So Good They Can’t Ignore You
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.
- 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.
“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.
Irrespective of what type of work you do, the craftsman mindset is crucial for building a career you love.
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.
The craftsman mindset offers clarity, while the passion mindset offers a swamp of ambiguous and unanswerable questions.
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.
You have to get good before you can expect good work.
It’s really hard to convince people to give you money.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Getting better and better at what I did became what mattered most, and getting better required the strain of deliberate practice.
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).
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.
Working right trumps finding the right work.