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So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love (English Edition) [Kindle Edition]

Cal Newport
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"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


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. 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 reading 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.


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3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen mal etwas Anderes 18. November 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
Wer sich mit der gängigen Selbsthilfeliteratur zum Thema Karriere auskennt wird schnell merken, dass dieser Ansatz irgendwie anders ist.
Carl Newport geht mit dem Satz "follow your passion" hart ins Gericht - Stück für Stück wird dieser gängige Motivationsmythos dekounstruiert. Die hohe Stringenz, die er dabei an den Tag legt, ist erfrischend überraschend.
Meiner Meinung nach wird das Passionsargument nicht vollständig zerfetzt. Dies sähe der Autor vermutlich anders, obwohl er ebenfalls Einschränkungen macht und klar darlegt, unter welchen Umständen es Sinn macht, seinen Job zu kündigen.
Nach diesem Aufbau wie es denn nicht sein sollte folgt Teil zwei. Hier legt der Autor seine Sichtweise der Dinge dar, die er anhand von zahlreichen Beispielen detailliert ausführt. Seine Konklusion geht in folgende Richtung:
Schon immer existierende Passionen sind äusserst selten. Der Weg einer glücklichen Karriere schaut anders aus; ein zunehmendes Einkreisen beschreibt diesen Prozess besser.
Zudem werden typische Stolperfallen auf eben diesem Weg aufgezeigt und Gegenmassnahmen vorgeschlagen. Der Titel kommt dann ebenfalls zu Wort, indem erklärt wird, wie man denn so richtig gut wird in einer Sache und was der Unterschied zwischen "einfach ok" und Weltklasse ausmachen könnte. Ich sage bewusst "könnte", denn trotz aller Beispiele halte ich die These: "Du kannst alles erreichen, wenn du dich nur genügend bemühst", in letzter Konsequenz für fasch. Daran ändert auch Carl Newport's sehr differenzierte Argumentation wenig.

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0 von 5 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Konzept 12. August 2013
Von Fasching
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Konzept, idee und allgemeine Botschaft sind hervorragend.
Allerdings scheint mir dwer Autor in letzter ZEit etwas selbstveriebt/von sich eingenommen zu werden. Auch ein bisschen starrsinnig.
Zudem ist sein erzähl- und schreibstil nicht so ganz das wahre.
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228 von 237 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Don't ignore this book 19. September 2012
Von J. F. Malcolm - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe|Verifizierter Kauf
I've been following Cal Newport's ideas for a while now, so when I learned that he was coming out with a book, I pre-ordered it from Amazon. I was not disappointed. If you have a child or know someone in college who is trying to figure out what to do with their life, or even if you're north of fifty and still wonder what you'll be when you grow up, then this book is for you. So Good They Can't Ignore You, is so good that you shouldn't ignore it.

The central premise that sets this book apart from so much life advice that is out on the market is that following your passion is terrible advice. There are two main reasons for this: first, very few people at a young age know enough about life to choose something to be really passionate about, and even if they do, they are bound to be wrong. If Steve Jobs had followed his early passion, maybe he would have made a dent in the universe as a Buddhist monk.

Second, while most people would love to have a job that allows them to be creative, make an impact on the world, and have control over how they choose to spend their time, jobs like that are rare and valuable, and the only way to get something valuable is to offer something in return. And the only way to be in a position to do that is to master a difficult skill. Passion doesn't waive the laws of economics, and if it's not difficult it won't be rare. The book cites the example of Julia, who quit a secure job in advertising to pursue her passion of teaching yoga. Armed with a 4-week course, she quit her job, began teaching, and one year later was on food stamps. Here's a hint: if a four-week course is enough to allow you to set up shop, do you think you might have a little competition?

Taking the economic model a step further, the book argues that you must develop career capital, which comprises skills, relationships and a body of work. The long and arduous process of building your capital also opens up your options and refines your own understanding of what you really like to do and what you can be good at.

