendency to get carried away by his rhetoric and led into extreme positions that are unsound even if they work as general rules.  Ultimately, for someone to avoid being led into extremes, they have to treat this book as a useful and practical guide to success at art that encourages caution and prudence, rather than listening to the overheated rhetoric of the title and occasional snarky comments of the author.  This is a book to be read, but to be read with discernment rather than uncritically.

[1] See, for example:

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2016...

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014...

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012...

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2012...

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2017...

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2014...

https://edgeinducedcohesion.blog/2015... ...more
1

May 11, 2018

Boring, repetitive and sexist.
Boring, repetitive and sexist.
"Is there anything worse for an adolescent boy to be called a girl?" I don't Jeff, is there?
2

August 2, 2017

I was expecting more of a book I could relate ...
I was expecting more of a book I could relate to than this one is. I didn't finish it.
3

October 29, 2017

Good ideas; good for thse starting out
I had rather mixed reactions to this book. On the one hand, the subject matter is obviously very important to many aspiring artists in various fields as they attempt to make a living doing something they love and sharing it with the world. Author Jeff Goins offers encouragement and inspiration to those starting out or perhaps switching careers. The tone of the book is written in a conversational and accessible style. There is lots of good, useful advice that could be delightfully freeing to those who feel insecure with their work. I especially appreciate Goins's ideas about learning from other artists, collaborating with other artists, and taking steps to become connnected to a community of atrists, prospective patrons, etc....also some interesting thoughts about money and investing in oneself. I found it intriguing that in researching for this book, Goins interviewed large numbers of fascinating people from all different fields related to the arts, in addition to reading from a huge number of sources. He offers free downloads and lists of sources at his website.

All that being said, as someone who has made a living in the artists for many years, I was a bit disturbed by some perhaps minor aspects of the book: first, main points are driven home through sometimes an excess of repetition, which can slow the pace of reading. Also, when the author addresses the reader as "you" with suggestions, the tone can become a bit grandiose and preachy. I found it odd to segue from anecdotes about the work of great artists like Michelangelo to stories about CEO's and pop artists. Last, some of the ideas promoted are so familiar in self-help books as to come across as platitudes.

Still, this book will appeal to people who are getting up the courage to go out on a limb to give something special the world, and that is laudable.
Recommended to those who have the courage to take their talent seriously, the gumption to work hard at it, and the wisdom to use the most substantial ideas in this book to their greatest advantage.
1

Sep 08, 2018

About a month ago, Real Artists Don't Starve popped up on my Goodreads feed, and, based on the title, I decided to check it out. My history with the practice of an art (in my case, prose) is extensive, and although my history with the business of publishing is sordid, I also learned a ton. I was curious to see if Jeff Goins had written something that would rise above the general dredge of self-help literature and teach me something I didn't already know about managing the business aspects of About a month ago, Real Artists Don't Starve popped up on my Goodreads feed, and, based on the title, I decided to check it out. My history with the practice of an art (in my case, prose) is extensive, and although my history with the business of publishing is sordid, I also learned a ton. I was curious to see if Jeff Goins had written something that would rise above the general dredge of self-help literature and teach me something I didn't already know about managing the business aspects of art.

Sadly, it was worse than that. Not only did Goins fail to teach me anything new, his approach to discussing the topic introduces further confusion with a number of inappropriate conflations. By this I mean that Goins's frames of reference for argumentation only fit reality if you focus on a very narrow band of human experiences.

My intent in this review is to pull apart these conflations and fit their targets into frames of reference that fit broader swaths of reality. I will show that the sentiment behind the title, that "real artists don't starve," while, in a sense, true, is not true for the reasons Goins claims. On the contrary, the current state of the world is about as far from a "New Renaissance" as it could possibly be.

...

Read the full review at http://www.matthewbuscemi.com/blog/20... ...more
5

May 28, 2017

If you're an artist or creator of any kind, this book is for you. Real Artists Don't Starve will clear up some creative space in your heart and mind after it sweeps out the old myths of what and who gets to be an artist.
3

December 17, 2017

Just internalize the table of contents
If you are looking for a university level entrepreneurial step-by-step guide this book is not for you. If you are looking for inspiration and encouragement to start creating now I would recommend it. Some people just need a little push to take a risk. I personally enjoyed the anecdotes and the concepts. Any “artist” could benefit. However Everything you need to learn is summarized in the table of contents

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