Monday, December 18

Summary And Review of "work Like You’re Showing Off!: The Joy, Jazz, And Kick of Being Better Tomorrow Than You Were Today" by Joe Cal

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Executive Summary

In today’s world, we must all strive to be the best we can be at what we do. Work Like You’re Showing Off! urges us to make a connection with the people we interact with every day. Not just casual connections, but real interactions that connect us together in some way, whether it is in a business setting or a personal setting. Make eye contact with those you encounter. Focus on the people you are addressing. Give them your full attention and show them you are interested in what they have to say. Attention and intention is, according to Joe Calloway, one of the best ways of showing off. He also states that most people who are the best show offs do so in a subdued and understated way that you hardly notice it. But you make the connection. It is done with attention and intention. One thing we must remember is that if you say you can do something, you need to do it. If you claim to be the best, you better be, for your integrity is at stake. You need to keep your word in order to be successful. Success itself can be a challenge if we cling to the past success that we have enjoyed. Past success can be an obstacle to getting ahead and moving forward with your life. Sometimes, you just need to let go of the past in order to face the future.

Calloway states that one of the best ways to clear out your mind is to spend as much time as possible with people who see the world differently from you. This is excellent advice to follow. Sometimes it helps to listen to others opinions and ideas. This gives you a wider pool of ideas to pull from, and you may even find that you have many ideas and beliefs in common.  Uncertainty about the future can wreak havoc on someone’s sense of well-being. Not knowing what the future holds can cause hesitation in trying something new. We may not know what is going to happen next, but we have to approach it with the attitude that we can handle whatever comes our way. We must not form opinions of something we have never experienced. We need to experiment and try new things in order to advance to our next level of success. 

I think the most important aspect of this book is trying to figure out what is most important to you. How we conduct our lives, the decisions we make, and the giving of ourselves to others can chart our future course on our way to a successful and productive life.

The Ten Things Managers Need to Know from Work Like You’re Showing Off!

1. If you say you’re going to do something, then do it.

2. Past success is possibly the most challenging obstacle to your ability to move your life to the next level. (pg. 91)

3. Success creates a new reality and with it comes a new set of rules and challenges. (pg. 92)

4. One of the best ways to clear out your mind is to spend as much time as possible with people who see the world differently from you. (pg. 93)

5. What you think of me is none of my business. (pg. 96)

6. If you want to knock the blocks out from under someone’s sense of well-being, just throw a little uncertainty at them. (pg. 109)

7. It’s not about knowing what’s going to happen next. It’s about being okay with knowing that whatever happens next, you can handle it. (pg. 110)

8. Let go of the idea that you don’t like something before you’ve even experienced it. (pg. 115)

9. Everything you do involving human contact should be done as quickly as possible. Be quick. Do it now. Keep your promises.

10. Try to figure out what matters most to you.

Full Summary of Work Like You’re Showing Off!


The dictionary defines a showoff as a person given to pretentious display. According to Joe Calloway, this is a misconception. Showing off is not about being a braggart or trying to draw attention to yourself. You can be low-key and quiet and still be a show off. Customers expect a certain level of service when they walk into your business. When they walk in, look them in the eye, smile, and ask how you can be of service. Do not let your customer find you moaning and complaining about some imagined injustice that has been done to you or how much you hate your job. The “it ain’t my job” thing just doesn’t cut it anymore. Act professional and courteous, and most importantly, act like you know what you are doing. Showing off is going the extra mile to make things happen for your customer, and if you like what you are doing, it can be a lot of fun and bring the satisfaction of a job well done. 

Grand Stupidity and Absurd Bravery

Everyone has something in their mind that they would like to accomplish. We set goals for ourselves, and sometimes these goals can seem unattainable. Many put off reaching for their goals because they don’t have enough money, not enough experience, or even the guts to go for it. Some say they will start a new business as soon as they save enough money or finish school. Sometimes they get enough money and complete their education and their goal is still just sitting there out of reach. They are afraid; afraid to leave their comfort zone and just jump into something that could make them very happy. They want to wait until they have enough experience. Maybe your plan won’t work. All the experience in the world will not help if you do not jump in and give it a try. According to Calloway, “the great disadvantage of experience is the loss of the grand stupidity and absurd bravery that comes with not knowing what works.” (pg. 10) You need to let go and go for it.

