Book: So Good They Can't Ignore You

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love (New York, NY: Hachette Book Group, 2012)

This Book Goes Against The Tide

How often do you hear the career advice to simply “follow your passion and the money will follow”? 

As you can see from the title, this author has taken a contrarian perspective on careers. Essentially what he says is that you need to work your tail off to develop specific skills, and the passion will follow. He uses a nice variety of real-life stories to sell you on his thinking. 

I’m A Fan of the Author

I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a fan of Cal Newport, his thinking, his blog, and the idea that hard work is most often a better path than relying on crazy dreams and passion.

My only wish is that I would have crossed paths with him and this book while I was in college. My career would probably have been much less ziggy and zaggy!

You’ll Learn About Steve Martin Too

I found this book to be a fascinating read. I especially liked the story of how he got the title of the book from a quote that comedian Steve Martin made during an interview with Charlie Rose.

The story about Steve Martin led me to buy and read his autobiography, Born Standing Up. It was enjoyable too, partially because I had seen Martin deliver his “wild and crazy guy” stand-up routine at Iowa State when I was in college there.

To learn the true story of his success via his book was a lot of fun. Trust me, Steve Martin paid his dues through years and years of practice before his huge success and payday arrived.

I Give It A Thumbs UP

For a unique and valuable perspective on career planning and development, I highly recommend this book (especially for young people).

Newport’s blog and other books are also very good. They include:

UPDATE: Another Perspective On This Topic

After writing this post, I stumbled on an article written by Jason Fried, a very successful entrepreneur and contributor to INC magazine, that he titled, ‘The Fallacy Of “Do What You Love’. Like Cal’s book, it’s worth reading.




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