REVIEW: Screw Work, Let’s Play

Work and play. The two very rarely ever go hand in hand, and when they do, it’s in the guise of some tedious Facebook ‘About Me’ section that reads along the lines of: ‘I like to work hard, and play harder’. Zzz.

However, John Williams’ new book Screw Work, Let’s Play (SWLP), turns that idea on its head. It’s subtitle – How to do what you love and get paid for it – hints that work and play are officially the coolest pairing since, er, Posh and Becks.

Describing himself as a ‘career maverick’, Williams left his cooshy city job in order to help coach and inspire those stuck in dead-end jobs, and along the way wrote this book. I have to admit: I’m normally a bit sceptical of ‘self-help’ books. I find them patronising, dull and irrelevant, detailing scenarios that only apply to a handful of people and advice that is too cringeworthy to contemplate.

However, SWLP is refreshing. Yes, there are the initial few pages about how to ‘unlock’ your potential, and work out what you really want to be doing but – and this is a big but – the advice is actually pretty good. And clearly I’m not the only who thinks so – since it was published in 2010, the book has conquered the top 10 charts, been translated into seven languages and received masses of rave reviews.

Chapters include:

– how to how to get paid for what you love (giving you lots of – as Williams calls them – ‘playcheques’)

– how to turn fans of your work into customers

– how to interact with your audience

– how to freelance around work

Reading the book, you feel inspired – this is all actual, proper advice that you could act on today and see results. The examples scattered throughout from various experts in numerous fields (bloggers, writers, artists, etc. as well as companies such as innocent smoothies, The Eden Project and more) is fascinating, and provides a great insight into how careers really can be made from whatever your creative talent is.

Williams’ advice is achievable and will give you the ideas – and motivation – needed to boost your career, regardless of what stage you’re currently at.

Available from Visit for more information and to read a sample chapter.

Katie Byrne


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