Show Your Work!

Austin Kleon // Back

Book in 3 Sentences

  1. You don't have to be an expert in a particular role in order to teach. It's better to be an amateur as you understand how a beginner thinks, unlike a master who won't really remember how it was being a complete newbie.
  2. Don't worry too much about the numbers, worry about the quality of people that follow and how much they care. Then focus on putting out work of stuff you are doing or have done that would provide value to them. Think of it as a way of teaching yourself and looking back on your past mistakes.
  3. Since you put out your work on the internet, you come across people who share the same interests or values as you. You can connect with them and bounce back information which will benefit you heavily. Might find a business partner, future spouse, or even an employer since you SHOWED your work. As human beings we all are curious to know a person's process of providing an outcome, something not everyone sees under the hood.


Even though I read this like a day after starting my website, I learned about so many fundamentals in order to maintain it and how to connect with people through my interests. Austin Kleon explains how putting yourself out there on the internet can change your life, as showing off what you are doing opens up opportunities for others to get involved. By "work" he means current projects, hobbies and overall passions that some others may resonate with. No one cares about your latte, post stuff that REAL people will benefit from. The more we put ourselves out there on the internet, the more people we meet that could change our life.

He also explains that you shouldn't expect a ton of people to come to you after saying "hey I have this blog go check it out its good". Be ENGAGING in those communities, be a good citizen of them and be a connector of people. Stop expecting others to just follow you or anything when you provide no sense of value.

How I Discovered It

I think it was mainly from Ali Abdaal mentioning it a thousand times on how it changed his life. Alongside Anything You Want, I saw this book in the same video and saw it was less than 100 pages to read. Yeah I sound like some fanboy of him as I mentioned before but who cares, I find value from these books regardless.

Who Should Read It?

I think that in this day and age we should all be putting ourselves out there, so pretty much everyone who has any sort of interest in starting a YouTube channel, website or even a company. But either if you don't have some sort of interest in that stuff, you should start becoming the person who's active, as it can really change your life and meet some amazing people. Either way, it also has amazing advice on how to just do your own thing and be unique. We're all just interested in each other, so might as well join in on that and SHOW YOUR WORK!

How It Impacted Me

  • I don't really care about others' opinions now, they might get to me from time to time, but still realise how everyone is facing their own problems.
  • Making an attempt to not waste people's time. I tend to review what I am about to post and think about if anyone would find this useful after reading it (hopefully this book note is for you!).
  • Going to make sure I maintain my website and have it grow with me along my journey. I will engage with my audience and provide the best level of quality that I can (message me on twitter!).
  • When this website starts doing well, I want to start a newsletter as he mentions how important it is when providing insight to your more interested audience, even if it's a small update.
  • Now, I know I am getting way too ahead of myself, but the idea of a tip/donation on my page if someone feels generous is an idea I like. Not prioritising it of course, but a nice addition if someone wants to give a nice gesture. Something like "buy me a coffee" sounds friendly lol.

Some Quotes

The act of sharing is one of generosity—you’re putting something out there because you think it might be helpful or entertaining to someone on the other side of the screen.

Build a good name. Keep your name clean. Don’t make compromises. Don’t worry about making a bunch of money or being successful. Be concerned with doing good work . . . and if you can build a good name, eventually that name will be its own currency.”

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.

“The trick is not caring what EVERYBODY thinks of you and just caring about what the RIGHT people think of you.” —Brian Michael Bendis

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough,” writes author Alain de Botton.

Look for something new to learn, and when you find it, dedicate yourself to learning it out in the open. Document your progress and share as you go so that others can learn along with you. Show your work, and when the right people show up, pay close attention to them, because they’ll have a lot to show you.

Show Your Work!