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So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love Kindle Edition
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Not only are pre-existing passions rare and have little to do with how most people end up loving their work, but a focus on passion over skill can be dangerous, leading to anxiety and chronic job hopping. 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.
Cal reveals that matching your job to a pre-existing passion does not matter. 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, and will change the way you think about careers, happiness, and the crafting of a remarkable life.
--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 & 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."
--This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
About the Author
- ASIN : B0076DDBJ6
- Publisher : Grand Central Publishing (Sept. 18 2012)
- Language : English
- File size : 1740 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Sticky notes : On Kindle Scribe
- Print length : 233 pages
- Best Sellers Rank: #32,242 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Top reviews from Canada
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Like all words, “passion” can be interpreted in many ways and there can still be arguments that what is described here is not a problem with passion in itself. Yes, there are several cases described in the book of people who reached success over a series of unexpected journeys but one could make a case that those were journeys to discover their “true” passion. I can definitely relate to that. After all, the descriptions in the book about what their success looks like (and feels like to them) matches the descriptions of passionate people. Maybe these people discovered their passion eventually.
To me, that is still dangerous because of the messaging it sends to everyone. Indeed, there are such cases described in the beginning of the book (there’s a chapter titled “The Dangers of Passion”). On the other hand, if it really is passion that is responsible for success, then this book is a recipe for finding your passion.
In the end, it doesn’t matter if passion is what gives you joy in your work. The important thing is reaching that state and this book describes how you can get there. We sometimes have a very immutable view of ourselves. But we are constantly learning and growing and changing. What we feel are our passions change with time. So, regardless of whether you are passionate about sticking to passion or not, this book is likely to help you.
People at the beginning of their career bombarded with advice like "Just follow your passion and everything will fall into place" or people unhappy with their career and wondering why and what to do next.
What you will not learn from this book:
A clear 10 steps strategy to be so good that people can't ignore you.
What you will learn from this book:
Why people are happy at work and why some people aren't (backed by science and a lot of anecdotes)
Why Newport thinks that "Follow your passion" is bad advice and what you should do instead (Grow your "career capital", go after more control, find a "work mission, etc.)
How Newport and people he met to write this book applied all of this to their career.
What I did not like about this book:
TOO MANY repetitions and anecdotes, to a point where it was really annoying, the book could be half the size without it.
What I did like about this book:
The book is a good starting book if you questioning yourself about your career.
I did not agree with everything Newport is saying, but I think that it's not the point, the book is written manifesto style, and it feels more like a friend explain to you his discovery and thinking about occupational happiness vs an expert on the subject giving a 10 step strategy.
Newport refers to a lot of acclaimed books, concept, and research and it's nice to have them in the same place. I'll probably read a lot of them.
- What he's trying to say is incredibly valuable and logical. Though I haven't yet worked out yet how this applies in my own life, I sense that the path of learning to like where and how I work and build on it, is not only valuable but freeing. I don't feel trapped by one path that I must succeed in or *melodramatically* all will be ashes and dust!
Bad - not a deal-breaker, but sometimes the constant references and refreshers on the previous rules throughout got a little tiresome. Still, it is probably better that he did that. I have a very clear idea of what the rules are :P
- though he emphasized that this book is not a step by step guide, I wish there was a summary written of all the points in this book dedicated to one or two pages. Still, maybe that's a good thing too: you don't have to rely on his summary, he probably expects that you'll write your own. I know I will 😊
All in all, excellent read! Well worth anyone's time and energy!
Top reviews from other countries
This book is particularly relevant for people looking to be gain more control over their lives or starting their own business. For this type of reader this book will be very valuable before you make the jump and will hopefully provide the confidence that it’s the right time for you and equip you with some tools to increase the chances of success.
Below are some of the things I took away from the book:
Thanks Cal, magnificent work!!
• Choosing a job based on following your passion is often bad advice
• The advice of following your passion is common and heard from high performing executives such as Steve Jobs. But in Jobs’ case he did the exact opposite: he was not initially passionate about technology and business but studied Western history and dance
• Life happens in stages and passion takes time to develop
• Passion is a side effect of mastery
• Many people don’t realise this and feel they are failing at life which results in chronic job-hopping and crippling self-doubt. Knuckle down, work hard and be patient.
Adopt a Craftsmen Mindset
• Don’t think about what the world can offer you (the Passion Mindset), think what you can offer the world (the Craftsmen Mindset)
• If you focus on what the world can offer you then the daily grind will lead to frustration and unhappiness
• Adopting the craftsmen mindset means that you must earn it and this can be liberating when you achieve success by putting the hard work
• To make it to the top is rare. Supply and demand dictates that you need rare and valuable skills to make it to the top
• You must work hard - and smart - to accumulate rare and valuable skills if you want to make it to the top
• It’s not how many hours you put in, it’s how you spend those hours
• “Deliberate practice” has been shown to be crucial in improving performance and reaching a high level
• If you work in a knowledge environment or professional services and you can figure out how to incorporate deliberate practice into your schedule then you should accelerate past your peers
• Measure your time to make sure you’re allocating enough time to the high value activities. This will likely annoy people as you become less available by email and phone. (just like my boss, hey maybe that’s why he’s my boss???)
