Episode #31: Austin Kleon - The Art of Being Productively Lazy


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Austin Kleon is the New York Times best-selling author of two of my favorite books on creativity: Steal Like An Artist and Show Your Work! These books have had a huge impact on the way I approach my own work — and I’m not alone. They’ve been translated into over two dozen different languages and have over a million copies in print!

His new book is Keep Going: 10 Ways to Stay Creative in Good Times and Bad.

In this episode, I ask Austin about some of the more personal aspects of his work and life. He was the first guest I spoke with since my kid was born, so naturally, I wanted to know about his parenting philosophies. Like me, he is a work-at-home dad who values meaningful work. I was curious how he approached this concept with his kids.

A central theme of our conversation is the importance of play, and why it’s so vital to producing good work.

Austin is a super nice, genuine, laid back dude and is the exact same person whether the mic is on or off. I hope you love this conversation as much as I did.


Topics covered

  • How Austin has become a wildly successful author despite being what he calls “deeply lazy

  • The problems with the “productivity mania” in our culture and the importance of play

  • How Austin incorporates playtime into his routine and why it leads to better work

  • How to balance productivity with laziness

  • Parenting philosophies & doing work you love in front of your kids

  • How constrains breed creativity

  • Why having a routine is essential for sanity

Selected links & resources from the episode

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If you liked this episode, you might also like…

Ep. 9: Markus Almond - Cultivating Creativity

Ep. 26: Adam J. Kurtz - Overcoming Perfectionism

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Ruben Chavez is a writer, personal development educator, and host of The Think Grow Podcast. He has created a community of over 3 million readers across his collective platforms, including his popular Instagram page ThinkGrowProsper. Along with this blog, these platforms are his way of inspiring and connecting with thoughtful, creative, and ambitious people just like you.