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So Good They Can't Ignore You

career & success

personal development

So Good They Can't Ignore You

Cal Newport

What is the book about?

The book So Good They Can't Ignore You (2012) is about how to achieve career success by focusing on developing rare and valuable skills, rather than blindly following your passion. Cal Newport argues that the key to building a fulfilling career is to become so good at what you do that you can't be ignored, and provides actionable advice on how to do so.

Who should read the book?

This book is a perfect read for individuals who are looking to build a successful and fulfilling career, and are willing to put in the hard work and effort required to achieve their goals. It is suitable for those who value skill development, passion and career capital over the pursuit of their 'dream job'.

About the Author:

Cal Newport is a computer science professor and productivity expert. He is known for his work on the intersection of technology and productivity, and has written extensively on the importance of deep work and focused concentration. Newport is also a popular speaker and has given talks at universities and companies around the world. He holds a PhD from MIT and currently teaches at Georgetown University.

Book Summary

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Are you tired of hearing the advice to "follow your passion" as the key to finding a fulfilling career? What if I told you that this might actually be terrible advice? In his book "So Good They Can't Ignore You," Cal Newport challenges this popular notion and presents a new perspective on how to cultivate a successful and rewarding career.

Drawing on interviews with successful professionals across a range of industries, Newport argues that passion is not the starting point, but rather the result of developing rare and valuable skills that you can leverage in your work. He introduces the concept of "career capital", the combination of skills, knowledge, and experience that gives you a competitive edge in the job market. By focusing on building career capital through deliberate practice and acquiring valuable skills, Newport believes that anyone can create a fulfilling and successful career.

Through practical advice and real-life examples, Newport offers a roadmap for how to develop career capital and turn it into a satisfying and meaningful career. Whether you're just starting out in your career or looking to make a change, "So Good They Can't Ignore You" is a must-read for anyone who wants to create a career that truly matters.

Passion is not enough

Passion is often cited as the key ingredient for finding fulfilling work. However, the author argues that passion is not enough. Instead, he suggests that the focus should be on acquiring rare and valuable skills.

Newport believes that the passion hypothesis, which states that following your passion will lead to career happiness, is flawed. He cites research that shows that people who believe in this hypothesis are less likely to be satisfied with their careers. Newport argues that true passion develops over time, as you become excellent at something that is valuable to the world.

The author illustrates this point with examples of successful people who did not start out passionate about their work. For example, Steve Jobs, who is often held up as a model of someone who followed his passion, was not initially passionate about technology. Instead, he became passionate about it as he became better at it and saw the impact it could have on the world.

Newport suggests that instead of focusing on passion, individuals should adopt a craftsman mindset. This means focusing on the quality of the work and continually striving to improve. He emphasizes the importance of deliberate practice, which involves pushing yourself beyond your current abilities in order to improve.

In summary, passion alone is not enough to lead to career fulfillment. Instead, individuals should focus on acquiring rare and valuable skills and adopting a craftsman mindset. The development of true passion takes time and is the result of becoming excellent at something that is valuable to the world.

The craftsman mindset is key

The central idea of the book is that the craftsman mindset is crucial in finding work that you truly enjoy. The author argues that simply following your passion is not enough to achieve career fulfillment. Instead, the author advises readers to adopt a craftsman mindset that involves focusing on developing rare and valuable skills that are difficult to replicate.

The craftsman mindset is characterized by a commitment to mastering a skill through deliberate practice. By becoming exceptional at what you do, you can demand autonomy and respect, which is essential in building a career that you love.

The author cites numerous examples of successful individuals who have adopted the craftsman mindset to achieve their goals. For instance, Steve Martin started as a comedian performing in small venues and gradually honed his skills until he became a famous entertainer. Martin concentrated on improving his craft rather than seeking fame or fortune.

The author also stresses the importance of matching your skills with the current job market. Rather than pursuing a passion that may not be in high demand, you should focus on developing skills that are rare and valuable. By doing so, you can increase your career capital and have more bargaining power in your career.

In conclusion, the book highlights the significance of the craftsman mindset and the importance of deliberate practice and developing rare and valuable skills in achieving a fulfilling career. The author argues that passion alone is insufficient, and that adopting the craftsman mindset can help you gain control over your work and build a satisfying career.

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