So Good They Can’t Ignore You – Cal Newport

This is another quick (ish) read about finding work that compels you and achievement.  What I like about Cal is that he really attacks the common conceptions of ‘just follow your passion’  that a lot of writers seem to preach these days.  He provides well articulated arguments and strongly articulates his points in a really nice piece of writing.  I also dig his technique of putting a small synopsis of ‘what he’s going to tell you’ in front of each chapter.

While he agrees that the courage to quit an uninspiring situation or job is necessary, Cal argues that most people who do so on a whim of “passion” will likely fail at their next pursuit.  The biggest concept I took away from his book is the notion of career capital.  

Career capital is building up skills and thus value in your job/field so that when the times you can transition into opportunities that provide more freedom.  For example, say you want to run your own projects and work remotely while traveling at your job.  Newton argues this is certainly possible, but only when you are worth enough to your employer.  

The focus must be on skill development in whatever your field, autonomy and “happiness” stem through mastery.  Newton provides several great examples on this, so I’ll let him belabor the point.

Overall the book was a fresh look on what I’ve always considered the most import focus of work, tangible skills.  If you’re looking to change careers or perhaps find more fulfillment out of your current one this book is a good read.  Recommend.

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

Written by : Ethan Drower

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