Are You “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”? – A Cal Newport Book Recommendation

This piece was originally published on the TowerHill Realty Blog. 

It was the summer after my senior year in high school. My parents had family friends over for an early, casual dinner. It was one of those times in life when I could anticipate very little about the future but the excitement of finding my passion in young adulthood inspired me.

 Hot dog in hand I greeted the gentleman who was about my father’s age. After congratulating me on graduation and my college choice, he asked the next natural question: So what do you think you want to do professionally?

 “I’m not sure yet, but I want to find something I’m passionate about.” I said.

 He looked at me with a grave stare and said: “Pat, you might be as passionate as anyone about something, but unless someone is willing to pay you for that passion, you will need to find work that allows you to provide for your family. Failure to pay your bills makes your passion far less exciting.”

 Boom! Wake up call!

Translation: “Kid: go do something others will pay for, then talk to me about passion!”

Fast forward about twenty years. Amazingly I’m doing work I’m passionate about and love. Sound familiar? So what was the key?

 In his manifesto So Good They Can’t Ignore – Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love,  Cal Newport tackles the concept of following your passion head on. He debunks the myth that this is good career advice and replaces it with the truth about loving what you labor at. Want to love what you do? Read this book first. It’s a phenomenal read for people who are at the beginning of their careers and those who make hiring decisions. Most of all it’s a great read for those of us who sit and wonder sometimes if we’ve sold ourselves short by not following that passion we were smitten with at one point or another.

Got a few resolutions on your list that are directed at being happier this year? Make reading this book a priority. I enthusiastically give Newport’s work 5 stars!

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