Pep Guardiola’s modesty will only allow him to embrace the label of an ‘ideas thief’. His teams have played some of the most thrilling and dominating football in recent years.
Guardiola is a coach who stood on the shoulders of his heroes and transcended them.
Austin Kleon in his book, Steal like an Artist, said
“Merely imitating your heroes is not flattering them. Transforming their work into something of your own is how you flatter them. Adding something to the world that only you can add.”
Guardiola evolved from an ideas thief to a creative genius by becoming the sum of his influences. He didn’t steal the ideas of his influences but stole the thinking behind their ideas.
The desire was not to become a clone of his heroes but he rather wanted to ‘see’ and ‘think’ like them.
His heroes’ ideas grounded in understanding filtered through his imagination produced his distinctive coaching style. This is a secret of Guardiola’s coaching success.