Real Artists Don't Starve

Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age
Narrated by: Stu Gray
Length: 5 hrs and 45 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (611 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Best-selling 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.

For centuries the myth of the starving artist has dominated our culture, seeping into the minds of creative people and stifling their pursuits. But the truth is that the world's most successful artists did not starve. In fact they capitalized on the power of their creative strength. In Real Artists Don't Starve, Jeff Goins debunks the myth of the starving artist by unveiling the ideas that created it and replacing them with 14 rules for artists to thrive, including:

  • Steal from your influences (don't wait for inspiration)
  • Collaborate with others (working alone is a surefire way to starve)
  • Take strategic risks (instead of reckless ones)
  • Make money in order to make more art (it's not selling out)
  • Apprentice under a master (a "lone genius" can never reach full potential)

Through inspiring anecdotes of successful creatives both past and present, Goins shows that living by these rules is not only doable but it's also a fulfilling way to thrive.

From graphic designers and writers to artists and business professionals, creatives already know that no one is born an artist. Goins' revolutionary rules celebrate the process of becoming an artist, a person who utilizes the imagination in fundamental ways. He reminds creatives that business and art are not mutually exclusive pursuits. In fact success in business and in life flow from a healthy exercise of creativity.

Expanding upon the groundbreaking work in his previous best-seller, The Art of Work, 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.

©2017 Jeff Goins (P)2017 Thomas Nelson
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Great information, narrator became grating

What did you like best about Real Artists Don't Starve? What did you like least?

Although the info isn't particularly "new," it was nice to have it gathered in one book to remind you the things you can do to help your art thrive.

How could the performance have been better?

The narrator was extra "peppy" throughout the whole book, with every sentence being narrated like it was a sales pitch, which after awhile just got really annoying, personally. I switched to the kindle book halfway through.

8 people found this helpful

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Very disappointing

This was a wasted credit. The premise and content lack substance and the tone was juvenile.

8 people found this helpful

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Instant Classic!

I fully recommend this book for any artist who is serious about taking their art to a professional level. Now is the time and this is the book that will give you the ideas and strategies to get there.
This book is food for thought for any starving artist.

8 people found this helpful

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Amazing Must-Have for Every Creative!

I've been a fan of Jeff Goins for many years. I wept through Wrecked, found my voice through You Are a Writer, and was motivated after reading The Art of Work. So of course I was going to buy his latest, Real Artists Don't Starve!
I bought it on audible because I couldn't wait to consume it! With my day job and writing in the evenings I knew my best option was buying it so I could listen to it on my drive to and from work and while I walked.
This book is just what I needed at the right time in my life! I've been struggling with the whole marketing world for my writing. And feeling guilty. And overwhelmed.

After reading Real Artists Don't Starve I feel a weight has been lifted off me and like Jeff knew exactly what direction I needed to go, and gave me the real life examples to empower me with.

The research and the ideas and advice in this book is not only amazing but truly reflects Jeff's heart for other creatives.

I suggest everyone go out and buy this book!!

16 people found this helpful

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Peculiar narration for a good book

This is a book that changes many preset thoughts regarding arts. It shines a different light on many well-known artists and provides the necessary inspiration to keep creating art. But the narration, choppy at times, lacks fluency and takes away some of the quality.

6 people found this helpful

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Good book, but too repetitive

It had some interesting points, but could have easily been half the length and still given all the same info. If you can make it past the 11th " Artist don't need to starve! Artist should thrive!" in chapter 2 without rage quitting, then the rest of the book is pretty enjoyable.

5 people found this helpful

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Changes your mindset!

What was one of the most memorable moments of Real Artists Don't Starve?

I have to say that the title of the book itself, and the idea it represents, is THE most memorable part of this book. It flips the way we've been raised to approach art on its head.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Yes, definitely. It was when Jeff discusses whether or not you should quit your day job while pursuing your art. Upon hearing the fact that those who keep their jobs find success at a higher rate, it really hit me hard. I had become bitter at my day job and hated it, but this part made me realize that I should be grateful.

Jeff states that John Grisham wrote a page a day every morning for 3 years before he finished his first book, A Time To Kill! That was while he was still doing the law thing during the day. Amazing.

Any additional comments?

