Book Review “Show Your Work”  by Austin Kleon

Reading Time: 5 minutes



Hi guys! Here’s another quick book review and today I’ll be reviewing “Show Your Work” by Austin Kleon. I read his first book “Steal Like An Artist” and loved it and over a smoothie decided to share my thoughts on his follow up…


The book does exactly as it says on the tin: Kleon’s book is all about creatives sharing their work and making an impact on the world: whether it’s growing their business, sharing their applications/programs or serving their community. In a way I feel that it’s a sequel to his first book “Steal Like An Artist” which is all about how an individual could to grow in their craft by emulating the work of those who have come before and I would recommend buying/borrowing or (stealing) that as a companion to this book.

First of all you will be struck at how beautiful Kleon’s book is. “Show Your Work” displays Kleon’s distinct freehand style that has many simple yet profound drawings scattered throughout the book, adds a visual element that keeps you engaged in the content.




Two ideas that I felt were the main themes of the book were:

  1. You don’t have to be a genius – Join a group of talented and creative individuals and learn to contribute.
  2. Think Process not Product – creatives need to stop obsessing about the finished product and learn to take your audience with you, behind the curtain, & let them know what makes you tick.

Kleon’s style is very personal and friendly and it shows many of his own personal processes, struggles and breakthroughs.

How this can help you

At 215 pages long (And with lots of pictures) it’s not a mammoth read and I read most of it in over an hour on the train. But I found myself referring to at least every other day since I got it.

Those of you who (like me) are learning to code find this an inspiring and motivating read, that will courage you to seek out and connect in the coding community and encourage you to expose your projects to the wider world so that you can get the much needed feedback, critique & support to help you on your journey.

One key idea that stood out is to have amateur mindset. Kleon argues that the world is changing at such a fast rate that we are all becoming amateurs, and to stay ahead we need to commit to lifelong learning. This is even faster in the world of tech with so many languages & frameworks becoming absolete at record pace, coders need to stay humble & open to learning.

As a coder who is at the beginning of their journey, it’s incredibly intimidating to talk about, research, and contribute your ideas to the world of code. But the ideas in this book have taught me that the only way that you can truly learn is to “show your work”, collaborate and open yourself up to new experiences that one enhances yourself and others around you. This book is part of the reason why I started this blog.

Also those who are interested in building up this social media presence, Kleon shares many gold nuggets of advice on the structure, selection & curation on what content you should share. But you need to read the book to find out more!

It’s not a strict ‘how-to’ Book but Kleon’s book contains many ideas are you be continually refer to again and again.

I fully recommend this to any beginner coders as this will serve as helpful guide throughout your journey.



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