Synopses & Reviews
In this eye-opening account, Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that "follow your passion" is good advice.
Not only is the cliché flawed-preexisting passions are rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work-but it can also be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping.
After making his case against passion, Newport sets out on a quest to discover the reality of how people end up loving what they do. Spending time with organic farmers, venture capitalists, screenwriters, freelance computer programmers, and others who admitted to deriving great satisfaction from their work, Newport uncovers the strategies they used and the pitfalls they avoided in developing their compelling careers.
Matching your job to a preexisting passion does not matter, he reveals. Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before.
In other words, what you do for a living is much less important than how you do it.
With a title taken from the comedian Steve Martin, who once said his advice for aspiring entertainers was to "be so good they can't ignore you," Cal Newport's clearly written manifesto is mandatory reading for anyone fretting about what to do with their life, or frustrated by their current job situation and eager to find a fresh new way to take control of their livelihood. He provides an evidence-based blueprint for creating work you love.
SO GOOD THEY CAN'T IGNORE YOU will change the way we think about our careers, happiness, and the crafting of a remarkable life.
"Countless experts have argued that following your passion is the key to career success and bliss in life. In his lively and engaging first book, Newport (who at the time of writing was an MIT computer science doctoral student and active blogger) debunks this assertion as clichÃ©d, unrealistic, and possibly even destructive. He offers an alternative view that passion takes time and, in fact, is a side effect of being good at what you do. Developing mastery takes study, discipline, and repetition, Newport notes, and many compelling careers have 'complex origins.' Drawing on real-life examples of individuals including Apple Computer founder Steve Jobs, a Silicon Valley venture capitalist, operators of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, and a Harvard professor, and others, Newport examines how meaning, mastery, and passion can emerge in a variety of careers depending on how they are approached. This refreshing view encourages readers to make reasonable choices, buckle down and put in the time, and through trial and error hone their 'career capital.' Written in an optimistic and accessible tone, with clear logic and no-nonsense advice, this work is useful reading for anyone new to the job market and striving to find a path or for those who have been struggling to find meaning in their current careers. Agent: Laurie Abkemeier, DeFiore and Company. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Stop worrying about what you feel like doing (and what the world owes you) and instead, start creating something meaningful and then give it to the world. Cal really delivers with this one."
--Seth Godin, author, Linchpin
"Entrepreneurial professionals must develop a competitive advantage by building valuable skills. This book offers advice based on research and reality--not meaningless platitudes-- on how to invest in yourself in order to stand out from the crowd. An important guide to starting up a remarkable career."
--Reid Hoffman, co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn and co-author of the bestselling The Start-Up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career
"Do what you love and the money will follow' sounds like great advice -- until it's time to get a job and disillusionment quickly sets in. Cal Newport ably demonstrates how the quest for 'passion' can corrode job satisfaction. If all he accomplished with this book was to turn conventional wisdom on its head, that would be interesting enough. But he goes further -- offering advice and examples that will help you bypass the disillusionment and get right to work building skills that matter."
--Daniel H. Pink, bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind
"This book changed my mind. It has moved me from 'find your passion, so that you can be useful' to 'be useful so that you can find your passion.' That is a big flip, but it's more honest, and that is why I am giving each of my three young adult children a copy of this unorthodox guide."
--Kevin Kelly, Senior Maverick, WIRED magazine
"First book in years I read twice, to make sure I got it. Brilliant counter-intuitive career insights. Powerful new ideas that have already changed the way I think of my own career, and the advice I give others."
--Derek Sivers, founder, CD Baby
"Written in an optimistic and accessible tone, with clear logic and no-nonsense advice, this work is useful reading for anyone new to the job market and striving to find a path or for those who have been struggling to find meaning in their current careers."
A tough-love, contrarian approach to career advice based on the authorand#39;s widely viewed TEDx Talk (more than 6 million views), in which he confronts readers on how to work through their excuses, mistakes, and whatever is holding them back to achieve the meaningful and happy careers they desire.
Larry Smith is a long-time faculty member at the University of Waterloo in Canada. Although trained as an economist, over the last couple of decades, Smith has become something of a andldquo;career whispererandrdquo; for his smart and ambitious students (Waterloo is regarded as the MIT of Canada).
In short, scores of students have been drawn to Smith in the hopes that he can help them discover their passion in life -- so that they can graduate and head off in their true career direction. Smith makes it clear that there are only a few souls in this world who are born knowing exactly what they want to pursue in their life. For everybody else, we need to make a serious and concerted effort to pinpoint what our real passion is.
In his straight-forward, no-nonsense approach, Smith walks the reader through all the usual excuses, fears, and worries that most people have about trying to find their true career direction. Itand#39;s not an easy task, but one that is essential for anyone who aspires to have not just a good career, but a great career.and#160;
Peppered with case studies from everywhere (Smithandrsquo;s stunning TEDx talk on this subject has been viewed by more than 6 million people from all over the world and continues to generate thousands of new views everyday), his unusual take on the challenging conundrum of finding oneand#39;s direction is both universal and timeless.
About the Author
LARRY SMITH is an adjunct associate professor of economics at the University of Waterloo. He is a recipient of the University of Waterlooandrsquo;s Distinguished Teacher Award.
During his longstanding tenure, Smith has taught more than 23,000 students, representing more than 10 percent of UWandrsquo;s alumni. And, of course, millions from all over the world have viewed his provocative TEDx talk, and the numbers continue to grow on a daily basis.andnbsp;
Professor Smith andnbsp;is also president of Essential Economics Corporation, an economic consulting practice that serves a wide range of public and private clients. The firm specializes in forecasting and in the economics of innovation and development.
He also advises UW students who start their own ventures. Smith has now worked with more than 450 teams of student entrepreneurs. Many have gone on to create companies of significant size and success. They include enterprises in such industries as communications, software, robotics, culture, entertainment, design, real estate, and professional services.