So Good They Can’t Ignore You: the Book

Lots of baby went out with this bathwater.

I found Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You, by Cal Newport, at the Wake County Library new book shelf last week. Picked it up. Easy enough read; can’t say I read each and every word because many of them made pretty much the same point: Passion does not correlate well with career satisfaction.

Be So Good They Can't Ignore You cover photograph

Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You cover photograph

Would have written a review on Amazon but there were enough reviews there already.

Two points I didn’t see in the 3-star reviews:

Richard Nelson Bolles didn’t advocate for selecting a profession based on passion. I would argue that his entire output was built on a solution to the mismatch between “passion” and career satisfaction; that people who had a passion for God and serving (the clergy) found themselves profoundly out of step because the demands of their work in a church / congregation did not match their innate skills and talents.

“Practice” alone won’t make you love something if you hate the something in the first place. None of the “genius = 10,000 hours on task” gurus have found a good answer to what makes it possible for some people to spend 10,000 hours developing a certain set of skills, while others simply can’t bring themselves to those tasks.

Gee. A book by a professor, with notes, but no bibliography or suggested reading? so I can’t quickly determine if the author has read any of the Gallup Strengths information or the Myers-Briggs type information. Face it: No amount of 10,000 hours in the world will make a 5’7″ person a starting basketball center. There ARE innate gifts, and they are best followed, and this isn’t about “Passion.”

The book would have been more helpful to me if the author had said more about what his own “practice” looked like. What does it look like to “practice” any of the thousands of essentially routine, boring, “feel like a number” jobs in the American workforce? I haven’t figured it out yet.

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