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So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love | [Cal Newport]

So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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 - pre-existing 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 listening 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.

©2012 Cal Newport (P)2012 Hachette Audio

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  •  
    Philip D. Mann Oklahoma City, OK, United States 10-23-12
    Philip D. Mann Oklahoma City, OK, United States 10-23-12 Member Since 2010
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    "Too Busy to Find Your Passion?"

    Interesting take on the "craftsman mindset" versus the flawed "passion mindset," an idea supported by work from Daniel Pink, Malcolm Gladwell, and many others. It is absolutely true that business (and some consultants) often go in the exact-opposite direction shown by decades of strong research.

    I recommend this book for entrepreneurs and lifestyle designers.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Cambridge, ON, Canada 12-24-12
    Jason Cambridge, ON, Canada 12-24-12 Member Since 2008

    ZEN. LDS. GTD. FTW.

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    "A bit like Chinese Takeout"
    Is there anything you would change about this book?

    The book title is a little misleading. It should have been called "Triangulate" or "You're not there yet".


    What was most disappointing about Cal Newport’s story?

    The book isn't really about becoming really good at something. It's about finding work in life that is satisfying and remarkable, and that is done by working at things that interest you until you land that dream job. Cal claims he debunks the idea to 'follow your passion', but in my mind he fails to because all of the people mentioned in the book followed their interests and passions and tried various things to get to their life's work or calling in life.


    What about Dave Mallow’s performance did you like?

    The perfect voice for this book and his reading was flawless.


    Was So Good They Can't Ignore You worth the listening time?

    Not for me. After listening to it I felt I didn't learn a single thing. But then again, I'm 42 and likely not his target audience.


    Any additional comments?

    The advice to 'follow your passion' has not been debunked by Cal's book, rather, he just injected more realism and substance to it.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Timothy St. Albert, AB, Canada 11-11-13
    Timothy St. Albert, AB, Canada 11-11-13 Member Since 2012
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    "Refreshingly HONEST!"
    Any additional comments?

    I love how practical and grounded "So Good" is. I drank the success Kool-Aid of loopy books like "The Secret" for a few years there only to realize how disconnected from reality that whole scene is. In retrospect, I wish I would have read "So Good" FIRST. It's not the sexiest book - no promises of fancy cars or mansions. Instead, it's the gritty bare-knuckled reality of getting good and (in my opinion), getting PAID. Yes you have to grind it out getting really damned skilled at something. Yes it takes time, practice, and failure. "So Good" is refreshingly honest and guides you and I through that journey of becoming, well, "So Good They Can't Ignore US". Thank-you Cal Newport for writing such a fantastic book. Anytime another entrepreneur asks me for a good book recommendation, especially newer entrepreneurs, this is the FIRST book I recommend.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer BRISBANE, Australia 07-19-13
    Amazon Customer BRISBANE, Australia 07-19-13

    I walk at least an hour a day - so audio books are a great fit for me to finish a book in a week rather than the 1-2 months I normally need!

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    "There are no shortcuts - is my takeaway"
    Where does So Good They Can't Ignore You rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    As the first Audio book I listened to, I think it was a very good choice. I was recommended the book from a Venture Capitalist at 500 Startups.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Thomas my favorite character, mostly because his story seemed to be a stark example of someone following a sort of spiritual path to find their passion, only to discover a magical transformation didn't take place with his satisfaction level.It was also a nice way to finish off the book referring back to Thomas who ended up putting in the hard yards over 10 years to get really good at something - again a stark contrast - to those seeking a shortcut.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    No extreme reaction given it validated many of the things I have done over 20 years to build up "career capital" and the book nicely dovetails content from other books I've read such as "Outliers & 10,000 hours" and "Where good ideas come from & adjacent possible". i.e. by doing the hard work and getting good over 10k hours one is more likely to be able to see the opportunities that lay beyond the cutting edge - in the adjacent possible.


    Any additional comments?

    By sidelining the idea of passion as a driver, and the language around the "passion carrot" (as I put it) industry I think Cal Newport's book helps one to focus in on deepening one's skills (career capital) which I find to be very practical and a nice reminder to me to be more cognoscente about the way I achieve this in my work.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Erin LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 06-12-13
    Erin LAS VEGAS, NV, United States 06-12-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Good Counter to all the "Passion" Career Lit"

    I often listen to books in the business/ career genre, and have long been troubled by the fact that I really had no idea how to change the downtime activities I enjoyed into my career. I really don't know how to transition from video games and reading sci-fi/fantasy fiction into a sustainable career, and I wasn't sure if I even wanted to try. This book made me realize that maybe I don't have to.

    I felt as though the book was a little slow getting into it, but in the end I am glad that I listened to the full book. I really enjoyed that each point he made was tied to a real person interviewed by the author, it made it easier to implement the information in the book. The book's conclusion, in which the author describes the application of his findings in his own life, gave me a lot of ideas about how to improve my own work.

    If you have been told by someone that you won't be happy at work unless you "find your passion" and have been discouraged by such mantras, you will enjoy this book. And you won't continue to feel like an un-passionate weirdo in this passion-oriented culture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    mpb new york city 06-12-13
    mpb new york city 06-12-13 Member Since 2010
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    "Just average"
    Would you try another book from Cal Newport and/or Dave Mallow?

    Good stories but nothing that stroked me or inspired. I already forgot most of the content.


    How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

    Give listener points to remember. One, two, three


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Sanjaya Jakarta, Indonesia 04-12-13
    Sanjaya Jakarta, Indonesia 04-12-13 Member Since 2013
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    "A Better Alternative to The Common Career Advice"
    What did you love best about So Good They Can't Ignore You?

    I love the idea that follow you passion is a bad idea, for most people. I love it because I have difficulties in the past to follow my passion and develop a career out of it. And for so long I feel guilty about it. But now, I am free of guilt.

    Cal Newport also give an alternative by giving the way of the craftman mindset. He argue that rather that follow you passion at the beginning, you start by accumulating a career capital by doing something good. You build your career capital so that you can have a rare and valueable skill. With that skill you can make a career that have the traits of a great career such as control, freeedom and mission. And then the passion will grow.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Cal is my favourite character because he is the hero in a quest to find a way to hae a great career.


    Have you listened to any of Dave Mallow’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No I haven't heard other Dave Mellow's performance and this is my first audio book. Nevertheless, I like his voice, it is clear and easy to follow.


    What’s an idea from the book that you will remember?

    How to build accumulate career capital that can translates to a great career with control and freedom.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Marcus Bangalore, India 01-01-13
    Marcus Bangalore, India 01-01-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Brilliant"
    Where does So Good They Can't Ignore You rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    A lot of good well researched material.Quite ground breaking. Somewhere towards the 2/3rd to 3/4th part of the book he started rambling a bit.


    What did you like best about this story?

    The fact about chess players, the ones who did regular tournaments did not improve as much as those who did serious study.


    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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