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Summary

Cal Newport's clearly written manifesto flies in the face of conventional wisdom by suggesting that it should be a person's talent and skill - and not necessarily their passion - that determines their career path.

Newport, who graduated from Dartmouth College (Phi Beta Kappa) and earned a PhD from MIT, contends that trying to find what drives us, instead of focusing on areas in which we naturally excel, is ultimately harmful and frustrating to job seekers. The title is a direct quote from comedian Steve Martin, who, when once asked why he was successful in his career, immediately replied, 'Be so good they can't ignore you', and that's the main basis for Newport's audiobook.

Skill and ability trump passion. Inspired by former Apple CEO Steve Jobs' famous Stanford University commencement speech in which Jobs urges idealistic grads to chase their dreams, Newport takes issue with that advice, claiming that not only is this advice Pollyannaish but that Jobs himself never followed his own advice.

From there Newport presents compelling scientific and contemporary case study evidence that the key to one's career success is to find out what you do well and where you have built up your 'career capital' and then to put all of your efforts in that direction.

©2012 Calvin C. Newport (P)2016 Hachette Audio UK

What listeners say about So Good They Can't Ignore You

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interesting but unhelpful

Overall, this book is interesting. It was reassuring and motivating to learn that my career will probably be what I make of it, and that it's probably not a matter of falling into a fulfilling job by chance. (I use the word "probably" because of the lack of empirical evidence cited in the book). But the lack of supporting research evidence, or clear guidance in identifying next steps (rather than retrospectively looking back on successful people's correct choices, or unsuccessful people's incorrect choices) has left me feeling dissatisfied. A follow-up book containing these two features would be warmly welcomed.

19 people found this helpful

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Just listen to the last chapter.

Good book. Just read the last chapter and save yourself some time. It sums it all up.

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Don't listen to the sample

This book is well thought out and very helpful in its message. The sample didn't do the book justice at all

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I really can't believe this is a book

You could summarize this book in a sentence. And it wouldn't be interesting or complex.

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Keep Coming Back

I often come back to this book to remind myself about the importance of "career capital". It gives me the gentle kick I need to continue to pursue work that I "love".

It's still an ongoing challenge but this book really helps. Love Deep Work by Cal, too - recommended!

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A very long way to tell very little

I don’t disagree with any of the messages in this book and I’ve definitely been taught some new perspectives that I will no doubt regurgitate when I help others

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Life Changing Potential

If you could sum up So Good They Can't Ignore You in three words, what would they be?

Work attitude revolution.

What did you like best about this story?

Completely changes attitude to work.

Any additional comments?

The concepts, tools and techniques shared in this book are potentially life changing. If you feel trapped in a job and want to find out ways to change your attitude to the job then I recommend this. Cal's writings on how constantly changing jobs looking for a job you love (rather than first trying hard to find what you are good at in your current role and maximising this) are mind changing (for me anyway).

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Only the first part of the book was a good read

The first part of the book was good but then it became a complete waffle towards the end of the book. It's an okay read.

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Must. Read. Now!

I will have to read the rest of Cal's books. Just amazing what an author! Please Cal, give us more!

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disappointing

This book can ge summed up in just a couple of phrases. 1 - deliberate practise. 2 - don't follow your passion but instead what your good at. Other than that its alot of waffle.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Vintila Bogdan
  • 14-06-17

Introduction to the career capital concept

Any additional comments?

I actually avoided this book for a while because I got the impression it attacked liking and enjoying what you do. It's far from it. Cal Newport does not attack following your passion as long as you have the right skills to back that passion up. I'd actually change the title to "Become good at your passion before you follow you passion".

Cal gets into the concept of career capital. If you want to open up a restaurant just because you enjoy occasionally cooking on the weekends for your friends and you're good at it, but have no real concept of organizing, running a business or dealing with issues....simply don't follow you passion. Building a business based on a passion will require much more than just being good at that specific thing you call your passion. You have to have a lot of career capital behind it to back it up.

This is why Cal recommends to get good at things before you decide to take it solo. Passion alone will not get you through. On the other side if you get really good at what you do (be it accounting, analyzing or any other activity that may sound boring) you'll find that it gets much more fun along the way. Getting good results out of an activity you're performing really well will make you like and enjoy it. And I find this concept really interesting and true.

So even if you are a hard advocate of "follow your passion" and "love what you do" believe me this book will give you a lot of value. It's not meant to crush following your passion but dissect it into logical steps and decisions.

On the down side I think that the examples give in the book are a bit too shallow (someone giving up on their studies in order to start a blogging site) but then again this is probably the case for many young passionate entrepreneurs and Cal wanted to target them.

All in all I would put it in the "must read" list. And then get your hands on "Deep Work" as it is a nice continuation of the ideas in this book.

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  • SereznoKot
  • 19-05-18

Great ideas for my job search

This book is about making a sober career decisions, based on reason and not emotions. Definitely going to try this approach out

3 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 02-08-17

I wish I had this book ten years ago!

I've spent the first ten years of my working life constantly looking for my dream job, finding my passion. If only I had spent the last ten years building valuable skills instead, I would be in a very different position. This book has been a total game changer for me, it's turned my whole work life philosophy upside down. I really can't recommend this book enough!!

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 21-05-18

Eye-opener !!

In a world where every big name says ‘follow your passion’ ..it’s kinda hard to believe that following your passion can actually be a really bad advice. I was totally against this book until I red it.

All my confusion around the subject ‘passion’ is now much more clear and thanks to this book, I’ll be laser focused on being so good that people can’t ignore me instead of just following my passion. Thank you so much to Mr Cal Newport for writing this book and a big thank you to the narrator of this book Dave Mallow.

Totally recommended 😃👍🏼

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-10-16

Fascinating but not complete

I didn't like the book but I liked the ideas. So I think it was worth the listen.

The book has a few very interesting insights but there's very little support for his claims outside a few stories.

That being said, I wouldn't bet against his assertions being true.

I can't put my finger on it, but the writing lacked something. Maybe it was that the stories wasn't engaging or that the definitions weren't clear.

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 19-11-21

A great book for planning your career

What I enjoyed most about this book, besides of the stories and the eloquent way of explaining in detail, is that it has a simple, yet effective step by step guide that I can apply in my life.

This book dramatically influence the next job I take and what tasks I'm asking to do right now at my job, as when having a long term goal (at least annidea of it), then I can start planning to gather some abilities and experience a.k.a. career capital, so that I can trade them later for freedom.

I would definitely recommend this book to any person that is planning to reach their maximum potential in their careers.

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 18-11-21

One of the best books on career advice I know

This book has very clear Career advice and shares the philosophy of developing income producing activities.

I highly reccomed

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  • Rog42
  • 17-11-21

somewhat dry, somewhat predictable

good grounding in perspective. this is an easy read, with a couple of absolute gems

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  • Utilisateur anonyme
  • 01-11-20

Useful, Practical, Insightful, Rich, Dense, Deep

Useful, Practical, Insightful, Rich, Dense, Deep are the words coming into my mind to describe this book. It confirmed but also reinforced lot of self observations.

Much thanks, Cal. I'll also get better at giving advices at younger ones.

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  • Phevos Syrigos
  • 21-05-20

You can’t lose with Newport

Great author, great narrator . Provides a joyful reading and a major understanding on how to build a career you love. Don’t miss it, it will change your life.