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This Book Puts the 'Starving Artist' Myth To Rest With Strategies for Thriving in the Creative Age

Re-think your day job.

Real Artists Don’t Starve by Jeff Goins paints a real picture of the starving artist and then quickly shuts down the ridiculous idea in true Seth Godin-like fashion.

Goins’ work also reminds us a little of Ryan Holiday and the two appear to be within the same writer’s circle, based on references in Goins’ books and a reference in Ryan Holiday’s new book, Perennial Seller, where Holiday borrows one of Goins’ "thriving artist" ideas.

Real Artists Don’t Starve is broken up into three sections, which include Mind-set, Market and Money. 

Goins uses real life stories to drive in points, reminding readers of classic tales while also shining the light on new theories and untold stories. 

Whether it’s an astronaut-turned-artist, Jim Henson Muppet-tale, or a Jeff Bezos antidote, the author captures the stories in a way that will hopefully change views about life as an artist.

One of the most interesting stories in the book comes in the introduction where the author reveals the truth about artist Michelangelo. It’s true that we generally picture every artist as “starving” or at least “poor” until they make it, but that’s often merely a myth. Goins argues that if more people knew they could make it as an artist, more people would be artists.

“What would that mean for the careers we choose and the paths we encourage our kids to follow?” asks the author. 

During his time as an artist, Michelangelo’s colleagues were seen as manual laborers, but one man literally changed the public’s view by asking for payment during his apprenticeship and taking his role in society more seriously than his colleagues.

According to Goins, Professor William Wallace (no Braveheart jokes, please) spoke about Michelangelo, revealing that he “established the idea that an artist could become a new figure in society and have a higher social standing, and also that they could become financially successful.”

While it’s true that most of the stories told about artists either end in tragedy or unheard-of success, there is also a middle ground that is much safer than we’ve ever truly thought.

“When we hear the cautionary tales and warnings about what it means to be an artist, there’s an important truth we must embrace,” writes Goins. “You don’t have to starve…”

Jeff Goins’ new book, Real Artists Don’t Starve, is available on Amazon.