Show your work. Takeaways

Show your work is a New York Times bestseller by Austin Kleon. He describes his book as “a book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion”. This book tells you how and why you should show your work online. These are my takeaways.

“Show your work” teaches that your work has to be out there. And, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. Good work isn’t enough.

Kid walking in a museum
Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom. Photo by Michał Parzuchowski on Unsplash

“Be so good they can’t ignore you” summarizes the purpose of the book. To not be ignored, you have to be findable. Build a routine of sharing. Take advantage of your network. Imagine you don’t need a resume because your next boss already reads your blog.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you.”

-Steve Martin

You don’t have to be a genius

Creativity is about collaboration, too. Find a place where you can share your ideas and flourish your creativity. Find your creativity circle or “scenius”. Famous musicians and artists were surrounded by other artists to share, copy, acknowledge and sparkle their ideas.

Ask yourself what you want to learn. And make a commitment to learning in front of others. Share what you love, and the people who love the same thing will find you.

The minute you learn something, teach it
My favorite quote from Show Your Work

Share something small every day

There is no such a thing as overnight success. At the end of the day, see what you can share: inspiration, progress, or learning. Share what you think it’s helpful or entertaining.

Don’t be afraid of sharing your work. 90% of everything is crap. But don’t turn into human spam.

“Stop worrying, start sharing”

-From Show your work official trailer

Open up your cabinet of curiosities

Have a cabinet of curiosities. Before museums, people had a place to put what they loved, usually rare and weird things. Think of yourself as a collector.

Before you can share your work, you can share your taste. You can share what you read, who you follow, what inspires you. Credit your sources. Don’t share things you can’t credit.

Voilà! These are my takeaways from Show Your Work. This isn’t a programming book, but it has inspired me to continue writing, even when I think nobody is reading.

If you want to read other takeaways, check Clean Coder and Pragmatic Thinking and Learning.