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The singular contribution of this book is to question the common wisdom that “follow your passion” is the only career advice that any of us need.    But Cal Newport’s answer is one that neither makes sense nor is logically consistent — “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” (a line he picked up from comedian Steve Martin).  In other words, pick a career and then become so good at it that you ensure your own success.

But how do you pick the career path?  Are all paths equally good?  Or do you pick the one that holds the most promise financially?  Certainly Steve Martin’s choice of stand-up comedy would not meet that criteria.  Seems to me that we are back at the passion question.  Or as the Oracle of Delphi put it over 2000 years ago – “Know Thyself.”  And here Mr. Newport fingers an important point.  This self-knowledge is often not immediately clear, nor does it come from a weekend career counseling workshop.  Rather it often emerges from getting on a path, working at a craft, and paying attention.


 


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