Newport offers the craftsman mindset in place of the passion mindset. The passion mindset asks what the world can offer you in terms of fulfillment and fun; the craftsman mindset forces you to look inside and ask what you can offer the world. You have to create value to get value, and that takes time and deliberate practice. It's the only way to get so good that they can't ignore you. The nice benefit is that rather than being good at something because you love it, you love doing something because you've gotten good at it. (Note the similarity to Carol Dweck's growth mindset.)

What's the little idea? Another idea that Newport challenges is the common advice that you should have a big idea--set a big hairy audacious goal for your life and then work backward from it. The master plan approach certainly works for some people, but how many people do you know who have actually lived their lives that way? Instead, you should work forward from where you are, taking small steps that expand your capabilities and build up your career capital. In this way, more options and possibilities open up. Newport compares career discoveries to scientific discoveries, most of which occur in what's called the "adjacent possible", or just on the other side of the cutting edge of current knowledge.

The book is well-written. Newport emulates Malcolm Gladwell's technique of telling individual stories to illustrate the main point in each chapter. In addition, the arc of the stories follows a master story thread through the book, so that you feel like you are brought along on his quest to figure it all out.
Here comes the part I did not like about the book, and I would not devote so much space to it if the author were not an MIT PhD, just beginning his career as an assistant professor of computer science.

The methodology in the book is suspect in two ways. While its stories are the book's great strength, the plural of anecdote is not data, and it's surprising how little hard data we're given. I certainly buy in because it makes sense and it matches my own life experience, but someone with a more skeptical point of view may be a tougher sell.

In at least one case, where he does use a peer-reviewed study for support, he overstates the case. Citing a paper by Amy Wrzesniewski, he states that the happiest, most passionate employees are not those who followed their passion into a position, but those who stayed around long enough to be good at what they do. If you read the actual paper, you won't find that conclusion, and in fact the author stresses that the sample size of 24 is too small to draw any firm conclusions.

That said, I strongly recommend this book to just about anyone, regardless of where you are in your career.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen Good idea, bad execution 16. September 2012
Von Doc - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
I really wanted to love this book. I have been reading Cal's blog since its inception and have read his "yellow" and "red" books many times over. When he started this idea on the blog, I thought it would be great. While the ingredients are there in this book, the execution, especially the writing, is beyond disappointing. Every point is belabored, and the exact same points are made in successive paragraphs and pages. It felt like a nail was being hammered into my brain. It was also very roundabout -- instead of striving to keep addressing his assumed critics in every chapter, he should just get his point across. While I did find the latter half of the book better than the first half, I felt as if I could get the necessary information from the chapter summaries.

I also have two qualms about the book:

1. It feels as if this book is posited to those who are in the position to create career capital, such as ivy league graduates, and not someone who is just trying to get by and can't leave their job of flipping burgers. How can people in less fortunate positions get the capital to be remarkable? I must admit, I have not thought long enough about this observation to flesh it out, but if anyone has thoughts on this, let me know.

2. Also, it seemed as if the majority of the subjects in the book did have passion to do something before they had the capital. While they did have a craftsmans approach, this seemed to be a necessary action to pursue what they were passionate about in the first place. In addition, in his caveat section for the method, it basically says that if you don't like the job and coworkers (more specifically, if they see it as useless or it can't help them get career capital), don't do it. Again, if one must take such a job to support themselves, are they then helpless? And if they don't like the job, ie are not passionate about it, and you recommend them to quit, what does that say about the importance of passion? It would have been better to explicitly say that while passion is good, it is not good enough.

I am open to changing the review if I could get some of my questions and concerns answered, but this is how I feel at the moment.
85 von 94 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Decent points, very poorly argued 3. September 2013
Von Jackson W Lord - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The basic premise of this book is thought-provoking and very relevant to so many of us struggling through career decisions. The primary point which Newport gets across is unambiguously true: finding a "passion" before setting off in your career is extremely difficult, and perhaps even counterproductive. Developing a very solid set of skills which are somewhat rare and valuable is the only way to position oneself into a meaningful job with any sort of autonomy and humanity. This is essential, especially in the competitive world we live in. And competency itself is related to self-satisfaction—perhaps even more so than any intrinsic interests we might have. Good points.

