So Good they Can’t Ignore You

So Good they Can’t Ignore You

Title: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

Author: Cal Newport

Time: 8h

Score: 5/10


Interesting yet very american approach to finding out what you love to do in life. The author goes against the ‘follow your passion’ philosophy and aims for the ‘put in the hours of practice’ approach. He then topps it off with some: build rare skills, practice a lot also outside comfort zone, make sure people want to pay for it, gain control , … a bit of stating the obvious. I did not resonate with this book. How to put in hours and hours of practice if you don’t love it in the first place?  I think the book handles the subject too black and white. For another approach you might as well check out ‘Big Magic’ from E. Gilbert,  ‘A job to love’ from The School of Life or ‘Smart Cuts’ of S. Snow.  But read the book and see if it works for you!


Bits of Wisdom

  • When interviewing Steve Martin on his career and memoir ‘Born Standing Up’ he says: “Nobody ever takes notes on my advice, because it’s not the answer they want to hear. What they want to hear is ‘Here’s how you get an agent, here’s how you write a script, … But I always say: ‘Be so good they can’t ignore you”
  • The craftsman mindset = a focus on what value you are producing in your job.
  • The passion mindset = a focus on what value your job offers you.
  • The craftman mindset is crucial for building a career that you love.
  • Follow your passion is bad advice, as most people aren’t born with pre-existing passions waiting to be discovered.
  • Stop focussing on little details, focus instead on becoming better.
  • Creating something meaningful (for oneself) and then present it to the world.
  • It is a lifetime of deliberate practice that again and again ends up explaining excellence. 
  • Deliberate practice is often the opposite of enjoyable.
  • You stretch yourself, day after day, month after month, before finally looking up and realizing: ‘hey, I’ve become pretty good and people are starting to notice’.
  • No one owes you a great career, you need to earn it – and the process won’t be easy.
  • ‘Musicians’ career paths are often idiosyncratic, often relying on unusual circumstances and lucky breaks early in life. 
  • Studio musicians have this adage: ‘The tape doesn’t lie’.
  • Spend time on what’s important,instead of what’s immediate.
  • ROWE = Results-Only Work-Environment
  • Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness.
  • Control is powerful but you need something of value to offer in return. 
  • Acquiring more control in your working life is something that benefits YOU but likely has no direct benefit to your employer.
  • Do what people are willing to pay for.
  • To have a mission is to have a unifying focus for your career. 
  • A mission chosen before you have relevant career capital is not likely to be sustainable.
  • A career untamed, he realised, can bring you into dangerous territory, such as being bored.
  • Remarkable marketing is the art of building things worth noticing… produce Purple Cows.

  • Working right trumps finding the right work.

More Bits of Wisdom?