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

Real Artists Don't Starve by Jeff Goins
I wasn't sure what to expect from Jeff Goins' book, Real Artists Don't Starve - Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age. I'd heard it was a good read, and the title was certainly targeted directly at me, as an artist and serial entrepreneur.

Having read many 'self help' type books in the past I guess I thought Jeff was going to outline a step by step plan to earning a living as an artist but that's not really what his book is about.

Rather it's more of an inspirational essay comparing the entrenched stereotype of the 'starving artist' to the actual reality of being a working artist, using history as far back as renowned painter/sculptor Michelangelo as a way to dispel the myth that artists have to starve.

Not limited to the traditional idea of an artist (i.e. someone who paints images on canvas) the book is very relevant to anyone following a creative pursuit looking to turn their art into a career.

Each chapter presents one common idea of the starving artist and turns it around, demonstrating how real (and by real we're talking actual real world artists) have turned that idea, in many cases to the complete opposite of what is generally thought.

As a quick example, one myth is that the starving artist must work alone, where as the thriving artist will collaborate with many creators to achieve success.

In each case, there are real world examples of artists following the path of the thriving artist, and practical suggestions for how you could implement the same path in your career.

Real Artists Don't Starve is based on hundreds of surveys and dozens of interviews by Jeff with artists, entrepreneurs, writers, and creatives from a variety of disciplines. It completely dispels the myth of the starving artist, demonstrating that a full time career in the arts is actually very possible and sustainable.

I'd recommend this book to anyone unsure about following a creative career as an ideal first book on how real artists find success in their field. It won't mystify you with number crunching or too much detail, rather you'll get revealing insight for continuing your own journey with a more confident mindset.

If you're already neck deep in a creative career and struggling to make it work this book could well be the inspiration you need. There's a good chance you're missing some of the suggestions given here to find your success.

You won't need to complete all the strategies presented but, if you use at least a few of them as a guide, you'll see for yourself that the starving artist isn't actually the reality of a creative career.

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Real Artists Don't Starve by Jeff Goins

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