However, the book falls flat in almost every other aspect, from the explanations, to the real-world examples, to the relevancy for the vast majority of professional laborers sitting in cubicles today. This is not surprising given Newport's background in prestige and academics, and the quite unorthodox path he's taken. This issue follows through the entire book with example after example of people and their careers that can only be characterized as esoteric and extreme. The hyper-successful individuals he profiles as examples of people happy with their careers are starkly contrasted by the obvious hubris of those he interviews who are not. There is no middle ground, which is, unfortunately, the vast majority of us, who are neither ridiculously foolhardy nor overachievers to the extreme.

This book and its author smacks of the Tim Ferriss-style cure-all self-help trash which is all born out of an unrigorous, hyped-up, TED Talk-syle, fast-food intellectualism which is so tempting to consume in the blogging age. Beware of the hype, remember this book was written in less than 6 months, work hard, and find a job you don't hate for Christ's sake.
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3.0 von 5 Sternen What abou the rest of us? 16. August 2013
Von bluedragon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Gebundene Ausgabe
First, I will say that this is an excellent book. In a world of so many different ways to make a living, this is a fresh new path to follow. It really is good advice. Just because people love doing things doesn't mean that people will pay you for it. The trick is to get really good at something and then people will come to you. Essentially, when people come to you, you are negotiating from a position of power and you can set whatever terms will make you happy. You not a morning person? Say you'll work from 12-8. Don't like Tuesdays? Take that day off. It all boils down to having control over your own life. It's the same idea about an encyclopedia vs Wikipedia. The more successful one is the one where anyone can add anything anytime they wanted. They're not even being paid, they just really want to add an article about mustard at 3am.

However, I started getting an elitist feel from the book about halfway through, and it's the reason I gave it only 3 stars. The people he talks about in his book are those buisness/computer people who: A)Know how to start and run a business, B)Can work from home (all they need is a computer), and/or C)have a skill that makes hundreds if not thousands of dollars an hour. Not to mention, most of them have PhD's. One person he talks about started a music company, sold it for 22 million, donated all the money, globe trotted for a few years, then started another freakin' company. Would this book be worth something to a nurse? A teacher? A police officer? Or are these people who have followed their "passion" and this book is just for a select number of people who's highly paid skills are transferable?
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2.0 von 5 Sternen Lazy logic 24. September 2013
Von Carrick Bartle - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
While at base, there are a few good tips and hints of better ways to think about one's life and career, ultimately it's riddled with hopelessly weak arguments. For instance, the very first one (don't do what Steve Jobs says, do what he did), according to Newport, if Steve Jobs had followed his passion, he would have ended up a Zen master or whatever, but instead, he actually fell into computers to make money, and therefore did not follow his passion. I'm sorry, but Newport has absolutely no basis for assuming that Jobs' passion for Zen didn't die out and he didn't find an even greater passion in computing, as Jobs attests in the Stanford speech Newport so heavily criticizes. I'm not saying the "passion hypothesis" doesn't have flaws, but this particular line of reasoning is a poor argument against it.

Nearly every argument in the book is flawed in this way. For instance, in determining one's "mission," Cal says you need to get to the cutting edge of your field first, and only then can you find a compelling mission. But the example he gives to prove this contains just the opposite! He quotes a Harvard professor saying that she had a vague sense that she "wanted to help people," and so went to med school, but ended up becoming a disease specialist, which has led to a specific mission. Now, call me crazy, but it seems that an initial general mission of "wanting to help people" led to her later, more specific mission. Instead of Cal's apparent thesis--"just become an expert in anything and then apply it to a specific mission" (which anyone can immediately tell is wrong)--the evidence that Cal himself provides seems to suggest more that it's okay to follow a general mission, but make sure you learn as much as possible about it and narrow it down to something as specific as possible. It's just weird that Cal, who is clearly a smart guy, comes to such clearly wrong conclusions.

Also, his descriptions of the people whom he deems to have valuable lives are insufferable puff-pieces. Look how brilliant these people are! Oh look, they're funny too! Gag me. Just get to the point.

I couldn't even finish this thing.
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