Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

February 9, 2016 Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

“There is, however, a problem lurking here: When you look past the feel-good slogans and go deeper into the details of how passionate people like Steve Jobs really got started, or ask scientists about what actually predicts workplace happiness, the issue becomes much more complicated. You begin to find threads of nuance that, once pulled, unravel the tight certainty of the passion hypothesis, eventually leading to an unsettling recognition: “Follow your passion” might just be terrible advice.”


I’d heard about Cal Newport’s book some time ago and it just had to fight its way to the top of my iBooks shelf. It finally did and I found that So Good wasn’t even the book I expected it to be. I though it would be about making yourself remarkable, so attention-grabbing that you dominate everyone’s thoughts like a viral YouTube video. Though thi remarkable point is actually covered in the text, So Good  is hardly about that.

Newport’s argument is that the age-old idea of following your passion is not the best way to find fulfilling work. I happen to know many people who are great examples of this being true, and Newport uses several real-life examples to support his point.

Newport, I came to find out, is a college professor, and much of So Good reads like a textbook (in a good way). Newport systematically states his case in each chapter (certain rules that make fulfilling work what it is), explains why it’s his case, then cites real people whose lives and opinions support his idea.

This book is for: anyone in or nearly in the workforce who doesn’t quite know for sure what they should be doing for a living. So Good is a great place to start on both what and what not to do — and precisely why.

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