If you couldn't tell, I loved the stories! Jeff Goins delves deep inside the lives of famous artists from Michelangelo to Jim Henson to John Grisham to Dr. Dre. There's something magical about reliving the lives and experiences of some of the greatest artists that have ever lived.

You will walk away from this book feeling inspired.

5 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars

Awesome!

I love It! It has given me a whole new perspective! Amazing author speaks with authority on the subject.

4 people found this helpful

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Helpful to understand the artist mind set

Recommended for all creative people who want to live creative life. Enjoy and inspired book.

4 people found this helpful

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Excellent business book

The main idea is evolving around artists but every things written in the book is a guideline for starting and maintaining a successful business.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jessica Oz
  • 11-18-17

A must read for all creatives!

As a music producer, it was a completely game changer for me. Really helped me to understand what was holding me back in terms of mind set and false 'rules' I had assumed/learned.
As a result my productivity has shot through the roof as has my self confidence.
Great read (listen).

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anges
  • 07-02-18

An inspiring read

I have thoroughly enjoyed Jeff Goin’s book Real Artists Don’t Starve. As a book coach, mentor and strategist, I can only command a book that debunks the myth of the starving artist. It is so strong that it has seeped into the collective and it is high time we got rid of it. Thank you Jeff for getting the ball rolling.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Corkie
  • 09-11-17

Simply brilliant!

I adore this book and the wisdom held within it. So many revelations whilst listening. Thank you!

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-19-19

Meandering anecdotes.

I listened to the first hour and had to turn it off. As soon as I heard the narrator say "Chapter 2" I realised that we were actually into the meat and potatoes of the book. I thought I was still listening to the introduction and that the meandering anecdote was, in some way, the author recounting his path to success before we heard his concise 'bullet point' method on how to make your artistic career work with a view to becoming more successful.
This was not to be.
If you are looking for a well-meaning lecture on how someone believes something should be done, this is the book for you.
If you are looking for a well-structured list of do's and don'ts, it is probably best to look somewhere else.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mr. M. Hebblewhite
  • 05-06-19

Very interesting information

I've read some reviews on how annoying the narrators voice is; however, don't allow this to stop you from listening to one very interesting book.

I would highly recommend

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-18-19

Insightful!

A rather insightful audiobook that gives many useful information about the current art market, but most importantly the mentalities that can boost an artist's creativity and career.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-01-20

Lots of stories

There are lots of points made in this book that are then backed up by real stories. It's inspiring but then occasionally I felt that some of the points contradicted one another. Overall I felt inspired and it was fun to listen to all of the stories.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-06-20

good but a bit too claustrophobic , needs slowing

struggled to finish, too much information at an accelerated rate, helpful though in parts really


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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-17-19

Great book

I really loved and enjoyed this book.
definitely recommend it for any artist of any form out there wanting to expand the perspective of being an artist this days.
Good narrator.
It was a great experience for my first audible book.

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  • talperets
  • 02-12-19

Amazing! love this book.

this book helped me to build my business and think differently
definitely will read this again

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-25-18

Real artists don’t read this!

In a world saturated with wanna-be artists, the romance of being a creative outweighs the reality of making a living. Jeff’s advice is aimed at these people. From the perspective of someone with a 20 year career and weathering the ups and downs, this book is trivial garbage.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-19-17

Great Pep Talk for all artists

I really enjoyed listening to this as I've just started to sell my paintings (after 12 years of hesitation). The author raised some fantastic points that I'll definitely be putting to use, and the reader spoke clearly and with a very persuasive tone, so the whole thing felt like a really great pep talk. Thanks!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Alexandra
  • 03-08-19

Excellent insight.

This book interested me because I was about to finish college and I wanted to understand what was in my blind spot to success. Throughout the audio book the author discuss several cases of other people overcoming ordinary thinking and making extordinary outcomes for their lives. the author consistently demonstrates a way of thinking and relating to art and business and society which serves the artist to thrive not survive. thanks

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  • Anonymous User
  • 12-06-18

a bit too fluffy but some might like the stories

I like the premise but there was too much padding. the ideas could have been sufficiently covered with the content in the conclusion alone. even that I found to be a bit long winded. I appreciate some people might enjoy the narrative aspect though.