Working Out Loud – Book Synopsis

“Instead of playing career roulette, you invest in deepening relationships. Instead of Networking to get something, you lead with generosity. You make your work visible and frame it as a contribution”

If you’re looking for a book purely on branding or raising your profile, then this book isn’t it. Paradoxically, if you follow what’s in this book then your brand will improve and your profile will be raised.

Why? Well, what this book does beautifully is focus on intent. If you don’t authentically put generosity and contribution at the center of what you do, then you’ll be sniffed out pretty quickly. Brand and profile become a natural byproduct of the work you do rather than the product itself.

The book is split into 4 parts.

  • Part 1: For a better career and life
    • Four stories
    • Improving your odds
  • Part 2: The 5 elements of working out loud
    • The evolution of working out loud
    • Purposeful discovery
    • Building relationships
    • Leading with generosity
    • Making your work visible
    • A growth mindset
  • Part 3: Your own guided mastery program
    • New habits and new mindset in 12 weeks
    • Level 1: Getting Started
    • Level 2: Connecting
    • Level 3: Creating
    • Level 4: Becoming a Linchpin

Each chapter has a few short exercises to complete (Maximum 5 minutes each) – with some longer ones thrown in. If I’d make one change, it’d be to have the 12 week action plan and exercises consolidated in the appendix. I wanted to read the book all the way through before starting on the plan.

What was my key takeaway? The importance of growing my network and sharing the journey of my learning. I’ve been working out loud at Microsoft for a while now, but where I’ve fallen down is trying to share perfect work rather than using my network to help perfect my work.

All in all, a nice easy read with lots of quick, actionable steps. I think John summed it up when he said “Generosity is like a magic key. It makes you feel good while, when applied across your network, it unlocks possibilities”


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