Show Your Work – Austin Kleon

According to my Amazon order date, I preordered Show Your Work by a couple weeks in early 2014 and still waited until now to finally read it.

This was a great, quick read with some inspiring moments. As I read the book, I continued adding people to a list in my head that should read it next. If I could convince everyone on our team to read this, bonus. Our WSU Labs initiative excites me most as a medium for researchers to talk about their work in process.

A couple choicier quotes. First from way #4, “Open up your Cabinet of Curiosities”:

“The problem with hoarding is you end up living off your reserves. Eventually, you’ll become stale. If you give away everything you have, you are left with nothing. This forces you to look, to be aware, to replenish.… Somehow the more you give away, the more comes back to you.” – Paul Arden

And then from way #7, “Don’t Turn Into Human Spam”:

“If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community. If you’re only pointing to your own stuff online, you’re doing it wrong. You have to be a connector. The writer Blake Butler calls this being an open node. If you want to get, you have to give. If you want to be noticed, you have to notice. Shut up and listen once in a while.”

Also in that section, the story of knuckleball pitchers comparing techniques rather than hiding them, was great.

It will be interesting to see how the other book on my shelf titled Show Your Work compares to this one.

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