Show Your Work - Austin Kleon


⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐(5/5) This book was one of the things that pushed me over the edge and got me starting this personal website. Highly recommend it for anyone looking to start putting their work online.

Show Your Work - Austin Kleon Being from a conservative background, the idea of putting my work on the Internet for the world to see was incredibly foreign to me. In this book, Austin shot down every single excuse I had to not put my work online and by the end of this book, I was utterly convinced that I should start putting my work online as well. In due time, I will be writing on a self-coined term called "The Identity Pile-Up", which I'm very eager to share with you. For now, I would recommend anyone who has even the slightest of intentions to put your work online to read this book.

You would find this an interesting read if you...

  1. Have been thinking of putting your work online for quite some time now but never gotten around it.
  2. Want to put your work online but is concerned about criticism.
  3. Have a particular skill set/expertise in a niche field and want to reach out to other like-minded people around the world.

Key Takeaways

"By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it - for fellowship, feedback and patronage".

"the only way to find your voice is to use it. It’s hardwired, built into you. Talk about the things you love. Your voice will follow."

"In this day and age, if your work isn't online, it doesn't exist.”

“The fellow-pupil can help more than the master because he knows less. The difficulty we want him to explain is one he has recently met. The expert met it so long ago he has forgotten.”

"start taking note of what they’re not sharing. Be on the lookout for voids that you can fill with your own efforts, no matter how bad they are at first."

“Do what you do best and link to the rest.” —Jeff Jarvis If you share the work of others, it’s your duty to make sure that the creators of that work get proper credit.

“In our business you don’t quit,” says comedian Joan Rivers. “You’re holding on to the ladder. When they cut off your hands, hold on with your elbow. When they cut off your arms, hold on with your teeth.

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough,”

Closing Remarks

I first came across Austin Kleon's Show Your Work in my Productivity Guru, Ali Abdaal's "3 Books that Changed my Life" video. Here's Ali sharing about what he took away from this book.

In this book, Austin Kleon highlights 10 ways for anyone to share their creativity and be discovered. Austin then dedicates a separate chapter for each individual way where he explores the idea in depth. He also provides relavant stories from other artists so that the readers have something to draw a parallel to.

Austin's style of writing is so persuasive that by the end of the book, I'm completely sold on putting my work online because there are just so many tangible and intangible benefits to be reaped from putting your work online. Austin also addresses the concerns that most people have about putting their work online and challenges those ideas head-on.

The idea of putting my work online isn't a novel one. Prior to reading this book, I've been toying with the idea of blogging/having a personal website for quite some time. Everytime I feel a surge of motivation to set up the website, my brain rationalizes a million different excuses why it isn't worth it. Perhaps the biggest impact this book has had on me is to help me overcome the fear of putting my work online. Read more about my experience here.

This book is a really short read, just shy of 70 pages. However, I took my time with it and allowed myself time for the key concepts to sink it. If you are planning to read this book, I would highly recommend that you take notes on the margins and highlight as you go along. I read this on my Kindle but I plan to buy the physical copy of the book as well just because it was such a good read. And because the book is square which looks quite cute.

That's all for my book review and I hope you derived some sort of value from this. Again, I would recommend anyone who has thought about putting their work online to give this book a read. Even if you don't enjoy it (which I highly doubt), it's barely 60 pages which makes the opportunity cost of this book so, so low.

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