"Steal Like An Artist" by Austin Kleon
A short book that everyone must read– whether you deem yourself a creative genius or an unimaginative analyst. Creativity should be understood and used by all, but to some it is an intimidating beast, something for only the best of artists. Each human is creative, but it can manifest itself in different mediums that are not traditionally viewed as creative. So do not fear the "c" word. Embrace it. Understand it.
A lot of the book revolves around stealing. A huge no-no in my upbringing. You must never cheat, steal, or lie, but Kleon says you must steal in the creative process to be successful. As Salvador Dalí once said, "Those who do not want to imitate anything, produce nothing." I've always feared stealing literally as well as figuratively, because that would mean it's not my original work, not my brilliant idea to claim. How embarrassing to copy another's idea? But, Kleon put into terms I had never considered. Your ideas are the simply sum of your influencer's ideas, but in a different form. I think back to my 8th grade science class and the conservation of mass: energy is neither created nor destroyed– it changes form. So yes, I finally agree, steal what you will, and make it your own.
A favorite page from Steal Like An Artist: