Keep Going (Book Review with Quotes)

Keep Going (Book Review with Quotes)

Keep going Austin Kleon book review

Back in 2013 I read a book by this author titled Steal Like an Artist, and I blogged about it here. He’s had one other one in the meantime that I missed, but I’m glad to have read this new one about ways to stay creative. Here are some of the bits I liked best:

  • “Creativity is about connection– you must be connected to others in order to be inspired and share your own work– but it is also about disconnection. You must retreat from the world long enough to think, practice your art, and bring forth something worth sharing with others. You must play a little hide-and-seek in order to produce something worth being found.”
  • “Great artists are able to retain this sense of playfulness throughout their careers. Art and the artist both suffer most when the art gets too heavy, too focused on results.”
  • ‘Practicing an art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make your soul grow, for heaven’s sake.’ Kurt Vonnegut
  • “Rene Magritte said his goal with his art was ‘to breathe new life into the way we look at the ordinary things around us.’ This is exactly what art does.: By paying extra attention to their world, they teach us to pay more attention to ours. The first step toward transforming your life into art is to start paying more attention to it.”
  • ‘Photography is an immediate reaction, drawing is a meditation.’ Henri Cartier-Bresson
  • ‘If people read your work and, as a result, choose life, then you are doing your job.’ Sarah Manguso
  • “Quite simply: Art is supposed to make our lives better. This is as true for the making of the art as it is for the art itself.”
  • “To be on brand is to be 100% certain of who you are and what you do, and certainly, in art and in life, is not only completely overrated, it is also a roadblock to discovery. Uncertainty is the very thing that art thrives on.”
  • “You start each work not knowing exactly where you’re going or where you’ll end up. ‘Art is the highest form of hope,’ said painter Gerhard Richter, but hope is not about knowing how things will work out– it is moving forward in the face of uncertainty. It’s a way of dealing with uncertainty. ‘Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable,’ writes Rebecca Solnit.”
  • “It is always a mistake to equate productivity and creativity. They are not the same. In fact, they are frequently at odds with each other. You’re often the most creative when you’re the least productive.”
  • “Walking is a way to find possibility in your life when there doesn’t seem to be any left.”
  • “Worry less about being a great artist. Worry more about being a good human who makes art. Worry less about making your mark. Worry more about leaving things better than you found them.”
  • Keep doing your verbs, whatever they may be.”

I give Keep Going a gentle five stars. It is an uplifting little volume, which is full of quotes, written by a kindred spirit. It is perfect to read short snatches of it just before sleeping. There is nothing truly educational or revelatory here, but the conversational tone as well as constant reminders of what you already know, feel supportive.


I work to amplify good wherever I find it. I love color, texture, beauty, great ideas, nature, metaphor, deliciousness, genuine spirituality, and exploring new territory. I encourage authenticity, nurture creativity, champion sustainability, promote peace, and hope to foster a new renaissance where we all are free to be our most fulfilled, multifaceted, and terrific selves. Read more here.


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