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show-your-work-cover1Show Your Work
Austin Kleon
Workman Publishing
8/10

We’ve all been there – well, many of us, anyway. That moment that you decide that you want to create something and share it with the world. Personally, I’ve uttered the phrase “I should start a blog” hundreds and hundreds of times in my life. Then it hits you – you don’t know how to share your work with the world.

That’s where Show Your Work comes in.

Created by Austin Kleon, author of similar tome Steal Like an Artist, Show Your Work is full of advice on marketing your creativity – “it’s about the process, not the product.” It’s a great take on networking in the age of social media. In a world full of social networks, selfies, and shallow celebrity, it’s about the quality of connections you make, being honest and authentic, and telling your story by adding to the conversation, not being, as Kelon puts it, “human spam.”

I loved this book, but let me be frank (maybe you can be Shirley): I think this book is better suited for people who need a nudge in putting themselves out there, not necessarily people who have been absorbed in the self-marketing game for years. That’s not to say veterans can’t pick this up like I did (I call myself a veteran loosely here), and find it a refresher, a validation of sorts that your work has not been in vain.

Show your work reads like a blog – it’s essentially just a top ten list, yet happens to be 215 pages long. However, it’s bloggy feeling makes it all the more approachable – I found that not only did I chew through it really quickly, I also found myself flagging passages and quotes, and really wishing I could pin various passages from the book.

The message that really hit it home for me is simple: love what you do. Take pride in it, hone it, share it. Even the messy parts have value – if you’re learning from your mistakes, other people can learn from your process too. Keep on the path towards what you love.

“We all love things that other people think are garbage. You have to have the courage to keep loving your garbage, because what makes us unique is the diversity and breadth of our influences, the unique ways in which we mix up the parts of culture others have deemed ‘high’ and the ‘low.’”