Show Your Work by Austin Kleon — Book Review

The first time I heard about Austin Kleon was when I read Steal Like an Artist. I was so fascinated with it that I bough his other books. His style is simple, full of draws and sharp.
Show Your Work is fantastic. In just over a hundred pages, Austin explains all the way and benefits of showing your work, and engages you to put everything out in order to get more.
There are great ideas in it, but I have reduced them into the following content. Enjoy!


You don’t really find an audience for your work; they find you. But it’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable.

Think in process, not product. Take people behind the scenes. Process is messy. But human beings are interested in other human beings and what other human beings do.

Become a documentarian of what you do.

Whether you share it or not, documenting and recording your process as you go along has its own rewards: You’ll start to see the work you’re doing more clearly and feel like you’re making progress. And when you’re ready to share, you’ll have a surplus of material to choose from.

Share something small every day. Once a day, after you’ve done your day’s work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share.

A daily dispatch is even better than a résumé or a portfolio, because it shows what we’re working on right now.

Be open, share imperfect and unfinished work that you want feedback on, but don’t share absolutely everything. There’s a big, big difference between sharing and over-sharing.

Once you make sharing part of your daily routine, you’ll notice themes and trends emerging in what you share. You’ll find patterns in your flow.

The beauty of owning your own turf is that you can do whatever you want with it. Your domain name is your domain. You don’t have to make compromises.

When you find things you genuinely enjoy, don’t let anyone else make you feel bad about it. Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.

You’re already telling a story about your work. If you want to be more effective when sharing yourself and your work, you need to become a better storyteller. You need to know what a good story is and how to tell one.

Everybody loves a good story, but good storytelling doesn’t come easy to everybody. It’s a skill that takes a lifetime to master. So study the great stories and then go find some of your own. Your stories will get better the more you tell them.

The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others. Share your reading list. Point to helpful reference materials. Create some tutorials and post them online. As blogger Kathy Sierra says, “Make people better at something they want to be better at.”

When you teach someone how to do your work, you are generating more interest in your work. People feel closer to your work because you’re letting them in on what you know.

The way to be able to take a punch is to practice getting hit a lot. Put out a lot of work. Let people take their best shot at it. Then make even more work and keep putting it out there. The more criticism you take, the more you realize it can’t hurt you.

Be ambitious. Keep yourself busy. Think bigger. Expand your audience. Don’t hobble yourself in the name of “keeping it real,” or “not selling out.” Try new things. If an opportunity comes along that will allow you to do more of the kind of work you want to do, say Yes. If an opportunity comes along that would mean more money, but less of the kind of work you want to do, say No.

You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done.

When you feel like you’ve learned whatever there is to learn from what you’re doing, it’s time to change course and find something new to learn so that you can move forward.