• Think about your sector and job title to determine whether you need one skill (winner takes all) or multiple skills (auction market).
• Then go and put in the hard graft acquiring the skill(s) that you need to progress. This will likely be uncomfortable and unnatural. Be patient, it will pay off.
Gaining Control in your career
• Companies that provide control to their employees outperformed their peers while the employees themselves are happier and more fulfilled
• Be wary of radical life changes to gain more control of your destiny. You must have accumulated significant career capital – i.e. rare and valuable skills and ideas – to be valuable to prospective customers.
• Many people underestimate the need for this and assume they’ll figure it out as they go along. This OFTEN results in failure. I’ve seen a few friends fall in to this trap!
• Gaining more control will also be challenging since if you have the requisite career capital then your employer will likely prize you highly and not want you to work less.
• Gaining more control can only be executed well by those people that understand when they have the necessary skills. Many others will make the mistake of seeking control at the wrong point and wind up failing in their venture.
Have a mission but be patient finding it
• Having a worthwhile mission to accomplish in your career can be incredibly rewarding but the reality of creating one is challenging
• It often requires several years and accumulation of career capital before you have the requisite knowledge and expertise to identify a noble cause.
• People make the mistake of trying to take on missions without having the skills to back it up which results in failure. Suppress these instincts until you’re ready
• Missions are more likely to be successful when they are remarkable and are marketed well
The premise of the book covers picking a skill that is "rare and valuable" and then going all in to becoming "So good they can't ignore you". This is done through the craftsman mindset; where you are continously learning and honing in on your craft through "deliberate practice" (getting out of your comfort zone to learn new things).
Cal seems to comfortably dismiss the fact that it doesn't matter if you don't like what you're doing. All that matters is that you get "so good" and acquire "career capital" - A term that can be similarly described to becoming more valuable in the marketplace.
Although I agree with honing in on your craft and the topic of mastery, i cannot fathom that just because you're good at something, you become "passionate about it" or end up "loving what you do".
It's the same as saying "I'm a master at making French fries, hence I love what I do and I am passionate about it". What if a person where to pick something and become a master at the craft but hate their life? Hate that they didn't pick something they had a deep interest for instead? Or were innately good at? What if you are getting good at the wrong thing? It leads to regret.
The author completely disregarded the fact of playing to your strengths, personality types and how some jobs and trades may be better suited to the end-user than others. There's more to it than just putting in the hours and getting good at what you do.
In summary, I would advise everyone to read this book. It gives you insights that can alter the trajectory of your life in a positive way. But please consider doing something you have a an interest in as you'll end up with nothing to lose. Being good at something valuable that you also have a deep interest in. Don't rely on "developing that passion" once you're really good as it simply is not guruanteed!
I was someone who constantly felt like I needed to be elsewhere or in another job (my dream job) and I felt like I needed to get that job or work in that area to feel happy and be satisfied with my life. Also, as my "dream job" was in something else to the thing I had trained in and worked in for the past 8/9 years, I also felt helplessly lost and at my wit's end- I felt like I didn't have the skills and didn't know how to get them. Essentially, I was playing the "helpless victim" role in my very own Hollywood blockbuster and had forgotten that I had to work and test myself to get my degrees and professional qualifications.
However, I was recommended this book by a friend and it has really changed my outlook on my present job and what I want to do in the future. Cal explains numerous things (and I won't even try - other people have done better than I could), but the big thing that impacted me was that the people who were happy in their jobs were happy because they were good at their jobs - it wasn't because it was their dream job, but due to their competence in the job and the other two big areas (explained in his book). This impacted me because I knew it to be true from looking at a few other people in my area of work and because I have been doing some other coaching which has helped open my eyes in regards to where my feelings and therefore passions come from (my thinking - see Michael Neill's TED talk as an introduction).
Anyway, I fully recommend this book, especially if you are someone who feels like you are constantly chasing or searching for that job that will give you fulfilment.
This to me was the book form of the same mindset. Do a thing you might not like or be naturally any good at if that's what the market says is valued.
The example of two people who both change career, one jumps in with no real plan and it doesn't work out. The other transitions to a new career, building skills and not putting all their eggs in one basket immediately. Both approaches have merit, the first is high risk but if it works the payoff can be big (the early bird gets the worm). Cal uses it as an example of why following your passion is bad advice but I think that's not the lesson to be learned from that.
I've seen and heard nothing but praise for this book so perhaps it was just the wrong book at the wrong time for me personally.
Deep Work on the other hand I would recommend highly.