All Hat and No Cattle

We strive to be the best at what we do in our everyday lives and in our jobs. We have to make the customer want to come to our place of business. Unfortunately, there are other businesses out there that do the same things we do. How do you get them to come to you? Prove to them that you can do the job. Show them you know what you are doing. Differentiate yourself from the competitor. If you talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. Show the people what you can do. Let It Go Sometimes in our life we feel as though something is holding us back. Something is blocking us from achieving what we want out of life. Something is making us lean on our current crutches and keeping us from moving forward. In order to move to the next level of success, we must get out of our comfort zone and let go of the barriers to our future. This could be as simple as taking the spotlight off of you and putting it on someone else. Try giving for a change instead of always getting. Sure what you have is working, and you are good at it. But in order to proceed to the next level of success, you must let go and pursue things to the next level. This can cause a particular amount of uncertainty, and sometimes it keeps us stuck in our present situation. Get rid of the things that are taking up space in your life. The way to eliminate this is to just let it go. Let go of everyone else’s idea of success. 

The Gold Standard

The gold standard in life is to do what you say you are going to do. If you tell someone you can do something then do it. Don’t tell someone you are going to do something and not do it. Your word is your honor. If you do what you say you are going to do, this makes you a person that people can count on. You can get the job done, and people will remember this. “Consistency is the foundation of success and the great business builder.” (pg. 26) “Consistency is the definition of integrity.” (pg. 26) Get in the Damn Boat and Go Inaction is not an option. If you are given instructions to do something, just do it. Don’t question the assignment or ask why you have to do it. Just do it. Trust your gut feeling and accomplish what you set out to do. What you do can bring value to the company or to your life for that matter because you are known as someone who can do the job and get it done. If you do not know how to do what’s asked of you, give it a shot and look for solutions to the problem. Try things out. Stop talking about it and just do it. Others are willing to help you succeed if you take the first step. You may not succeed. But it won’t be for a lack of trying. “You simply cannot be successful unless you are willing to fail.” (pg. 29)

As Good as You’re Going to Be

You’re good at what you do. You know it and you are pretty proud of that fact. There is always room for improvement. If you are as good as you are going to be, then there is no sense in going on. Every day we must strive to be better, to reach further goals, to be better than we are right now. The better you get the more fun you can have at doing what you do. Stop doing what works and start improving upon what you have done. This is the process of improvement that can change your life. You may be nervous, wondering if change will bring failure. Getting better sometimes means you have to take the plunge into the unknown. This can bring more success, and you can have fun doing it. You should never be as good as you’re going to be.

We See Things as We Are

Having a positive attitude means everything to getting the most out of life. Smile when you are at work. Talk to people. Tell them good morning. Psychologists say that perception is reality. This is true in the way that we look at things. We can take a bad situation and look at it in a different way, and it suddenly doesn’t look so bad. Changing the attitude within ourselves can make us happier and productive. The way we look at things can mean the difference between being miserable or happy. We can find opportunity if we are willing to look at things in a different light. View life as a potential victory, not a failure. Stupid Promises We are the best business in town. That sentence is very powerful. If you think you are the best business in town, then you better be able to prove it. Customer expectations can go from glad to mad if they feel they have been duped. This is the very way to lose business. Expectations and promises are only as good as the delivery. “Do what you’ll say you’ll do.” (pg. 46) If you say you are the best business in town, be the best. Don’t promise something you cannot deliver. “False promises are stupid promises that will kill your career or your business.” (pg. 46)

Let’s Be Too Much

Being good at what you do is satisfying, but it can become boring. We all need a challenge in our lives to become better than ever. Open up your mind and see what floats in. Stop playing it safe and embrace life. Become fully engaged in life and see where it takes you. Think big in the grand scheme of things. If things have gotten easy, then challenge yourself to aspire to greater things.  Imagination Will Take You Everywhere When a company wants change, they search for new innovative ideas. This is the trademark of a successful company. Sometimes the ideas are there. We just have to open our eyes and see them. We must keep learning and growing, because the customer will always want something newer and better. Our success in business and in life depends on how far we allow our imagination to take us.

Get Back Inside the Box

Communication is an important tool in the business world. We may try everything we can to make our business a success, but neglect our customers needs at the same time. It’s time to get back in the box. See what you have that works and improve on it. Solicit feedback from customers. Ask them what you can do to improve your level of service. Sometimes we don’t hear what we want to hear, but it is something we need to hear. As I said earlier, failure is not an option. We cannot get so good at something that we quit trying to become better.

