Show Your Work! Book Review

Book cover

Recently I read a book called Show Your Work!: 10 Ways to Share Your Creativity and Get Discovered by Austin Kleon.
My blog is about the things I like the most such as software design, technology, self-improvement, …
The reason I started again writing my blog is the messages found in this book, so I want to share with you some highlights I took from it…

Following I share parts of the book I found really interesting.

Genius? No thanks: Scenius

There are a lot of destructive myths about creativity, but one of the most dangerous is the “lone genius” myth: An individual with superhuman talents appears out of nowhere at certain points in history, free of influences or precedent, with a direct connection to God or The Muse.

Chapter 1. You Don’t Have To Be A Genius

There’s a healthier way of thinking about creativity that the musician Brian Eno refers to as “scenius”. Under this model, great ideas are often birthed by a group of creative individuals […] who make up an “ecology of talent”. If you look back closely at history, many of the people who we think of as lone geniuses were actually part of “a whole scene of people who were supporting each other, looking at each other’s work, copying from each other, stealing ideas, and contributing ideas”.

Chapter 1. You Don’t Have To Be A Genius

Here the idea of Scenius was really meaningful to me.
I’m the one used to think that some ideas I have are not so important to be shared.
But if you think to the meaning behind “Scenius”, those ideas can matter to someone in this world. It is important to share them, like an amateur would do it.

Amateurs are not afraid to make mistakes or look ridiculous in public. They’re in love, so they don’t hesitate to do work that others think of as silly or just plain stupid.

Chapter 1. You Don’t Have To Be A Genius

The world is changing at such a rapid rate that it’s turning us all into amateurs. Even for professionals, the best way to flourish is to retain an amateur’s spirit and embrace uncertainty and the unknown.

Chapter 1. You Don’t Have To Be A Genius

You have to find your voice.

We’re always being told find your voice. When I was younger, I never really knew what this meant. I used to worry a lot about voice, wondering if I had my own. But now I realize that the only way to find your voice is to use it. It’s hardwired, built into you. Talk about the things you love. Your voice will follow.

Chapter 1. You Don’t Have To Be A Genius

It’s not about Perfection

Don’t worry about everything you post being perfect. Science fiction writer Theodore Sturgeon once said that 90 percent of everything is crap. The same is true of our own work. The trouble is, we don’t always know what’s good and what sucks. That’s why it’s important to get things in front of others and see how they react.

Chapter 3. Share something small every day

I don’t have much to say about this sentence.
It is just a reminder to me… to my “if it’s not perfect it’s not worth it” brain.

Find Inspiration

“Dumpster diving” is one of the jobs of the artist – finding the treasure in other people’s trash, sifting through the debris of our culture, paying attention to the stuff that everyone else is ignoring, and taking inspiration from the stuff that people have tossed aside for whatever reason.

Chapter 4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities

Reading other blogs and books is what I do.
Lots of what I write is inspired by them or things I tried and worked (or did not worked).
Sometimes I don’t remember where I read something, but when I do, it is important to credit the work of the others.
Austin reminds this to us…

Crediting work in our copy-&-paste age of reblogs and retweets can seem like a futile effort, but it’s worth it, and it’s the right thing to do.

Chapter 4. Open up your cabinet of curiosities

Tell a story

Most story structures can be traced back to myths and fairy tales. Emma Coats, a former storyboard artist at Pixar, outlined the basic structure of a fairy tale as a kind of Mad Lib that you can fill in with your own elements: “Once upon a time, therewas __________. Every day, __________. One day, __________. Because of that __________. Because of that __________. Until finally, __________.”
Pick your favorite story and try to fill in the blanks. It’s striking how often it works.

Chapter 5. Tell good stories

This is how I wrote Once upon a time… in Objectsland.

Teach something you learned

The minute you learn something, turn around and teach it to others. Share you reading list. Point to helpful reference materials. Create some tutorials and post them online. Use pictures, words, and video. Take people step-by-step through part of your process.

Chapter 6. Teach what you know

This sentence drove me to start writing about things I know about projects I worked on or about teams I worked with in the past years.
And again…

When you teach someone how to do your work, you are, in effect, generating more interest in your work. People feel closer to your work becaure you’re letting them in on what you know.

Chapter 6. Teach what you know

Learn, learn, learn…

You can’t be content with mastery; you have to push yourself to become a student again. “Anyone who isn’t embarassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough” writes author Alain de Botton

Chapter 10. Stick around

Thanks Austin.