Summary of So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

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So Good They Can’t Ignore You book summary
Climb the ladder and force people to notice you by becoming great at your work.


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Cal Newport, an assistant professor of computer science and frequent author, discredits the popular myth that following your passion will lead automatically to a successful, fulfilling career. He suggests that developing valuable skills and becoming “so good they can’t ignore you” is far more effective. He says pursuing your heart’s desire can lead to disappointment, including a lack of jobs in your chosen field and an underdeveloped skill set. He draws on the success of such notables as Steve Jobs, who perfected his skills as part of his relentless efforts to refine his craft. Newport frequently revisits the theme that nothing replaces hard work and persistence. He believes that if you become great at what you do, passion will follow. Using case studies, he highlights ways to focus your professional efforts and to create a meaningful career by working toward a mission. getAbstract recommends his advice to anyone intent on developing the right skills for career advancement.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why following your passion can be a bad move,
  • How to find work you love by developing valuable skills, and
  • How to gain control and autonomy in your career.


Be So Good
To become “so good” at your job that no one can ignore you, follow a simple program based on common sense and hard work. The program involves adhering to only four rules, but hewing to them with energy and focus.

“Rule 1: Don’t Follow Your Passion”
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About the Author

Cal Newport is an assistant professor of computer science at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. He also wrote How to Become a Straight-A Student, How to Be a High School Superstar and How to Win at College. His blog, Study Hacks, discusses his efforts to “decode patterns of success.”

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