Expect to Connect

Learning to connect is essential to our business and personal lives. Making a connection with those we come in contact with can change our lives dramatically. Look people in the eye. Focus on the person at hand. Make them feel they are really important. It doesn’t have to be anything major. A short acknowledgement can go a long way. Making a connection with people can steer you to the path of success. Going All In Level of commitment is sometimes referred to as “going all in”. We need to look within ourselves and analyze our level of commitment to our jobs, our lives, and ourselves. If you do your job or live your life to the extent you are just getting by, then you need to re-evaluate your goals.

Go for It 

Make the best you can out of living. Challenge yourself every day to be the best you can be at what you do. Joe and Muhammad Calloway states that Joe Namath and Muhammad Ali are prime examples of positive thinking. They both believed in themselves to the degree that they did not believe they could fail at anything they attempted. Some may see this way of thinking as tooting one’s own horn. Others just love the fact that they know they are good. They love the audacity shown when someone says “I am the best there is”. But there are those who know they are good who don’t brag on themselves. They succeed in a more understated way. Their attitude seemed to be, “This is my job. This is what I do.” (pg. 79)

We Haven’t Seen That

Who are you? You know who you are. We need to stop trying to be like everyone else. Take what you know and run with it. You may think others know more than you about life and such things, but they are just like you, trying to figure things out and making it up as they go along. The trick is to just be yourself. That is something that others have not seen. The Pursuit of Happiness What really makes us happy in life? Is it the things we own or the things we want? No. What really makes us happy is what we can do for others. Giving can bring greater rewards and a sense of fulfillment more than anything we could acquire in our lifetime. We can apply this strategy to our workplace as well. In order to succeed in what we do, we must actually like what we are doing. Doing our very best and giving one hundred percent can actually make us feel better and fill us with a sense of accomplishment. If you are not happy in what you do, you’re chances at success are slim at best.

The Enemy of Future Success

The enemy of future success is the past. Everything that has worked up until now is not enough. Take your future to the next level. Get rid of the obstacles that are slowing down forward progress. Create new rules and challenges for yourself. According to Calloway, “Your greatest challenge isn’t to learn something new, it’s to unlearn a lot of what you already know”. (pg. 92) What You Think of Me Is None of My Business All of us want everyone to like us. But occasionally there is a particular person who you just cannot make a connection with. We try and try and nothing we do can sway this person’s opinion of us. It doesn’t matter what they think of you. We cannot spend all our time trying to get everyone to like us. We just need to be the best we can be and focus on doing our job to the best of our abilities. Being sure of ourselves is a quality that is quite attractive and can take you far if this confidence in self is manifested for everyone to see.

Whatever Happens Is Normal

The normal factor: this is the difference between accepting what is handed you and the way you react versus whining and complaining about the weather, the bus being late, or the alarm clock not going off. These are normal things that happen in the course of a day. How we react to them is another story. We must learn to accept things as the come. Bad things won’t always happen, but we have to remember that these things are all part of life and we just need to accept it.

Guess What I Want and Other Stupid Mind Games

If there is something you want out of someone, tell them. People are not mind readers. Assuming that people know what we want is crazy. If you want something, verbalize it. Playing mind games with someone is a horrible thing to do that just keeps perpetuating itself to the point of ruining relationships in our lives and our businesses. I Said I Don’t Know What do you think will happen next? We’ve all been asked this question at one time or another. It’s okay to say “I don’t know”. There’s nothing like a little uncertainty to rock our world. Technology and ways of doing business change on a daily basis, therefore it is next to impossible to be able to set rules, policies, and procedures in stone. It’s okay to not know what is going to happen next. You just have to be able to accept it and handle the job and just do it.

The Golden Rule of Ignorance

Some people think they know everything. This is not the case. Those who think they know everything are missing out on the opportunity of learning something new that can be of value to them in their business or in their life. “Letting go of preconceived notions can spark a new enthusiasm for everything in your life”. (pg. 114) Try new things; listen to others point of view. In doing this, you may find that you really are open to other ways of thinking.

What Have You Done for Me Next?

In today’s business world, everyone wants everything done yesterday. We want instant gratification and instant service. We need to focus our efforts on doing what we say we’re going to do, do it in a timely manner, and deliver quality service. Things don’t always go the way we plan sometimes, therefore if we can’t deliver what we promise in a timely manner, we just need to say so. The patient in the waiting room: If you see them sitting there for a long time, let them know that you haven’t forgotten them. Make them feel that you care for their comfort as well as for their time. The Power Strategy We need to be responsible for our own lives. Letting someone else run our lives gives them the power over us. If we are responsible for ourselves, we retain this power over our future outcome. If things go wrong in your life, take responsibility for it. Don’t try and blame it on someone else. The outcome in everything we do is by our own choosing.

