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Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design [Paperback]

Laurence G. Boldt
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 25 2009
The most innovative, unconventional, and profoundly practical career guide available?newly revised and updated

With today?s economic uncertainties, millions of Americans realize they must seize control over their own career paths. They want work that not only pays the bills but also allows them to pursue their real passions. In this revised edition, Laurence Boldt updates and revises his revolutionary guide to meet the challenges of the twenty-first century workplace. The first part of this book helps readers to identify the work that they really want to do, while the second provides practical, active steps to finding or creating that work. Zen and the Art of Making a Living goes beyond inspiration, providing a proven formula for bringing creativity, dignity, and meaning to every aspect of the work experience.


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The bad old days of multiple-choice-test career counseling are over. It takes more than a #2 pencil and a computer to find your life's work, as career consultant Laurence G. Boldt tells us in Zen and the Art of Making a Living, a hefty but lighthearted tome that will help you find yourself and your place in the world. Boldt is quite up-front about it, though: it's a long, hard journey to get there. But his uplifting prose and liberal doses of inspirational quotes from wise men and women provide support for the weary traveler. Indeed, in between learning how to find the kind of work that strikes the right chord for you, figuring out what skills and talents you'll need to succeed at it, and righteously persisting until you get your reward, you may find lapses and stumbling blocks you hadn't expected--but Boldt has seen them all and finds the right words at the right time to keep you moving. Like a traditional career book, Zen and the Art of Making a Living includes résumé advice and worksheets for narrowing down and sticking with your goals; however, it takes off from there to guide the reader on a quest for spiritual fulfillment through work, something you won't find elsewhere. This updated edition contains plenty of Internet-related information and other resources unavailable in 1990 and is invaluable for anyone concerned about his or her future in the world of work. --Rob Lightner --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Laurence G. Boldt is a writer, career consultant, and lifetime student of Eastern philosophies, with more than a decade of experience helping people shape their dreams into practical realities. He is the bestselling author of Zen and the Art of Making a Living, How to Find the Work You Love, and Zen Soup. He lives in Santa Barbara, California..

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The wisdom in these pages is vast Nov. 30 2003
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
This book certainly guides the reader effectively through the self-exploration necessary to find a new career direction. But beyond this, is does far, far more.
The author is deeply insightful in a whole spectrum of matters that would improve anyone upon the reading. The book discusses issues at the deep roots of the problems that Americans find themselves facing today, the problems that they may not have even realized were there, but upon reading this book say: "Ah. Yes, that's it, exactly." This book answers questions you didn't realize you were asking.
To be fair, it is possible that some may not understand everything in the book upon first reading -- many of the ideas are far more sophisticated than what we're used to hearing, and one may need to become more aware before realizing the wisdom in these pages. Yet a 15-year old would vastly benefit from the reading, if only to place the idea in her mind that there are possibilities in her life beyond the ones she's most-likely been told about.
Even if you already have chosen a career, or think you're too young to begin thinking about one, you should read this book. You will not fail to benefit from the reading. Many people do not have this kind of understanding within their lifetimes.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Fresh Perspective on Career Building July 1 2003
Format:Paperback
Like other career books, this one was most valuable to me in the questions it posed (much like "What Color Is Your Parachute?"), and is not something I read cover to cover.
It is especially effective in assessing what you "like to do" versus "what type of job you do." You need to be disciplined to really make this book work--disciplined enough to set aside time each week to consider career options and conduct a strategic job search.
Overall, an excellent job resource that I recommend to friends who are considering a career change.
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Format:Paperback
By far, the best career "Bible" I have ever seen. I refer to it regularly, as I shape my life as a self-employed person. It isn't just a motivational book, but is jam-packed with the real "work" of taking an introspective, spiritual approach to acjieving a life-work balance.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Making a living VS. having a *life* Dec 9 2002
Format:Paperback
Boldt's little subsection about "The Little King" complex/ideal that Western society tends to program us to pursue (ie. the TRUE "American Dream:" every person a compulsive control-freak striving to make himself master of his own little universe, vis-a-vis the cookie-cutter tract home in the suburbs and the endless remote controls and the children/spouse to lord over) is simply dead on and worth the price of the whole book!
Boldt prepares us for the inevitable "know thyself" component with an incisive but admittedly lengthy section on "knowing thy environment, from which ye are produced"---excellent social history and cultural analysis, guided by a fair bit of Eastern philosophy. This is the foundation, from which self-knowledge and thereafter self-guidance can grow.
It's not a quick or easy process, so those of you with your TV-lobotomized 15-second attention spans who are looking for a quick fix in career planning should probably look elsewhere.
This book excels mainly in helping you figure out how to *have a life,* rather than how-to-make-as-many-bucks-as-possible-in-today's-corporate-jungles-without-turning-yourself-into-a-hopelessly-miserable-wreck-of-a-human-being, which is unfortunately what most people hope for when they turn to a "career guidance" resource. Which is the only reason I'm giving it 4 stars instead of 5.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Resource! Dec 2 2002
Format:Paperback
Zen and the Art of Making a Living is a great, insightful resource for exploring, and working towards, meaningful career goals. It is chock full of material for every type of reader and learner. From well-written essays to thought through exercises, this book will help anyone re-think their work life and enable them to make positive changes. GREAT BOOK!
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1.0 out of 5 stars 99% Zen - 1% career planning Sept. 17 2002
Format:Paperback
This book is very long winded. I started from the first page a preface that lasted some 50 pages. I then had to waded through 37 more pages of social history and philosopy to get to Chapter 1. I thought the theme of the book is to plan your career and life with methods from Zen. Instead, I get all these wordy pages that says nothing. A great deal of the over 100 pages I got through could have been sumed up in 15 pages. It remainded me of a teacher in an electronic class I took who would always stray off the subject matter and talk for hours about old sea stories or the chemical compounds in food instead of the matter at hand. If the author's job is to help me plan my life; he's failed miseribly. I've NEVER came across a book that had a Preface that's 52 pages long. I read prefaces to maximize the use of the book. Yes, the author gave 5 ways to use the book but to start off with this universal study of man's place in the cosmos isn't my ideal of how to get my career planned. My advise to him is take this book and rewrite it. Shave off 50 - 60% of it and try again. If there's any useful tid bits in the book why should I waded through 700 pages to find those few pages of interst. I'm planning a career not taking a Social Studies class. I'm disappointed.
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By A Customer
Format:Paperback
After reading many career planning guides, I have found that "Zen and the Art of Making a Living" is perhaps the most thoughtful, life-changing book ever written on the subject. While many books are geared towards assisting you in fixing your career problem, whether it be by finding a "better job" or finding a job that fits your personality type. The "Zen" book goes deeper than mere quick-fix career books by presenting us the opportunity to go on a journey to discover our purpose for being here. Given the time we are living in now, I think more and more people are recognizing their desire for meaningful work. Go on the journey, there is nothing to lose -- you have only to learn more about yourself, your world, and your destiny!
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