Show Your Work!
Show Your Work!

Show Your Work!

Comedian Steve Martin famously dodges these questions with the advice, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” (Location 19)

Tags: quotes

acknowledges that good work isn’t created in a vacuum, and that creativity is always, in some sense, a collaboration, the result of a mind connected to other minds. (Location 54)

Tags: collaboration, creativity

“In the beginner’s mind, there are many possibilities,” said Zen monk Shunryu Suzuki. “In the expert’s mind, there are few.” (Location 73)

Tags: beginner, quotes, zen

“On the spectrum of creative work, the difference between the mediocre and the good is vast. Mediocrity is, however, still on the spectrum; you can move from mediocre to good in increments. The real gap is between doing nothing and doing something.” (Location 77)

Tags: compound, creativity

good nonfiction was a chance to “watch somebody reasonably bright but also reasonably average pay far closer attention and think at far more length about all sorts of different stuff than most of us have a chance to in our daily lives.” (Location 81)

Tags: nonfiction

The best way to get started on the path to sharing your work is to think about what you want to learn, and make a commitment to learning it in front of others. (Location 95)

Tags: sharing, learning

Share what you love, and the people who love the same things will find you. (Location 99)

Tags: networking, sharing

It sounds a little extreme, but in this day and age, if your work isn’t online, it doesn’t exist. (Location 117)

Tags: sharing

“Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked.” —Steve Jobs (Location 120)

Tags: steve jobs, mortality

thinking about our inevitable end has a way of putting everything into perspective. (Location 125)

Tags: mortality

Obituaries are like near-death experiences for cowards. (Location 140)

Tags: mortality

Obituaries aren’t really about death; they’re about life. (Location 141)

Tags: mortality

it. I like to work while the world is sleeping, and share while the world is at work. (Location 242)

Tags: time management, sharing

Art forgery is a strange phenomenon. “You might think that the pleasure you get from a painting depends on its color and its shape and its pattern,” says psychology professor Paul Bloom. “And if that’s right, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s an original or a forgery.” But our brains don’t work that way. “When shown an object, or given a food, or shown a face, people’s assessment of it—how much they like it, how valuable it is—is deeply affected by what you tell them about it.” (Location 389)

Tags: value, art

Human beings want to know where things came from, how they were made, and who made them. The stories you tell about the work you do have a huge effect on how people feel and what they understand about your work, and how people feel and what they understand about your work effects how they value it. (Location 402)

Tags: value, stories

Personal stories can make the complex more tangible, spark associations, and offer entry into things that might otherwise leave one cold.” (Location 406)

Tags: stories

A good pitch is set up in three acts: The first act is the past, the second act is the present, and the third act is the future. (Location 435)

Tags: stories, pitch

The first act is where you’ve been—what you want, how you came to want it, and what you’ve done so far to get it. The second act is where you are now in your work and how you’ve worked hard and used up most of your resources. The third act is where you’re going, and how exactly the person you’re pitching can help you get there. (Location 436)

Tags: pitch

“The impulse to keep to yourself what you have learned is not only shameful, it is destructive. Anything you do not give freely and abundantly becomes lost to you. You open your safe and find ashes.” —Annie Dillard (Location 475)

Tags: sharing

If you want fans, you have to be a fan first. If you want to be accepted by a community, you have to first be a good citizen of that community. (Location 538)

Tags: social media, collaboration

Stop worrying about how many people follow you online and start worrying about the quality of people who follow you. (Location 545)

Tags: social media, worrying

If you want followers, be someone worth following. Donald Barthelme supposedly said to one of his students, “Have you tried making yourself a more interesting person?” (Location 548)

Tags: quotes, social media, favorite

For him, to be “interest-ing” is to be curious and attentive, and to practice “the continual projection of interest.” (Location 550)

If you want to be interesting, you have to be interested. (Location 551)

And don’t ever ever ask people to follow you. “Follow me back?” is the saddest question on the Internet. (Location 559)

Tags: social media, favorite

“Whatever excites you, go do it. Whatever drains you, stop doing it.” —Derek Sivers (Location 561)

Tags: seek a calling, derek sivers

Brancusi practiced what I call The Vampire Test. It’s a simple way to know who you should let in and out of your life. If, after hanging out with someone you feel worn out and depleted, that person is a vampire. If, after hanging out with someone you still feel full of energy, that person is not a vampire. (Location 569)

Tags: people selection, energy, favorite

You can’t control what sort of criticism you receive, but you can control how you react to (Location 624)

Tags: reacting

And unlike RSS and social media feeds, if you send someone an email, it will land in her inbox, and it will come to her attention. She might not open it, but she definitely has to go to the trouble of deleting it. (Location 697)

Tags: email

You just have to be as generous as you can, but selfish enough to get your work done. (Location 735)

Tags: work

“Anyone who isn’t embarrassed of who they were last year probably isn’t learning enough,” writes author Alain de Botton. (Location 807)

Tags: learning