Real Artists Don’t Starve: Book Review

I received this book for free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers program to review and this post may contain affiliate links.

I am excited to share with you my review of Real Artists Don’t Starve:  Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age.

Jeff is a writer, speaker and entrepreneur.  He is the author of multiple books including the national bestseller, The Art of Work(Here is a short post that I wrote based upon this book.) Learn more about Jeff at

I realize that this book is a little bit off topic but the Thomas Merton reference and the fact that each of us has an Inner Artist makes this book attractive to me.  I hope you enjoy my review and check out this wonderful book.

Let me highlight seven areas from this book:


We Are All Artists

“Nobody wants to struggle, after all, so we keep our passion a hobby and follow a predictable path toward mediocrity. What if we could make a living as an artist?”

“We all have creative gifts to share, and in that respect, we are all artists.”

All of us are artists.  We all have gifts to share with the world.  What if we can make a living as an artist?  What if can share this inner gift with others and make a living doing so?  This book challenges us to do so.  Jeff shares 12 lessons from present and past artists to help us learn how to make a living as an artist.


True Self

“We can’t change our lives until we change our minds.”

“The question to ask ourselves is, are we willing to become our true selves?”

“Living in what Thomas Merton calls the “false self”, we fall out of alignment with who we are, and I can tell you from experience there is no greater pain than living a lie when the truth is buried deep inside you.”

Are we willing to become our true self?  I discover my true self via my centering prayer practice.  This is my twice per day, silent sit with God.  God acts in me and these actions are later revealed in my non-silent times of the day.  They are the actions of my true self.  Each day I continue to sit in silence with God so I can continue to let my true self act each day.


It Is A Marathon

“Small changes over time can lead to massive transformation.”

“You can do extraordinary things when you were patiently persistent.”

“The gritty individual approaches achievement as a marathon; his or her advantage is stamina.”

We must keep at our art each day!  We must be patient!  We must take small actions each day.  Our inner artist can create but it is not a race,  It is a long term marathon that we need to keep at each and every day.  Breaks are okay.  They refresh and revitalize us but then we should get back to the work we feel our Inner Artist informs us to do and be.



“Art is always found on the fringes, at the edge of our discomfort where true change occurs.”

Let me also share another quote by Tim Ferriss that hits the mark.  “A person’s success in life can usually be measured by the number of uncomfortable conversations he or she is willing to have.”

If we challenge ourselves to work where we are a bit uncomfortable we will see true change.  We will improve our art.  We will become experts at it.  We must consistently push and nudge ourselves to work just outside of our comfort zone.  This is where our art will flourish!



“In other words, we create not in isolation but with the influence of others around us.”

“If you were going to create work that matters, you were going to need an advocate – a person who sees your potential and believes in your work.”

“We don’t do our best work alone; we do it by collaborating with others.”

“All around us there are patrons, people willing to help our work succeed. But it is our job to recognize them and prove ourselves worthy of their investment.”

We cannot succeed alone.  We need the help of others.  We need both teachers and advocates and we must prove worthy of their investment in us.



“You have to practice in public.”

“To do the work of a professional, you have to stop waiting to be seen and start sharing your work now.”

Practice makes perfect.  We need to put our work “out there”.  Just start where you are at.  Stop planning.  Don’t question your abilities.  Procrastination and fear are the death of our art.  We must just begin!


Next Steps

“The reason many of us never self – actualize is because it’s easier to play a role in life then it is to become our true selves.”

“Over the course of a lifetime, we may find ourselves facing new challenges at every turn, and when we do, we must remember that we are never done becoming who we are.”

Who do you want to be?  Do you want to be your true self or simply play the role in life others tell us to be?  Once we make the decision to act from our true self it is important to keep in mind that it is not a once and done moment.  It is a life long process.  We are never done becoming the person we are meant to be:  our true self.

I encourage you to check out Jeff Goin’s book, Real Artists Don’t Starve.

Go further

The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do by Jeff Goins (Free with your Audible trial.)

Real Artists Don’t Starve: Timeless Strategies for Thriving in the New Creative Age  by Jeff Goins  (Free with your Audible trial.)

Chris Ducker, Rise of the Youpreneur: The Definitive Guide to Becoming the Go-To Leader in Your Industry and Building a Future-Proof Business

Check out my post related to Jeff’s previous book, The Art of Work.

The Artist’s Rule: Nurturing Your Creative Soul with Monastic Wisdom by Christine Valters Paintner

The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within  by Christine Valters Paintner

this post may contain affiliate links

Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks – This is a great way to listen to books with your cell phone while you drive, walk or relax at home.  I frequently listen in my car during my commute to and from work.  I’m a proud affiliate.

Authentic Orthodox prayer ropes and bracelets are handmade by monks in the Orthodox monastaries reciting a prayer for every knot they tie.

Sounds True has titles by teachers and authors such as Thomas Keating, Cynthia Bourgeault, James Finley, Richard Rohr, David Frenette, Parker Palmer , Eckhart  Tolle , Michael Singer , Jon Kabat-Zinn , Marianne Williamson to name a few.

Contemplative Light offers courses on contemplative practices (Christian Meditation, Centering Prayer, The Examen, Lectio Divina, The Jesus Prayer), the Christian mystics (ancient and current) and spiritual writing. Peruse their wonderful offerings.

Writing as a Spiritual Practice: This course helps you to access the rich spiritual stories that lie deeply within you. Words are powerful. The words that you write can be used to:

  • help you understand yourself better – and therefore divine God’s purpose in your life
  • facilitate healing of spiritual wounds
  • minister to others more effectively
  • share your testimonies of how God has worked in your life

How to Write a Devotional: Plus How to Get Them Published – If you read devotionals, you already know how they can be a true blessing. A devotional can uplift you when you’re feeling discouraged, sad or lonely. It can allow you to feel a keen sense of fellowship with another Christian, even if the two of you never actually meet. And, if you are feeling called to write devotionals, know that you have a unique opportunity to bless others and make a genuine difference in their lives. This course takes you step by step through the process, and then guides you towards publishing, if that is your goal.

Drawing from the wisdom of monastic life, modern psychology and best practices in personal productivity, the Monk Manual provides a daily system that will help you find clarity, purpose, wisdom, and peace in the moments that make up your life.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *