So Good They Can’t Ignore You — Book Review

In one of my earlier article i mentioned the value of deep work and why deep work is so difficult. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi also says that

Free time, on the other hand, is unstructured, and requires much greater effort to be shaped into something that can be enjoyed

It’s been a year when i read Deep Work by Cal Newport and wrote a small review on that How to Stay Focused and Do Deep Work?. Last month i chanced up Cal Newport’s another book titled So Good They Can’t Ignore You — hardly 200 pages that i was able to complete in two days totalling around 9 hours approx.

Without further delay let’s get started what this book has to offer us

Essentially there are 4 rules

  1. Don’t Follow Your Passion
  2. Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You ( the importance of skills )
  3. Turn Down A Promotion ( the importance of control )
  4. Think Small, Act Big ( the importance of mission )

What Should You Do? -if follow your passion is a bad advise

The thing that make a great job great — the importance of ability — that is rare and valuable. You need to be good at something before you expect good job. You need to acquire those useful skills and then go beyond into the subtle art of investing the career capital that generates right types of traits.

The Passion Hypothesis:- 
Do what you love and money will follow. — numberless books and videos teaching you the importance of passion but has it helped anyone? So, “Follow your passion” may be a terrible advice. 
Apple computer was not born out of passion but a result of a series of lucky breaks — a small time scheme that actually paid off.

Passion is a side effect of mastery:-
You can’t find matching work to pre-existing passion — instead work right and that will trump the right work. Most passionate people are not who followed their passions but those who have been around long enough to become good at what they do and getting better every day

Telling someone to follow your passion isn’t just wrong it is dangerous — potentially a foundation of riddled career full of confusions and angst.

So we need to look beyond passion and focus on skills and crafting the art of gathering those skills

The Craftsman Mindset

The craftsman mindset offers clarity while passion mindset offers a swamp of ambiguous and unanswerable questions. If you spend too much time focussing on whether or not you have found your true calling, the question will be rendered moot when you find yourself out of work

Regardless of how you feel about your job right now, you need to work on adopting the craftsman mindset to create a foundation upon which you will build your compelling career.

The Power of Career Capital:-
1) The traits that define great work that are rare and valuable
2) Rare and valuable skills that you can offer 
3) Focus on becoming so good that they can’t ignore you

You need to learn how to learn deeply and keep your attention focused on the activities that matter; and how to kill procrastination. It’s so easy to spend all day checking your work email and sitting in front of your laptop on things that are not urgent or/and important.

You need to play at a level that is appropriately challenging

Instead of letting satisfying work pile up and they enjoying it, one should focus on acquiring skills that would make him exceptional. But, we all hit plateaus — so it is not about showing up at work everyday and working hard it is more about dedication to deliberate practice, and deliberate practice is often not enjoyable

You need to learn to be patient — willingness to reject shiny new pursuits in order to aquire the career capital that you need — when you strech your abilities beyond where you are comfortable.

The Law of Financial Viability

Finding the right work pales in the importance to working right. If your goal is to love what you do, you need to acquire career capital then invest this capital in the traits that define great work.

Money is a neutral indicator of value, by aiming more money you are aming to become more valuable; so doing what people are willing to pay for is also good mental algorithm. So unless people are not willing to pay you, it is not a good idea to go after.

Think Small, Act Big ( The Importance of Mission )

We are living in a corporate world where a little relaxation become a sign of failure and the accomplishment of peers become tragedies. The real happiness can only come from the career that built on a clear and compelling mission.

When your mission is compelling you will exhibit great enthusiasm in staying up late to support your mission but staying up late working on an excel sheet because your manager wants it tomorow can be draining. How do you make mission a reality in your working like — that is a big question.

Hardness scares off the daydreamers and the timids, leaving more opportunity for those like us who are willing to take the time to carefully work out the best path forward and then confidently take action

Mission Requires Little Bets:-
To maximise your changes of success, you shoud try small and concrete experimets that return feedback. This will allow you to explore specific avenue aroung your mission, looking for those with the highest likelihood of leading to outstanding results.

Seth Godin, in his 2002 bestseller Purple Cow says:-

You are either remarkable or invisible