So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Finished “So Good They Can’t Ignore You” by Cal Newport a while ago, and forgot to write up a review of it.

I think it presents a compelling case why the common advice of “Follow you passion” is terrible on many different levels and many different reasons.  Instead it offers a good structured argument, based on evidence, why it’s much better to find one that provides value and focus your effort on getting better until you eventually become passionate about it.

Research has shown that the happiest and most passionate employees are the ones that have been around long enough to become great at what they do.  With their experience comes power, influence and appreciation for the work they do.  These factors can greatly out weigh the effects of liking the work itself.  With the right frame of mind passion will be the result from being great at your job

Passion is something that many people just don’t have when it comes time to make career choices.  As I recall, very few people planning their first year of university courses had a sense of what they wanted to be doing.  And so for most people “follow your passion” results in other questions: “I’m not passionate about anything… is that normal?”, or “What should I do if I’m not passionate about anything”.

When ranking what is the most important factor in a good job. The top ranked thing is not how much you make.  Feeling appreciated for your work is at the top, followed by good relationship to the boss, and good co-workers, self determination.  With this in mind it is much more likely that you will enjoy a job you are good at.

Getting good at your job a long term investment in yourself to continue learning and practicing.  Finding a way to see your work as a ‘craft’ that can be honed and improved over time with experience and dedication.

The book was a quick read, and though the timing is late for me, I think it would be a valuable book for anyone entering university or early in their career.