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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 members say

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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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

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic

Great book. Made me realise why I am feeling frustrated in my career and what I have to do to overcome the issue. Many thanks for the insight :)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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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).

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Clear and powerful

Straightforward and actionable. The best book on the topic by some margin. Gives a solid roadmap applicable to any career.

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Frustrating

Interesting premise, poorly argued, mostly ignores worsening conditions for workers and inegalitarianism. Would not recommend.

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Writer was biased

The writer had a theory and he went out looking for the evidence.

It's hard trying to find patterns in the good results others have had. I agree that passion isn't everything and there is a lot to be said for hard work and 'career capital'. It isn't the whole story though.

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Superb <br />

Uncovered truths hidden in plain sight. Backed up the theories with several case studies. Recommend.

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Good core advice but WAY to much jargon

A book filled with good sense advice that has been annoyingly hidden by the author amongst overwhelming and unnecessary terminology and jargon

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Some good ideas stretched by too many examples

The author presents some interesting ideas, but as he inflates the text wit too many examples and repetitions, I cannot recommend reading the book.

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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.

2 of 2 people found this review 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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Dora D
  • 17-07-18

A different, innovative approach to work.

After hearing this book recommendation several times from different sources and reading Cal Newport's book Deep Work (and loving it), I just had to read it. I was not disappointed.

I found myself in many of the dilemmas that Cal Newport found himself in in his post-college years and think that this book could be extremely useful for any young researcher looking to build a strong career and a happy life.

The way this book differs from many other self-development and career-development books that I've read is that it, for a change, does not provide you with the same recycled information and logical conclusions you might have heard anywhere. I value the effort and time the author put into the interviews the books is based on and his own openness when it comes to the challenges he faced. Based on personal experience and these interviews, Cal Newport provides the reader with a set of rules/guidelines and many smaller tips and tricks on how to gain the "career capital" to build a strong foundation for yourself, how to take things step by step when it comes to the development of career and, most important, how to stay sane throughout this whole process.

I am definitely rereading this book!

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  • Alok Ranjan
  • 16-06-18

Buy it nice book careercapital is more important

skills are more important then passion. I love the overall message in the book tai lopz reviewed this book I love it

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  • Anonymous User
  • 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 😃👍🏼

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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

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  • Leo Nguyen
  • 15-04-18

I love it 😍

I love how clear, simple and useful this book is. I'd recommend to my friends.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 08-04-18

Great read for carreer search and management

Quality content which drew from real cases and serious thoughts and experiences. This book not only inspires me to do the best in my current job, but also give me a better perspective about carreer.

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  • Siven
  • 13-11-17

A must read if you are into self help

Such powerful points made in this book. The world is been misled by all the so called Gurus. Carl tells a good story of how success truly develops. Its been a great shift for me. It contains important messages for the kids.

&quot;Audible 20 Review Sweepstakes Entry”

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-08-17

Very compelling stories and reasoning.

Can be a bit insistent about it's keywords to really hit you over the head with how the arguments in the book are correct. However, it's a joy to listen to and in audiobook form that minor complaint becomes a strength, as you'll be more likely to absorb the material without feeling like you've missed the clue to the success stories.

Speaking of which, couching the book on stories of success and failure makes it much easier to absorb the nuances.

When applying this book, keep in mind that the map is not the territory. This gives you a very valuable, sober perspective to fall back on, but you don't have to consciously think about the application. Just keep it in the back of your mind so you recognize opportunities to make small bets that are driven by your desire to good at things you put your mind to. When you're in crisis, this book will provide you the cold, calculating perspective to sober you back up and get back to work.