⭑⭑⭑⭑½ (4.5/5 see book reviews)

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon

This book was such an earnest recommendation from Ali Abdaal’s YouTube channel that I bought it.

This is a motivational book that you could devour in 30 minutes or so. But it’s the kind of motivational book that you need in your life from time-to-time.

The author’s goal is to amp you up about sharing things on the internet.

Plus there are a scant few details about what and how to share on the internet.

Most of the advice seems right, and it’s quotable and full of quotes:

Being open and honest about what you like is the best way to connect with people who like those things, too.

– Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough,”

writes author Alain de Botton.

– Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!

There’s a line in here that reminds me of a quote from Euripides: “For this is held as one of the wise principles of mortals: what isn’t good goes unnoticed”

We all like to think we’re more complex than a two-sentence explanation, but a two-sentence explanation is usually what the world wants from us.

– Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!

There’s a list of recommendations at the back which I wish was required of all authors forever:

  • Brian Eno, A year with swollen appendices
  • Steven Johnson, Where good ideas come from
  • David Byrne, How music works
  • Mike Monteiro, Design is a job
  • Kio Stark, Don’t go back to school
  • Ian Svenonius, Supernatural strategies for making a rock ‘n’ roll group
  • Sidney Lumet, Making movies
  • P.T. Barnum, The art of money getting

– Austin Kleon, Show Your Work!

As you might imagine from a book with an exclamation mark in the title, this book is saccharine, but saccharine is enjoyable sometimes.

I enjoyed the book. I’ll probably revisit either it, or this review, often. I saw this book was for sale at the FedEx Office store near my house and that seemed right somehow.


  • Title: Show Your Work
  • Author: Austin Kleon
  • Pages: 224
  • Format: EBook
  • Publisher: Workman Publishing Company
  • ISBN: 076117897X
  • Genre: Personal Development