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Apple II, bounce rate, Byte Shop, Cal Newport, capital controls, cleantech, Community Supported Agriculture, deliberate practice, financial independence, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, information asymmetry, job satisfaction, job-hopping, knowledge worker, Mason jar, medical residency, new economy, passive income, Paul Terrell, popular electronics, renewable energy credits, Results Only Work Environment, Richard Bolles, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, rolodex, Sand Hill Road, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, web application, winner-take-all economy
Here’s what you can expect in the pages ahead: As mentioned, I didn’t get far in my quest before I realized, as Thomas did before me, that the conventional wisdom on career success—follow your passion—is seriously flawed. It not only fails to describe how most people actually end up with compelling careers, but for many people it can actually make things worse: leading to chronic job shifting and unrelenting angst when, as it did for Thomas, one’s reality inevitably falls short of the dream. With this as a starting point, I begin with Rule #1, in which I tear down the supremacy of this passion hypothesis. But I don’t stop there. My quest pushed me beyond identifying what doesn’t work, insisting that I also answer the following: If “follow your passion” is bad advice, what should I do instead? My search for this answer, described in Rules #2–4, brought me to unexpected places.
We’ll also return to Thomas, who after his dispiriting realization at the monastery was able to return to his first principles, move his focus away from finding the right work and toward working right, and eventually build, for the first time in his life, a love for what he does. This is the happiness that you, too, should demand. It’s my hope that the insights that follow will free you from simplistic catchphrases like “follow your passion” and “do what you love”—the type of catchphrases that have helped spawn the career confusion that afflicts so many today—and instead, provide you with a realistic path toward a meaningful and engaging working life. RULE #1 Don’t Follow Your Passion Chapter One The “Passion” of Steve Jobs In which I question the validity of the passion hypothesis, which says that the key to occupational happiness is to match your job to a pre-existing passion. The Passion Hypothesis In June 2005, Steve Jobs took the podium at Stanford Stadium to give the commencement speech to Stanford’s graduating class.
Soon after, an unofficial video of the address was posted on YouTube, where it went viral, gathering over 3.5 million views. When Stanford posted an official video, it gathered an additional 3 million views. The comments on these clips homed in on the importance of loving your work, with viewers summarizing their reactions in similar ways: “The most valuable lesson is to find your purpose, follow your passions…. Life is too short to be doing what you think you have to do.” “Follow your passions—life is for the living.” “Passion is the engine to living your life.” “[It’s] passion for your work that counts.” “ ‘Don’t Settle.’ Amen.” In other words, many of the millions of people who viewed this speech were excited to see Steve Jobs—a guru of iconoclastic thinking—put his stamp of approval on an immensely appealing piece of popular career advice, which I call the passion hypothesis: The Passion Hypothesis The key to occupational happiness is to first figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a job that matches this passion.
big-box store, clean water, fixed income, follow your passion, if you build it, they will come, index card, informal economy, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, knowledge economy, late fees, price anchoring, Ralph Waldo Emerson, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Tony Hsieh, web application
If you’re not sure how to answer the marketplace questions, stay tuned. When I asked our group of unexpected entrepreneurs about the follow-your-passion model, I frequently heard a nuanced answer. Almost no one said, “Yes! You should always follow your passion wherever it leads.” Similarly, almost no one dismissed the idea out of hand. The nuance comes from the idea that passion plus good business sense creates an actual business. To understand how passion can sometimes translate into a profitable business, look at the chart on this page. In addition to passion, you must develop a skill that provides a solution to a problem. Only when passion merges with a skill that other people value can you truly follow your passion to the bank. Another way to think about it is (Passion + skill) → (problem + marketplace) = opportunity Although it is important, passion is just one part of the equation.
