Show Your Work Quick Review

I first heard about Austin Kleon’s book, Show Your Work on Ali Abdaal’s YouTube channel. After a good review I decided to purchase my own copy, and here’s why you should too.

From the author of Steal like an artist, this book is for anyone that considers themselves a creative, a business owner or with a message or work that wish to one day show the world, but lack the drive or willingness to put themselves out there in the world.

Why I’m recommending it

  • It’s a short read at 211 pages.
  • Simple to use stratgegies
  • Real life examples
  • Makes you feel like you have control, and not an idiot.

Who is this for?

I would say that this book is for those that wish to put themselves out there more in the world. Another great book is Crushing It, by Gary Vaynerchuk. In Gary’s book, he explores the main reasons why you need to be on social media and why you should follow your passion, if it is extremely niche, such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. If you’re an expert in that area, someone out there is bound to be interested as well.

Reading Show Your Work really seemed like an extension to Crushing It. It just gave more reasons as to why you should put yourself out there, with real-life examples.

So in essence, this book is for anyone that has a skill, craft or passion that they wish to tell the world. Think about it, how do you know the things that you know? From books, from a mentor/master showing or teaching you, YouTube videos, etc. Isn’t it time for you to give back to society?

The Affect it has had on me

For someone that is currently making the transition from web developer into project management, as well as looking to improve my guitar playing and writing. For me, this book has been eye-opening. It has given me the permission to succeed and to also fail. It has made me reevaluate my blog – now I focus on writing about productivity and technology.

I am pushing myself to put myself out on social media more with my guitar playing. But, I still have much more to do.

It has made me realise that to be a creative person, your message is key to everything to what you do. It has given me permission to embrace my shortcomings and to journal my route to success.

Brief Summary

Show Your Work has 10 chapters. Chapter 1 is about giving you permission to get started, because nothing is perfect and you don’t need to be a genius. It is ok to be an amateur.

The part that stuck out for me was the suggestion to read obituaries on a daily basis – why???

Because it should strike the fear of death into you, and the realisation that you only have a finite time on this planet, so stop fretting and start working.

The next chapter talks about taking people behind your scene and showing them the process. Because sometimes we love to know what was an artist’s motivation and their steps to completing their work.

This ties into the next section about sharing something every day, and that something is better than nothing. This then flows into a chapter about sharing your collection of works/ideas and stopping hoarding. Some interesting ideas and concepts are mentioned here.

The next couple of chapters continue on the matter of sharing your work and process, but also sharing good stories. Make sure what you are telling is good enough. If it is isn’t then don’t publish it. Simple. Also, teach what you know. No matter what your profession, hobby or past experiences are, they could make great stories and life lessons. But, remember to help others too, and don’t just have a ‘take and not give’ attitude.

Of course, putting yourself out there will make you more vulnerable, and this book does discuss what to do regarding trolls and haters. Very useful in today’s online environment.

And lastly, it discusses the motion of selling out – and how it is actually okay. Because if you have the chance to fulfil your dream and earn more money, do it. Don’t have the attitude that it is not cool to have money, or that artists were ‘better’ before they made it because that is foolish

As mentioned, this is a seriously good read, with interesting diagrams and some really neat tricks into becoming the best possible creative that you can.

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