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So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love Hardcover – Sep 18 2012

4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; unknown edition (Sept. 18 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455509124
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455509126
  • Product Dimensions: 14.6 x 2.9 x 21.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 386 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars 30 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #7,793 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"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, author, Linchpin

"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

"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

"Written in an optimistic and accessible tone, with clear logic and no-nonsense advice, this work is useful reading for anyone new to the job market and striving to find a path or for those who have been struggling to find meaning in their current careers."

--Publishers Weekly

About the Author

Cal Newport, Ph.D., lives in Washington, D.C., where he is a writer and an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University. He also runs the popular website Study Hacks: Decoding Patterns of Success. This is his fourth book.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Seriously, BUY THIS BOOK! I spent years building my career plus nearly $120K in student loans having gained 2 college diplomas, an undergrad degree, plus a master's degree. But I was frustrated not getting ahead in my male dominated industry. So, I thought "oh, I love lifestyle so I'll be a lifestyle and fashion blogger and do what I love" - uhm WRONG! Hahaha - A friend recommended this book to me last year (2015) and after reading this book I deleted the blog and decided to follow this book's advice and be great at my skills - the skills I had mastered for nearly 10 years in my career and which I was highly educated in. Now it's June 2016 and I run my own company (in my career of construction management and property development) and in just under a year my company now manages and invested in total project values of over $53 million dollars! Based on my company's projected growth, I will need to hire 3 employees within the next 6-8 months. Suddenly, my life has changed for the positive by realizing that it was simply because I as unhappy at my previous place of employment and not unhappy with my skills. This book changed my life in such s positive way that I even sent the author a thank you card. Honestly, true story. (Not exaggerating and not paid to say this). I am not claiming this book is guaranteed to do for you what it did for me, but I guess some books can awaken some things in some people in different ways, and this book did it for me. Good luck everyone!
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Format: Hardcover
Put simply, this book contains the kind of career advice our generation badly needs. Cal makes a case against "the passion hypothesis" plaguing our career culture today: where we are churning out high school graduates by the dozens who are taught to choose a job/major they are passionate about, and if they don't know what it is, they should just keep looking until they find it. I fell into this trap too, and ended up "major-hopping" my first few years of undergrad, completely unsure of what I wanted to do with my life. Cal's main argument is that you cannot find passion in an abstract idea; it has to be constructed over the years. Usually, we romanticize about certain careers or fields, and later learn they are the exact opposite of what we had imagined in our heads. And thus we go back to square one, trying to find another passion to stick to. Cal dissects this reality one by one, and offers concrete solutions to what we should be doing in order to build a career that we can be proud of. Highly recommended.
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By A Customer on April 26 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Good - though the book is based on anecdotal evidence, it doesn't bore you to tears or come off as redundant. Everything he tells you relates to what the book is trying to say.
- What he's trying to say is incredibly valuable and logical. Though I haven't yet worked out yet how this applies in my own life, I sense that the path of learning to like where and how I work and build on it, is not only valuable but freeing. I don't feel trapped by one path that I must succeed in or *melodramatically* all will be ashes and dust!

Bad - not a deal-breaker, but sometimes the constant references and refreshers on the previous rules throughout got a little tiresome. Still, it is probably better that he did that. I have a very clear idea of what the rules are :P
- though he emphasized that this book is not a step by step guide, I wish there was a summary written of all the points in this book dedicated to one or two pages. Still, maybe that's a good thing too: you don't have to rely on his summary, he probably expects that you'll write your own. I know I will 😊

All in all, excellent read! Well worth anyone's time and energy!
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Format: Hardcover
Cal's book was a breath of fresh air for me. I had been fed the "find your passion" pablum by parents, mentors, peers, and others throughout my youth. As a result, my career path was rocky and uncertain, punctuated by agonizing over each next move as though it might be my last. In the back of my mind, I was stewing about the fact that I wasn't in my ideal "passion" job and therefore wasting my life! This anxiety was, needless to say, unnecessary and wrong.

When I read Cal's short piece in the NY Times, I was struck by this passage (paraphrased): "some people are born with a passion and know exactly what they want to do with their lives; this puts immense pressure on the rest of us to figure out our passion before it gets too late". This immediately struck a chord with me. I bought Cal's book and read it within a few days. It was the tonic my career-obsessed brain was looking for.

Cal writes that the passion myth is a dangerous one, because few people are actually born with passions, and in any case it doesn't usually work like that. The first few years of a career are better spent acquiring rare and valuable skills, and making "little bets" on where to go next. Incremental steps make more sense than huge, courageous career changes which aren't likely to work. When you have grown your portfolio of skills, assuming you focused on something that people are willing to pay for, you can then have the autonomy and control that most people gain true satisfaction from.

I am in a job that is a decent one, but not my dream job. However, Cal has opened my eyes to how I might go about acquiring rare, valuable skills from where I sit right now. In a short period of time, I have gained the clarity that I have been seeking for so long.
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