On my bookshelf: Austin Kleon

From Show my Work! by Austin Kleon

I recently discovered Austin Kleon, yet another writer who inspires just as much from how rather than what he says. Among other things, Kleon writes how-to books for creative types, all in a highly visual, easy-to-digest style that makes you feel like you’re peering into his personal notebook.

I just finished his two short books, Steal Like an Artist and Show Your Work! The first is all about what inspires us, the importance of copying, and how no idea is truly original. The second is about the importance of sharing early and often. Expressly built on the insights of others, it’s full of bite-size nuggets of wisdom like this:

“Audiences not only want to stumble across great work, but they, too, long to be creative and part of the creative process. By letting go of our egos and sharing our process, we allow for the possibility of people having an ongoing connection with us and our work, which helps us move more of our product.”

Kleon never actually mentions Creative Commons licenses (or talks about copyright at all), but the two books are essentially handbooks for how and why creators should reuse other work and share their own. His arguments are so clear and simple that they seem self-evident.

If Paul Stacey and I can write something half as beautiful and persuasive that expressly fits CC into this picture (which really is as simple as connecting the dots), we will have succeeded.

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