Show Your Work! By Austin Kleon: Summary and Lessons

How to become findable when you hate the idea of self-promotion.

Dan Silvestre
10 min readJul 30, 2021



“Make stuff you love and talk about stuff you love and you’ll attract people who love that kind of stuff. It’s that simple.”

Rating: 9/10

Related: Steal Like an Artist, Keep Going, The War of Art, Ignore Everybody, The Practice, The Creative Habit

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Show Your Work! Short Summary

In Show Your Work, Austin Kleon helps artists who hate the idea of self-promotion become findable. Steal Like an Artist was about stealing influence and ideas from other people. Show your work is about how to influence others by letting them steal from you. Highly recommended reading for artists and creative people.

A New Way of Operating

“Creativity is not a talent. It is a way of operating.”—John Cleese

When I have the privilege of talking to my readers, the most common questions they ask me are about self-promotion.

It’s not enough to be good. In order to be found, you have to be findable. I think there’s an easy way of putting your work out there and making it discoverable while you’re focused on getting really good at what you do.

Almost all of the people I look up to and try to steal from today, regardless of their profession, have built sharing into their routine.

Instead of maintaining absolute secrecy and hoarding their work, they’re open about what they’re working on, and they’re consistently posting bits and pieces of their work, their ideas, and what they’re learning online. Instead of wasting their time “networking,” they’re taking advantage of the network. By generously sharing their ideas and their knowledge, they often gain an audience that they can then leverage when they need it -for fellowship, feedback, or patronage.

A book for people who hate the very idea of self-promotion. An alternative, if you will…



Dan Silvestre

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