Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: Show Your Work

I learned about Show Your Work from a bag dump of all places. Fortunately, the library had it, so it was easy enough to get my hands on.

For reasons I can't fully explain, I started off reading the book with a bit of a negative attitude. Who was this Ausin Kleon character to dispense pithy bits of wisdom; every chunk he offered up I mentally tried to find fault in.

And then at around page 40 it hit me: nearly every bit of advice he was offering was something I was already doing and fully believed in. Have a place on the web that's not connected with a social network? Check. Share your discoveries with others, instead of hording them. Check. Read obituaries. Check (see rule #1). Share every day. Check. And so on. It's almost scary how much of Kleon's advice I can get behind. In a number of cases, he gave voice to a habit or behavior I intuitively knew was a good thing but hadn't found the words to express.

For someone like myself who attempts to blog every work day, Share Like An Artist is both confirmational as well as inspirational. I already know the value of publishing every day, but with Share Like An Artist I have a few fresh approaches I can take to finding meaningful content. He also provides solid guidelines to help you keep from publishing junk, something that's awfully easy to do on the web. I found the diagram on page 124 to sum up the challenge well:

(Under Sharing - Hoarder)
(Smart Sharing - Contributor)
(Over Sharing - Spammer)

Perhaps it was the short, anecdote filled nature of the book that started me off on the negative path. This sort of book is intentionally short and readable, but that can also come off as flimsy and disposable.

In many respects, it reminds me of a discussion I had about The Dip a number of years ago. I found that tiny volume to be nearly life-altering. Yet the person I was chatting with dismissed it as nothing more than an obvious, lengthy, blog post. Quick books like these may be easy to dismiss, but in both The Dip and Share Like an Artist, there really is quite a bit of value packed into relatively few pages.

Both books are worth reading and re-reading.

Now, go share something.

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