HD62.5.G854 2012 658.1′1—dc23 2012003093 eISBN: 978-0-307-95154-0 Illustrations: Mike Rohde Jacket design: Michael Nagin Jacket photography: Comstock/Getty Images v3.1 This book is for: those who take action and those who provide the inspiration ROAD MAP Cover Title Page Copyright Dedication PROLOGUE: Manifesto A short guide to everything you want. PART I UNEXPECTED ENTREPRENEURS 1. Renaissance You already have the skills you need—you just have to know where to look. 2. Give Them the Fish How to put happiness in a box and sell it. 3. Follow Your Passion … Maybe Get paid to do what you love by making sure it connects to what other people want. 4. The Rise of the Roaming Entrepreneur “Location, location, location” is overrated. 5. The New Demographics Your customers all have something in common, but it has nothing to do with old-school categories. PART II TAKING IT TO THE STREETS 6. The One-Page Business Plan If your mission statement is much longer than this sentence, it could be too long. 7.
In 2010 I produced a series of workshops on low-budget business ideas with Pamela Slim, author of Escape from Cubicle Nation. The first time we announced a workshop, it sold out in ninety minutes. We then offered spots in another workshop that wouldn’t be held for several months, and it sold out before lunchtime. Since it was clear we had found a demand for this information, I dug deeper. While hosting the workshops, I became interested in the “follow-your-passion” model—the idea that successful small businesses are often built on the pursuit of a personal hobby or interest. I conducted interviews with entrepreneurs all over the world and documented their stories for an online course called the Empire Building Kit. The course was the inspiration for launching the project on a wider scale and then for writing this book. I had a number of case studies in mind at the outset, but in preparation for writing the book, I cast the net much wider.
Doing Good Better: How Effective Altruism Can Help You Make a Difference by William MacAskill
barriers to entry, basic income, Black Swan, Branko Milanovic, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, carbon footprint, clean water, corporate social responsibility, correlation does not imply causation, Daniel Kahneman / Amos Tversky, David Brooks, effective altruism, en.wikipedia.org, end world poverty, experimental subject, follow your passion, food miles, immigration reform, income inequality, index fund, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Isaac Newton, job automation, job satisfaction, labour mobility, Lean Startup, M-Pesa, mass immigration, meta analysis, meta-analysis, microcredit, Nate Silver, Peter Singer: altruism, purchasing power parity, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, randomized controlled trial, self-driving car, Skype, Stanislav Petrov, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Steven Pinker, The Future of Employment, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, universal basic income, women in the workforce
Jobs’s message is emotionally resonant and appealing, and career advice is commonly built around slogans like “follow your heart” or “follow your passion.” The first paragraph of the advice book Career Ahead ends, “You owe it to yourself to do work that you love. This book will show you how.” A popular YouTube video, What If Money Was No Object? narrated by British writer Alan Watts, advises similarly. It suggests that, unless you ask yourself, “What makes you itch?” and pursue the answer, you will “spend your life completely wasting your time. You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living, that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing, which is stupid.” At its most extreme, the talk around career choice sounds similar to the talk around romance: when you find your perfect fit, you’ll just know. Taken literally, however, the idea of following your passion is terrible advice.
SIX Why Voting Is Like Donating Thousands of Dollars to Charity: Question #5: What are the chances of success, and how good would success be? PART TWO EFFECTIVE ALTRUISM IN ACTION SEVEN Overhead Costs, CEO Pay, and Other Confusions: Which charities make the most difference? EIGHT The Moral Case for Sweatshop Goods: How can consumers make the most difference? NINE Don’t “Follow Your Passion”: Which careers make the most difference? TEN Poverty Versus Climate Change Versus . . . : Which causes are most important? CONCLUSION Becoming an Effective Altruist: What should you do right now? APPENDIX Thinking Like an Effective Altruist: The five key questions of effective altruism. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS NOTES INDEX INTRODUCTION Worms and Water Pumps How can you do the most good?
If, for example, encouraging someone to buy fair-trade causes that person to devote less time or money to other, more effective activities, then promoting fair-trade might on balance be harmful. • • • In this chapter, we’ve seen that the benefits of ethical consumerism are often small compared to the good that well-targeted donations can do. In the next chapter, we’ll look at an area where you really can make an astonishing difference: your career. NINE DON’T “FOLLOW YOUR PASSION” Which careers make the most difference? As Peter Hurford entered his final year at Denison University, he needed to figure out what he was going to do with his life. He was twenty-two, majoring in political science and psychology, and he knew he wanted a career that would both be personally satisfying and would make a big difference. Graduate school was the obvious choice for someone with his interests, but he didn’t know what his other options were, or how to choose among them.
