Book Notes #010 - Show Your Work by Austin Kleon

Rating: 4.5/5 ⭐️

"In order to be found, you have to be findable... Allow the possibility that your work might attract a group of people who share your interests, all you have to do is show your work."

- Austin Kleon

Book Review

  • Main Ideas - Good

  • Stories & Examples - Good

  • Engagement - Good


This book explores 10 ways to share your creativity and get discovered. If you are an artist, writer, content creator, or creative entrepreneur this book will show you how to find an audience for the work you do.


  • Be An Amateur.

The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something. Amateurs know that contributing something is better than contributing nothing"

We are all scared to start from the bottom. To be the worst at something.... to be mediocre, but we all need to start somewhere.

The advantage of being an amateur is that we have nothing to lose. If you can channel the freedom and the spirit of doing something because is an outlet for you to express yourself, don't be scared to share it.

Yes, you might not be the best at what you do, but you will attract the people that love the same things as you.

"Raw enthusiasm is contagious"

  • Take People Behind The Scenes & Share Something Small Every Day.

"Human begins are interested in other human beings and what other human beings do. People really do want to see how the sausage is made."

If you share your work on a daily basis you will start developing a relationship with your audience (however small or big it may be) connection is always better than views.

Remember that at the end of the day, we are all humans, we are all interested in other people's lives. The same goes for your work, we can always make it more interesting.

Document yourself, share the process and reveal your secrets. Literally, what do you do to get results?

Ex. If you are trying to lose weight, what are you eating or how much exercise are you doing? Share your routine or a . Share what you do today to get results tomorrow.

If you writing a book, share what kind of books you are reading as research. If you are trying to build websites, what software are you using? Share a book recommendation on an Instagram story, a thought on Twitter, a drawing or a clip from a podcast.

Sometimes you need to share something to truly know if is something worth sharing... it needs a little social chemistry. Small things get big over time.

Pull down the curtains of what you do. Let people see the process, they will only become more curious about the end result.

"Don't show your lunch or your latte; show your work."

  • Credit Is Always Due.

"If you share the work of others, is your duty to make sure that the creators of that work get proper credit... Don't share things you can't properly credit. Find the right credit, or don't share.

Always giving credit to the source also "leaves a bread-crumb trail" for people to follow if they want to pursue that interest further, allowing them the chance to make themselves an expert in the future.

Sir Isaac Newton had a great saying that reflects this idea.

"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants”.

Great work is always a result of inspiration, guidance and the encouragement of others.

  • Tell Good Stories.

"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"

People pay attention to emotions. Good stories create emotions. Here are the questions you have to ask yourself to see if you have a good story.

  • So what?

  • Why should people care?

Ex. The cat sitting on a mat is not a story. The cat sat on the dog's mat is a story" - John le Carré

Your work does not speak for itself. You have to do the talking. You can't find your voice if you don't use it.

  • You Want Hearts, Not Eyeballs.

"Stop worrying about how many people follow you online and start worrying about the quality of people who follow you... If you want followers, be someone worth following."

There is another saying for this idea.

“Those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind” - Bernard Baruch,

Make stuff you love. Talk about stuff you love. Eventually, you will attract people that love the same things as you. Focus on those people. The true fans.

  • Learn To Take a Punch.

"When you put your work out into the world, you have to be ready for the good, the bad, and the ugly... Do not take criticism personally"

Perhaps the hardest part of this process is to never take criticism personally. At the end of the day, the audience decides if the work is "great" work or not. Value comes from the eyes of the audience, the customer, and the public.

If your work is worth sharing, it will be shared. Take criticism as feedback. Is part of the process to find out what is necessary to keep and what is just extra.

What is a feature and what is a bug? What do people value? What solves a problem?

Let people tell you what is wrong with the work. Change it and see if that fixes the problem. If not, try something else.

Just remember...."Your work is something you do, not who you are"


  • "Is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but about what you have to contribute – the ideas you share, the quality of connections you make, and the conversations you start."- Austin Kleon.

  • "Before we're ready to take the leap of sharing our own work with the world, we can share our tastes in the work of others." - Austin Kleon.

  • As every writer knows, if you want to be a writer, you have to be a reader first" - Austin Kleon.

  • We don't make movies to make money, we make money to make more movies." - Walt Disney

  • Above all, recognize that if you have had success, you have had luck–and with luck comes obligation. You owe a debt, and not just to your gods. You owe a debt to the unlucky" - Michael Lewis


  1. It's okay to be an amateur. We all need to start somewhere.

  2. Take people behind the scenes & share something small every day.

  3. Always give credit to the source of the work.

  4. Learn how to tell good stories.

  5. Focus on the quality people that like your work, not on the number of people that see it.

  6. Do not take criticism personally.