Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon: Book Summary and Golden Lines

Show Your Work by Austin Kleon makes a great case for putting your work out there for the world to see. This book is one of the main reasons I started this blog. Teachers and learners will both benefit from reading this book.

Show Your Work! by Austin Kleon: Book Summary and Golden Lines
Photo by Paul Skorupskas / Unsplash

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Austin Kleon - Show Your Work!

The Book In Three Sentences

  1. If your work isn't out there it doesn't really exist.
  2. Think of putting yourself and your work out there as way to publicly invent yourself.
  3. If you want followers, be worth following.

Golden Lines

(Here's a Golden Lines Resource)

“Online, everyone—the artist and the curator, the master and the apprentice, the expert and the amateur—has the ability to contribute something.”
“Amateurs might lack formal training, but they’re all lifelong learners, and they make a point of learning in the open, so that others can learn from their failures and successes.”

This fits what I think many educators, including myself try to instill in our students. The buzzword right now is “Growth Mindset”. Learning doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age. I also think it’s important to do things that scare you. I know that starting this blog and sharing my thoughts is a little scary to me. I think I am most concerned about the people I know reading what I write. This book gave me the nudge to show my work anyway.

“The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs.”
“It sounds a little extreme, but in this day and age, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. We all have the opportunity to use our voices, to have our say, but so many of us are wasting it. If you want people to know about what you do and the things you care about, you have to share.”

I think it must take a person some time to find their voice in this life. Many people who write say that it helps them clarify their thinking. I’m not sure where a regular writing habit will take me but I am really interested what will come of it. I also look forward to looking back and seeing how my thoughts and interests have changed over time.

“Post as though everyone who can read it has the power to fire you.”

I included this line from the book because it will stop me (I hope) from writing or sharing things that I shouldn’t. Many things people share on social media might be better left in a personal diary rather than broadcast to the world.

“Don’t think of your website as a self-promotion machine, think of it as a self-invention machine. ”

This line sealed the deal for me. I want to see what a show your work habit will build in me or reveal about me. What effect will putting words out into the digital world have for me and others? According to this book there are many beneficial possibilities.

“If you want followers, be someone worth following.”

The point of this line was to caution people to not worry about gaining followers and against putting too much stock in all of the advice from self proclaimed “internet gurus”. Kleon* recommends being authentic and honest which I think I great advice.

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