The New Prophets of Capital by Nicole Aschoff
3D printing, affirmative action, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, Airbnb, American Legislative Exchange Council, basic income, Bretton Woods, clean water, collective bargaining, commoditize, crony capitalism, feminist movement, follow your passion, Food sovereignty, glass ceiling, global supply chain, global value chain, helicopter parent, hiring and firing, income inequality, Khan Academy, late capitalism, Lyft, Mark Zuckerberg, mass incarceration, means of production, performance metric, profit motive, rent-seeking, Ronald Reagan, Rosa Parks, school vouchers, shareholder value, sharing economy, Silicon Valley, Slavoj Žižek, structural adjustment programs, Thomas L Friedman, Tim Cook: Apple, urban renewal, women in the workforce, working poor, zero-sum game
Trust your heart and success will come to you.24 Millennials have internalized this message: A recent study found that young people believe that adulthood “should be a journey toward happiness and fulfillment, meaning and purpose, [and] self-actualization,” one “marked by continuous development, discovery and growth.”25 Identity and work are inseparable in this equation, not because people identify themselves by their occupation, but because more and more of our lives are spent working, networking, and building up our personal brand. We spend years acquiring social capital (connections, access to networks) and cultural capital (skills and education) so we can find a job we love and hopefully keep a roof over our heads. The “do what you love” message is at the heart of the work-identity fusion. It advises you to follow your passion. If you’re unhappy, it’s because you’re not following your passion. If your job sucks, you’re at the wrong job. Video blogger and social media guru Gary Vaynerchuk’s famous TED Talk is a “shot in the arm” for those pining for a more fulfilling life: There are way too many people in this room right now that are doing stuff they hate. Please stop doing that. There is no reason in 2008 to do shit you hate! None. Promise me you won’t … Look yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, ‘What do I want to do every day for the rest of my life?’
Columnist Madeleine Schwartz notes that interns are regularly encouraged to be “flexible,” “energetic,” “creative,” and, most important, thankful for the opportunity to work for nothing.31 The National Labor Relations Board recently stepped in after widespread exploitation of interns was brought to light. In 2011, Fox Searchlight Pictures was charged with violating the Fair Labor Standards Act, and since then similar lawsuits have been filed against other companies, including Warner Music Group, Atlantic Music, and publishing houses Condé Nast and Hearst Corporation. In October 2014, NBC Universal settled a class-action lawsuit brought by a group of its interns for $4.6 million. Following your passion and doing what you love may also require you to forgo job stability and long-term employment on the always changing, always moving road to self-actualization. But job stability is rare these days: The average Millennial spends only 2.6 years at a company today. Some 30 percent of the US workforce is contingent labor, and by some estimates, 40 to 50 percent of jobs that produce an income will be organized as short-term, contract work by 2020.
Airbnb, always be closing, bounce rate, call centre, carbon footprint, commoditize, Deng Xiaoping, financial independence, follow your passion, income inequality, iterative process, Ralph Waldo Emerson, search engine result page, Skype, software as a service, South China Sea, Steve Jobs
Before long I was studying for my Series 7 & 63 securities licenses to become an investment banker with a boutique investment bank that offered me a VP of Business Development title in exchange for merging my consulting practice with them. I accepted. One of my heroes has always been Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and Pixar. In a commencement speech at Stanford University he said that you can only connect the dots looking backwards. That following your passion can lead you to unexpected places, studying or working on projects that seem disconnected or random. But looking backwards, after the fact, there is a common thread that connects all of those experiences together and you’ll find that you got just the right information and experiences to prepare you for the next round of challenges and opportunities. This advice proved prescient as I embraced my new identity as an investment banker.
