My rating: 5 out of 5

Do not follow your passion. That’s the gist of this book, but oh would that be an oversimplified and ultimately useless advice it would be.

And this could have been one of those “happy go lucky” type of books, full of personal anecdotes and fluffy marketing. The book is full of various personal anecdotes, but they are mostly there to show how messy good careers can be.

Book is structured and written in a very readable way (exemplified by me getting through it in a few days while taking copious notes). Best of all - there is a fair amount of actionable advice. No bombastic fake advice to make you into a successful business owner in a week, but actual things you can do day to day in your work to improve things over time for yourself. There’s a few rules which I’ll highlight to start with: Rule 1: Don’t follow your passion Rule 2: Be so good they can’t ignore you - importance of skill Rule 3: Turn down a promotion - importance of control Rule 4: Think small, act big - importance of mission

I am not going to spoil the whole book by summarizing too much of it, but I will highlight a few things I found important. Author bases his advice on personal experience, some personal interviews and actually some interviews conducted by Roadtrip Nation (those interviews can be viewed online).

What makes a great work that motivates people? For most people the work would have a mix of following attributes:

  • Creativity
  • Impact
  • Control

And if those are valuable work attributes, what makes people worthy of receiving them - a basic supply and demand 101. Your need career capital - skills that someone is willing to pay for. A fair amount of book actually focuses on acquiring these skills - especially the 10 000 hour rule and deliberate practice. Basically ways in which we can improve our skills and push ourselves to get better at whatever it is we do.

When you have finally acquired this capital (and verified people are willing to pay for it), you can try to exert more control over your life. Whether it’s working less hours, or have more autonomy in your day to day work or many other ways. However there are a few “control traps” and some advice on how to avoid them.

And last but not least - you should think about your mission that will govern your professional life. However the author thankfully advises not do try and define a mission until you have built a fair amount of career capital and gotten to the edge of your field so that you mission can actually have a bigger effect.

As with the deliberate practice - you should try and test your mission by creating smaller projects/bets that let your validate and verify things are the way you imagine them to be. And that people are willing to pay you to go in that direction perhaps.

Courage in your career decisions is important, but so is the timing. After all - working right trumps finding the right work.

This feels like one of the more useful self-improvement books out there and I can wholeheartedly recommend it especially to young people starting out.