The idea of a calling received newfound modern attention in Bellah et al's (1985) "Habits of the Heart". Building on this brilliant beginning, careers literature has boomed in recent years as researchers and careers counsellors have attempted to find ways for people to find greater meaning and purpose in their careers.
Hardy's "Fabric of this World" is a stellar review of the history of calling and vocation, turning a challenging history into a pleasing page-turner that I read in no time at all. Hardy's "Fabric" was published only six years after Bellah's seminal work, and provides a deep foundation that puts "Habits of the Heart" in context, but also offers a wonderfully solid theoretical platform from which research in recent times has launched. That this book was written before we had any of the research knowledge that we currently enjoy is a credit to the detailed and high quality research Hardy put into creating "Fabric".
While the final chapter deals with 1990's management theory a little too much for my liking, the historical review and discussion of how we find meaning and purpose in work through a 'service' prism was edifying.
I highly recommend this book. Simple, succinct, satisfying.