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Would strongly recommend this book to anyone struggling with choosing career path. Follow your passion can be bad advice. It’s much more important to get good at something rare and valuable.

My Notes

  • Great work is bought with career capital.
  • Working right trumps finding the right work.
  • Three traits that make people love their work: impact, creativity, and control.
  • The first control trap: Don’t embrace control without the career capital
  • The second control trap: Once you’ve earned enough career capital to acquire more control in your working life, your employer will fight your efforts to gain more autonomy.
  • The “courage culture” promotes the idea that the only thing standing between you and your dream job is to step off the expected path.
  • Follow your passion can be bad advice. It’s much more important to get good at something rare and valuable


When it comes to creating work you love, following your passion is not particularly useful advice.

Location 141

“In the movies there’s this idea that you should just go for your dream,” Glass tells them. “But I don’t believe that. Things happen in stages.

Location 301

Irrespective of what type of work you do, the craftsman mindset is crucial for building a career you love.

Location 570

Whereas the craftsman mindset focuses on what you can offer the world, the passion mindset focuses instead on what the world can offer you. This mindset is how most people approach their working lives.

Location 577

The craftsman mindset offers clarity, while the passion mindset offers a swamp of ambiguous and unanswerable questions.

Location 591

Let’s assume you’re a knowledge worker, which is a field without a clear training philosophy. If you can figure out how to integrate deliberate practice into your own life, you have the possibility of blowing past your peers in your value, as you’ll likely be alone in your dedication to systematically getting better.

Location 1122

You have to get good before you can expect good work.

Location 1371

It’s really hard to convince people to give you money.

Location 1447

The point at which you have acquired enough career capital to get meaningful control over your working life is exactly the point when you’ve become valuable enough to your current employer that they will try to prevent you from making the change.

Location 1600

If life-transforming missions could be found with just a little navel-gazing and an optimistic attitude, changing the world would be commonplace. But it’s not commonplace; it’s instead quite rare.

Location 1911

For a mission-driven project to succeed, it should be remarkable in two different ways. First, it must compel people who encounter it to remark about it to others. Second, it must be launched in a venue that supports such remarking.

Location 2251

To construct work you love, you must first build career capital by mastering rare and valuable skills, and then cash in this capital for the type of traits that define compelling careers. Mission is one of those traits.

Location 2282

Another deliberate-practice routine was the introduction of my hour tally—a sheet of paper I mounted behind my desk at MIT, and plan on remounting at Georgetown.

Location 2461

The sheet has a row for each month on which I keep a tally of the total number of hours I’ve spent that month in a state of deliberate practice.

Location 2462

By having these hour counts stare me in the face every day I’m motivated to find new ways to fit more deliberate practice into my schedule. Without this routine, my total amount of time spent stretching my abilities would undoubtedly be much lower.

Location 2466

Getting better and better at what I did became what mattered most, and getting better required the strain of deliberate practice.

Location 2482

I also try to carve out one walk each day for free-form thinking about the ideas turned up by this background research (I commute to work on foot and have a dog to exercise, so I have many such walks to choose from in my schedule).

Location 2585

The effort of completing these bets also has the added side benefit of inducing deliberate practice—yet another tactic in my ever-growing playbook dedicated to making me better and better at what I do.

Location 2606

Working right trumps finding the right work.

Location 2633

Books I’ve read.

Johannes Holmberg

Tiny summaries on books I’ve read. Sorted by latest read. But you can also sort on top recommendations. Highlights and covers are copyright to their respective authors.