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Cal Newport's clearly-written manifesto flies in the face of conventional wisdom by suggesting that it should be a person's talent and skill -- and not necessarily their passion -- that determines their career path.
Newport, who graduated from Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa) and earned a PhD. from MIT, contends that trying to find what drives us, instead of focusing on areas in which we naturally excel, is ultimately harmful and frustrating to job seekers.
The title is a direct quote from comedian Steve Martin who, when once asked why he was successful in his career, immediately replied: "Be so good they can't ignore you" and that's the main basis for Newport's book. Skill and ability trump passion.
Inspired by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' famous Stanford University commencement speech in which Jobs urges idealistic grads to chase their dreams, Newport takes issue with that advice, claiming that not only is thsi advice Pollyannish, but that Jobs himself never followed his own advice.
From there, Newport presents compelling scientific and contemporary case study evidence that the key to one's career success is to find out what you do well, where you have built up your "career capital," and then to put all of your efforts into that direction.
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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
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
'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
"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."
In this extraordinary eye-opening account, Georgetown University professor Dr. Calvin Newport debunks the long-held traditonal notion that "following your passion" is good career advice.
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