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So Good They Can’t Ignore You

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So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

Business Plus,

15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

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.


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”

At some point in life, many people seriously consider quitting their jobs and pursuing careers that fulfill their passions. Scholars and writers have influenced generations of workers by encouraging them to pursue their passions and promising that success will automatically result.

Alas, this illusion underestimates the value of hard work and neglects the importance of developing a valuable skill set. The reality of following your dreams rarely aligns with the fantasy. It can lead to “chronic job-hopping” and self-doubt.

Common wisdom for several generations – beginning with the baby boomers – taught members of the workforce that pursuing your passion equates to success because you will be doing what you love to do. “Passion-centric” generations sought their dream jobs without understanding how to turn their visions into reality. However, Steve Jobs, for one, turned that truism on its head. ...

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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    O. M. 5 years ago
    This summary is not available as a PDF file?
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    A. 6 years ago
    Pertinent to what I am doing with The American Writers & Artists Inc.
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    K. S. 6 years ago
    Very cool content