Your Next Best Idea Is Everywhere

Ideas for our business are everywhere. We just need to open our eyes and look around. People who show off are always on the lookout for new ideas and fresh innovation. Many ideas can be used in just about any business there is. You can apply what you learn and see to your own business or your own life. You can also just ask people for their business. Show them what you have to offer. Take your business to the next level by finding your niche. What Matters Most This is the question of the ages. What matters most in my life? What matters most is that you are honest with yourself and true to yourself and those you care for. We must do right by ourselves and stick to our core values and beliefs and success will take care of itself. We must stick with the mission and fulfill the plan. We must be open to change and willing to take our life to the next level. Your own personal mission statement is the basis for a successful life.

Personal Insights

Why I think: With business conditions today, what the author wrote is true because:

With business conditions today, what the author wrote is still very much true. We must go the extra mile and connect with people. If we want them to do business with us, we must be willing to flow with the changes that bring about better ways of doing business. In today’s economy, people are much more selective where they spend their money, and they want as much value as they can get. They need to be wowed and treated as though they were the only customer.  

If I were the author of the book, I would have done these three things differently:

1. I would have elaborated more on some of the chapters where he didn’t go into much detail.

2. I would have used less commonly over-used clichés in my descriptions.

3. I would have bragged on myself less.

Reading this book made me think differently about the topic in these ways:

1. I try to act more professional and knowledgeable at work.

2. I keep looking for things that are holding me back in my career.

3. Just as in doing this book report, I have learned the meaning of the phrase “just do it.”

I’ll apply what I’ve learned in this book in my career by:

1. I will try and conduct myself in a professional and knowledgeable manner at work.

2. I will try and identify obstacles that are preventing me from reaching my goals.

3. I will try and be kind to all people that I interact with and be honest with them and with myself.

Here is a sampling of what others have said about the book and its author:

“Joe Calloway is a showoff who can back it up. Joe Calloway is not just an expert; he’s a world-class expert. Joe Calloway is not just a master; he’s a world-class master. Joe Calloway delivers a lesson of reality that will kick-start your success. Buy his book, read his book, study his book, and implement his book so that you can achieve and show off your world-class mastery, world-class expertise, and wealth.” —Jeffrey Gitomer, author, The Little Red Book of Selling and Jeffrey Gitomer’s Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude

“Calloway teaches you to let go of your excuses, break out of your chains, crawl out of your rut, drop your baggage at the door, then kick the door down and grab life by the throat so you can actually become the person you most admire. I love this book! Finally, a fun, refreshing alternative to the motivational mumbo-jumbo. Instead it’s an action plan for personal excellence.” —Larry Winget, author, It’s Called Work for a Reason! And Shut Up, Stop Whining, and Get a Life

“Show off at work? I’d never thought about it in those terms. Then Calloway wrote this stimulating little book, and it makes perfect sense. He explains how to show off the right way and bring your best to your work every day, and why the biggest beneficiary isn’t your employer or customer (although they’ll love it), but you. So read this book, and start showing off at work. You’ll be glad you did.” —Mark Sanborn, author, The Fred Factor and You Don’t Need a Title to Be a Leader

“Work Like You’re Showing Off isn’t just an inspiring and practical success guide; it’s the very key to personal excellence in the twenty-first century. And here’s the bonus—it’s an absolute blast to read. You’re going to love this book!” —Steve Farber, author, The Radical Edge: Stoke Your Business, Amp Your Life, and Change the World “Calloway always has something to say, and he’s always worth listening to. His new book is straight talk on success. Read it fast!” —Randy Gage, author, Why You’re DUMB, SICK & BROKE . . . And How to Get SMART, HEALTHY & RICH!

There are many authors of motivational books who actually look up to Joe Calloway in his approach to life. Making the most out of what you have and striving to be the best you can be is what this book is all about. It is about taking chances, putting yourself out there and trying different things to help you move forward in your career and in your daily life. Bibliography Retrieved March 21, 2010.  


Contact Info: To contact the author of this “Summary and Review of Work Like You’re Showing Off!,” please email   

David C. Wyld ( is the Robert Maurin Professor of Management at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. He is a management consultant, researcher/writer, and executive educator. His blog, Wyld About Business, can be viewed at  He also has a book summary/review blog that is a collection of his students’ works at   


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