Books can cure whatever ails you. Feeling a little down? Stuck in a state of melancholy? Find a book. I love books and always have. You can ask my family. They rarely see me without one.

Nothing compares to the deckled edge of a finely printed book. The musty smell of books in a library or used bookstore restores your faith in the world. Yes, that may sound a bit bizarre. How else could you transport yourself from the mundane to a world of wonder in a single afternoon?

Others may indulge on Netflix or Hulu. I never know how to describe my strange obsession to read all the books of an author without stopping. But I do believe binge reading could qualify as an addiction.

The Book Cure

When I found myself longing for something to arouse my creativity, I turned to books. Three caught my eye. I knew the magic I would find within the covers of these small but powerful books. Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work, and Keep Going waited for me.

three books by Austin Kleon on a deskMy prescription—binge read one of my favorite influencers. A remarkable young artist and writer, Austin Kleon. His blog posts and books have become my elixir.

When I’m feeling uninspired and critical of my creative efforts, his words and art make me smile. More often, they contain a nugget that sends my thinking in overtime.

Many writers have influenced my thinking, my work, my approach to life. I’ve binged on Jim Collins, Seth Godin, Peter Senge, Maya Angelou, and Robert Frost.

Austin’s creative spirit and eclectic interests makes him unique. No other influencer shares his originality in quite the same way. Austin describes himself as an artist who writes. He reads and shares interesting books, articles, art, and his life.

The Influencer and the Influenced

One day, while reading one of his blog posts, it struck me. Here is a writer half my age, but his insights, musings, and his ability to tell a story were influencing me.

“We are shaped and fashioned by what we love.”

Age became irrelevant. No matter our age we can be an influencer or the influenced.

Teachers of all ages surround us. Some are younger, others similar in age. Many bring years of experience and reflection to our doorstep. All of them shape our thoughts. We evolve into ourselves.

“You are, in fact, a mashup of what you choose to let into your life. You are the sum of your influences.”

Austin Kleon
, Steal Like an Artist

To you, Austin Kleon, I say thank you for becoming one of my influences. Because you give without hesitation, I found the cure for my melancholy. And ended the day with a lighter heart and the courage to keep going.

And always—

Be kind. Be brave. Be you.

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