A community of entrepreneurs, dating coaches and health & fitness experts was putting together a pilot program called Project Rockstar. The idea was to take six somewhat ordinary guys and break all the boundaries of what’s possible in terms of lifestyle. From fashion consults and approaching attractive women in the streets to customized fitness programs and business mentoring, Project Rockstar was 56 days that challenged and replaced every conception of what I thought was possible! When you follow your passions, wherever unexpected places they may lead, you will inevitably stumble across some of your life purposes. I began Project Rockstar as an introvert, determined to become wealthy at all costs and finished a new man. No more anxiety about talking to strangers or speaking in front of groups and my conception of wealth transformed as well; now I value my time and mobility above just an ever-increasing bank balance.
The weekend getaway to Necker Island was part of a “Mastermind” group he joined hosted by Joe Polish, who has raised millions for Branson’s Virgin Unite charity. Taking his own advice, Akira joined the group to continue his own personal development and ended up partnering with Richard Branson to grow Virgin Unite Japan! So what is Akira’s advice for aspiring Lifestyle Entrepreneurs around the world? “Follow your passion, invest in your learning and learn from the best. Spend time with people who you want to become, be humble and be honest and do it right now!!” TIME TO GO SUPERNOVA! Firing on All Cylinders Discovering your identity and identifying the centerpiece activities that give you the greatest satisfaction puts you ahead of so many others who just drift through life without taking ownership of their desires.
The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman
Airbnb, Andy Kessler, Black Swan, business intelligence, Cal Newport, Clayton Christensen, commoditize, David Brooks, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, fear of failure, follow your passion, future of work, game design, Jeff Bezos, job automation, late fees, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Menlo Park, out of africa, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, recommendation engine, Richard Bolles, risk tolerance, rolodex, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, social web, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Tony Hsieh, transaction costs
Developing a key skill, for example, doesn’t automatically give you a competitive edge. Just because you’re good at something (assets) that you’re really passionate about (aspirations) doesn’t necessarily mean someone will pay you to do it (market realities). After all, what if someone else can do the same thing for lower pay or do it more reliably? Or what if there’s no demand for the skill to begin with? Not much of a competitive advantage. Following your passions also doesn’t automatically lead to career flourishing. What if you’re passionate but not competent, relative to others? Finally, being a slave to market realities isn’t sustainable. A shortage of nurses in hospitals—meaning there’s demand for credentialed nurses—doesn’t mean you should get on the nursing track. No matter what the demand, you’re not going to be most competitive unless your own passions and strengths are in play.
Habit number two of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People is, “Begin with the end in mind”: you should produce a personal mission statement that puts your goals in focus. In The Purpose-Driven Life, Rick Warren advances the idea that each of us has a God-given purpose for being on this planet. The primary message of these books (of which there are more than 50 million copies in circulation) and countless others is to listen to your heart and follow your passion. Find your true north by filling out worksheets or engaging in deep, thoughtful introspection. Once you’ve got a mission in mind, these books urge, you’re supposed to develop a long-term plan for fulfilling it. You’re supposed to craft detailed, specific goals. You’re urged to figure out who you are and where you want to be in ten years, and then work backward to develop a roadmap for getting there.
3D printing, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Berlin Wall, Black Swan, Chuck Templeton: OpenTable, clean water, collapse of Lehman Brothers, creative destruction, Credit Default Swap, crony capitalism, crowdsourcing, Danny Hillis, declining real wages, demographic dividend, Elon Musk, en.wikipedia.org, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, Fall of the Berlin Wall, follow your passion, game design, housing crisis, Hyman Minsky, industrial robot, invisible hand, James Dyson, Jane Jacobs, Jeff Bezos, jimmy wales, John Gruber, John Markoff, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, lone genius, manufacturing employment, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Martin Wolf, new economy, Paul Graham, Peter Thiel, QR code, race to the bottom, reshoring, Richard Florida, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley ideology, Silicon Valley startup, six sigma, Skype, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, supply-chain management, Tesla Model S, The Chicago School, The Design of Experiments, the High Line, The Myth of the Rational Market, thinkpad, Tim Cook: Apple, too big to fail, tulip mania, We are the 99%, Y Combinator, young professional, Zipcar
It’s that secret hobby or that thing you used to be really good at, or that new approach at work that you feel would be so much better than what everyone is doing now. It’s that idea that you have about a product that your friends would really love to try if they could. Much has been written about the importance of following your passion, but anyone who’s juggling life’s many demands—moving up the career ladder, raising children, making ends meet in a tough economy—might wonder how to find the time. But a quick glance on Kickstarter will tell you that following your passion to create something can be a very smart investment. Moreover, that thing that electrifies you, that you can’t stop talking or thinking about, is what can draw an audience to you. When we talk about what we love, our faces light up, the words flow, and the excitement can be contagious.
