In an unorthodox approach, Georgetown University professor Cal Newport debunks the long-held belief that "follow your passion" is good advice, and sets out on a quest to discover the reality of how people end up loving their careers.
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.
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 clich 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.
Wish there was a shortened version
95% of the book is anecdotes about unbelievable people.
The narrator is intensely boring and you’ll want to listen to it on at least 1.25x - 2x speed.
It is said to be 6 hrs 28 mins and it was a real grind to get through it.
It probably could have been 1-2 hours easy.
That being said, I give it 4 stars because the thesis of the book is eye opening.
A must read
Really frank and honest read on how passion is not everything. Helped me make sense of my disjointed experiences by summing it as 'career capital'
Great outlook on choosing a career
Effectively destroys the "passion" argument.