So Good They Can't Ignore You

  • by Cal Newport
  • Narrated by Dave Mallow
  • 6 hrs and 28 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's 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.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Detailed roadmap to a meaningful successful career

It starts by dispelling feel-good myths about passion, and substitutes those myths with more nuanced decision making "career rules". Very well written, clear and clever.

On the weaker side: Advice is based on the experiences of the author and his interviewees, so evidence is anecdotal.
I didn't like the term "career capital", because its definition is simply "valuable skills". This change of words doesn't add clarity, but hints at inaccurate implications.

Overall, fantastic book!
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- Santiago

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.
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- Amy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 29-09-2016
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK