Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

Genghis Khan was one of the greatest military minds who ever lived.

More importantly, he was also a continual student, whose victories were largely the result of his ability to take the best ideas, innovations, and practices from every culture that his empire encountered.

In the book “Ego Is The Enemy,” Ryan Holiday says,

“Under Genghis Khan’s direction, the Mongols were as ruthless about stealing and absorbing the best of each culture they encountered as they were about conquest itself. Though there were essentially no technological inventions, no beautiful buildings or even great Mongol art, with each battle and enemy, their culture learned and absorbed something new. Genghis Khan was not born a genius. Instead, as one biographer put it, his was “a persistent cycle of pragmatic learning, experimental adaptation, and constant revision driven by his uniquely disciplined and focused will.”

Genghis Kahn became the greatest conqueror the world has ever known because of his ability to copy good ideas, as well as his willingness to learn from others more than any other conqueror that has come before and after him.

As the great artist Pablo Picasso once said, “Good artists copy, but great artists steal.”


14 thoughts on “Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

      1. I’m a huge believer in that ideas don’t mean anything. You can have the greatest product in the world, but if you can’t sell it to others, then it doesn’t really matter how great it is. I love Steve’s visions, storytelling and salesmanship. for those reasons I like him. I know the whole idea that Steve Jobs didn’t know how to code and that wozniak was the real brains, but I think Apple needed both Woz and Jobs to be what it is today

        Liked by 2 people

      2. I agree with that, but I also believe it should have been equal credit. He never gave that. He took it as me, me, me and terrorised employees in the process.

        I prefer Bill Gates. Apple may have won a niche, but Gates won the tech war overall. He is also a philanthropist, for which I respect him and his wife even more. We need more men like him in the world. Plenty more greedy egotistic people like Jobs to go around.


      3. yea I can see that. Jobs was definitely harsh on people. Gates reminds me of Carnegie, where he spent all of his time in the first half of his life making money and then spent the latter half of his life giving it all away. Gates has also spent a lot of time convincing other billionaires to do the same, we need more people like that

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I didn’t know Carnegie was a philanthropist as well. I’ve only ever heard of the first half of his life, I suppose.

        Yes, Gates has also cured infectious diseases in a few countries. And he lives in these places in these harsh conditions. To me that’s real humility. Most wealthy people into philanthropy would rather just provide the funds and send someone else to do the dirty work.

        Angelina Jolie is another philanthropist I admire. I wish she would do more of that again.


  1. did you know that one out of every 500 people on earth today is a descendant of Genghis Khan. He continued to conquer by absorbing instead of destroying other cultures. Painters learn good techniques and colors from others then make them their own by putting their personal stamp on it. So much to learn and so little time.. no one on earth could do everything alone without outside influence..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea I actually heard of that before and I can’t believe that’s true, that’s insane to me. I agree with the last line. It’s like the poet John Donne once said, “no man is an island.” No one does anything on their own

      Liked by 1 person

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