So Good They Can’t Ignore You explains why craftsmanship, resilience and control are more important than following a passion or a calling in your career. Based on his own experience and speaking with comedians, musicians, academics and others, Cal Newport puts forward a new way to think about success and career fulfilment.
So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary
Named after a quote by comedian Steve Martin, So Good They Can’t Ignore You is the antidote to the idea we must choose a career based on our passions.
Rather than simply ‘doing what we love’ Newport shows that deriving pleasure from work is more about asking what we can do for the world then what the world can do for us. Drawing on real life examples, the author attempts to change the way we think about careers.
Below are some of the key insights from the book.
- Simply following your passion can be dangerous, reckless advice, focussing our minds on external validation rather than internal drive.
- Examples of passion based success are rare. For example, Steve Jobs didn’t identify passion for consumer electronics at an early age.
- Instead, whatever you do it’s more important to be a true craftsman, honing your skills and building up career capital for use at a later date.
- Unlike passion, hard skills honed from experience are rare and rewarded, giving you creativity, courage and control to create the work you love.
- Craftsmanship is about identifying the good and committing to long term deliberate practice with patient and faith going into the future.
- In all fields, working with commitment to accumulate career capital will give you the freedom to assert control over your lifestyle (lifestyle design) and take little bets to explore new avenues that deliver true happiness.
- Without this mindset, it is rare to become truly remarkable (Purple Cow) which makes all the difference in a world filled with brown cows.
- Without career capital and established financial viability, taking the courage to shape your new lifestyle often fails. For example, how many people want to own passive income websites but don’t work like a true craftsman?