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In our world, we have these rules that creative types are supposed to follow. However, Austin Kleon, a self-described, “writer who draws,” takes those rules and tears them to shreds. Or maybe not. Maybe he turns them upside down or folds them into a paper airplane. Or maybe he blacks out certain parts, giving us something entirely new; a list of permissions instead of rules. When everyone says, “don’t take ideas,” he implores us to, “steal like an artist” and geek out about everything you find interesting. When others say, “don’t sell out,” he says, “Sell out. Spread your ideas to the world.” When others say, “keep your creative methods a secret,” he says, “share your journey.” When others view creative work as addition, he reminds us that it is often about subtraction. In a world of digital production, he reminds us of the value in vintage tools. Austin Kleon reminds us that creative work isn’t about genius or natural talent. It’s about curiosity and focus and hours spent on your craft. He reminds us that creativity is for everyone. And that’s the creative genius of Austin Kleon.

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of interviewing Austin Kleon. He is one of my heroes in the creative world and it was so fun to sit down on Zoom and chat with him. Although I had a set of questions prepared in advance, the conversation meandered all around. This wasn’t all that surprising because he is a natural mashup artist. He’s constantly connecting ideas back and forth as a curious creator.

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About Austin Kleon

Austin Kleon is the New York Times bestselling author of a trilogy of illustrated books about creativity in the digital age: Steal Like An Artist, Show Your Work!, and Keep Going. He’s also the author of Newspaper Blackout, a collection of poems made by redacting the newspaper with a permanent marker. His books have been translated into dozens of languages and have sold over a million copies worldwide. He’s been featured on NPR’s Morning Edition, PBS Newshour, and in The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. New York Magazine called his work “brilliant,” The Atlantic called him “positively one of the most interesting people on the Internet,” and The New Yorker said his poems “resurrect the newspaper when everybody else is declaring it dead.” He speaks for organizations such as Pixar, Google, SXSW, TEDx, and The Economist. In previous lives, he worked as a librarian, a web designer, and an advertising copywriter. He lives in Austin, Texas, with his wife and sons. Visit him online at

John Spencer

My goal is simple. I want to make something each day. Sometimes I make things. Sometimes I make a difference. On a good day, I get to do both.More about me

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