Book Review: Show Your Work!

"Show Your Work" book by Austin Kleon.

10 ways to enable those who create to elevate their craft.

  • Read: 2 times
  • Repeatability: Very High
Show Your Work! a book by Austin Kleon
A New York Times bestselling guide to sharing your creativity and getting discovered. From the author of Steal Like An Artist.


This book will push you into the action of making and doing something, relevant to your work. It certainly did for me, in showcasing my work through this digital home.

Key Thoughts

It refreshes my drive to share my work and learnings. It is a classic that puts confidence in me, anytime I feel reservations and apprehensions about holding-back, self-editing or self-censoring in sharing my work, meditations and thoughts. It breathes confidence and reinforces goodness behind the sharing practice.

Who is the audience?

For anyone who learns and/or works, really! Specifically, for those who love their work and want to share their work, the process and the learning through their work. Hence, it has a wide range of audience. Also, for those intending or actively connecting with their tribe of people, interested in their slice of work.

You could be a lawyer, carpenter, coder, illustrator, writer, construction worker etc. It does not matter. What matters is the itch and ache inside you that wants to share what you've learnt and done.

Top Quotes

The following are by the author. He does quote multiple famous quotes in the book, usually in the beginning of chapters.

Get started by thinking about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others.
Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you.
You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.
Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you'll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It's that simple.


  • A trickle everyday eventually adds up and makes an ocean of your body of work.
  • Find a virtual world on the internet where you can share your work. Have an amateur, learning mindset.
  • We need to use our voice in order for people to know about it.
  • Life is short, make things happen, stay alive.
  • Take people behind the scenes of your work.
  • Document everything that you do and go through.
  • Share small things everyday. The daily dispatch adds up.
  • Just share only your work. Not cat videos or lunch.
  • Turn your flow of ideas into a healthy backlog. Thoughts -> tweets -> blogs -> books -> beyond.
  • Get a good domain name for your virtual home.
  • Stay curious. Don't hoard and become stale. Keep sharing to keep renewing and expanding.
  • Don't self-edit. Be open and honest to things you like. People who like the same will connect with you.
  • Give proper attribution and credit to the creators of the work you reference.
  • Practice storytelling. You need to speak for your work. Words about your work matters. Use personal stories. Work on telling better stories.
  • Structure of a story is everything. Learn it and use it, every single time. It's not easy, but practice makes one better.
  • Learn to make your case in social settings, in-person or virtual. Keep it factual, short and sweet.
  • Teach what you know. Share your trade secrets. Go out of way to share knowledge. Emulate chefs and out-teach the competition. It generates interest. They give you feedback that is free education for a lifetime.
  • Don't spam. Listen in. Read and consume good content. It's a balance. Look for co-conspirators. Be a good citizen in communities and tribes that matter to you. Be open and keep giving. Be thoughtful and considerate.
  • Win hearts, not eyeballs. Focus on quality of followers, feedback and content. Be interested, to be interesting. You need to do good work. Be good at things.
  • Anything or anyone that sucks the life out of you is a vampire. Stop immediately.
  • Connect and nurture relationships with people who share your obsession. Meet them in real life (IRL) to make it better.
  • Learn to take punches. Every criticism is an opportunity. Care about what the right people think of you. Don't feed the trolls. Learn to tune them out in every way possible.
  • Selling out is a good thing. Charge only when you feel confident of the value that you're putting out into the world is truly worth something.
  • Build your mailing list and treat it with a ton of respect.
  • Make more work. If opportunity that comes is inline with more of the kind of work you want to do, say Yes. If the opportunity is more money, but less of the kind of work you want to do, say No.
  • Pay it forward. Hold office hours. Be generous as well as get work done.
  • Stick around. Don't quit your show. You never know when or where the next opportunity will come from.
  • Chain-smoke on work. Don't lose momentum. Use the end of one project to light up the next, instead of taking a break.
  • Go away and come back. Take practical daily sabbaticals. Get a dog. Commute, Exercise and Nature.
  • Start over. Keep the beginner mindset. Begin again. Look for something new. Become an amateur. Learn it out in the open. Document progress and share. Show your work and people will come along to show you more.

This is one of the most impactful books that could galvanize you into action. It certainly did for me.


Srini @ RoverHead

Thirumalaa Srinivas

Thirumalaa Srinivas