The Education of Millionaires: It's Not What You Think and It's Not Too Late by Michael Ellsberg
affirmative action, Black Swan, Burning Man, corporate governance, creative destruction, financial independence, follow your passion, future of work, hiring and firing, job automation, knowledge worker, Lean Startup, Mark Zuckerberg, means of production, mega-rich, meta analysis, meta-analysis, new economy, Norman Mailer, Peter Thiel, profit motive, race to the bottom, Sand Hill Road, shareholder value, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Ballmer, survivorship bias, telemarketer, Tony Hsieh
If you’re not particularly passionate about accounting, corporate management, law, or engineering (the traditional professions), and you go into those fields to please your parents, or to placate your own fears about the risks of following your creative passions, it seems very unlikely to me that you’ll end up happy with your career choice. You will always be plagued by a nagging sense of “What if?” Sure, there are a lot of risks of following your passions—the risk that you’ll have to move back into your parents’ basement as an adult, for example, or face near death as a “starving artist.” But, as Randy Komisar points out in his book The Monk and the Riddle, there are also a lot of unacknowledged risks to not following your passions, of sticking too close to the beaten path in the name of safety and predictability. These include: “[T]he risk of working with people you don’t respect; the risk of working for a company whose values are inconsistent with your own; the risk of compromising what’s important; the risk of doing something that fails to express—or even contradicts—who you are.
And Never Stop Dancing: Thirty More True Things You Need to Know Now by Gordon Livingston
This is, I suppose, yet another example of the usual dialogue between the generations in which those who are older feel a need to tell those who are younger what to do. How much better received we would be if we simply told our stories and left the moral for our listeners to divine. In writers’ workshops the operative instruction is “show, don’t tell.” This implies that we learn best about values by seeing how other people have expressed what they believed in by their actions and not by being told to “follow your passion,” or “do unto others . . . ,” or “live an honest life.” Most of us know what we should do; we just need models of how those who have gone before us have reified their beliefs. It’s not surprising that when we contemplate our mortality we tend to feel a little desperate about being remembered. “He not busy being born is busy dying,” Bob Dylan said. His music will not be buried with him. 176.
Women Leaders at Work: Untold Tales of Women Achieving Their Ambitions by Elizabeth Ghaffari
Albert Einstein, AltaVista, business process, cloud computing, Columbine, corporate governance, corporate social responsibility, dark matter, family office, Fellow of the Royal Society, financial independence, follow your passion, glass ceiling, Grace Hopper, high net worth, knowledge worker, Long Term Capital Management, performance metric, pink-collar, profit maximization, profit motive, recommendation engine, Ronald Reagan, shareholder value, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Steve Ballmer, Steve Jobs, thinkpad, trickle-down economics, urban planning, women in the workforce, young professional
Some of the negatives came about because I was entering a field with a lot of older men who had not worked with women before. It wasn’t things that were said or done so much as awkwardness. There was never any intent to be deliberately cruel. There is much less of that awkwardness today. And there is a greater awareness today of things that are appropriate to say or not say. Ghaffari: What key advice would you give to other women? Ford: Follow your passion. If you enjoy doing something, follow that passion. Remove all the obstacles and never give up. Persistence really does pay off. Every year there are a whole new set of challenges. If you’re still pursuing those cool and interesting projects that you have a passion around, you have to just remove the obstacles that get in the way. Ghaffari: What advice, especially, do you have for young women?
It’s not that she’s my achievement from an intellectual standpoint. It’s that my husband and I had this wonderful kid, and together we have this amazing family that’s absolutely important to both of us. The other side is the women and men that I have trained in my laboratory—my scientific children. That’s the flip side. Ghaffari: Is there anything you would say to advise young women about their interest in science or math? Barton: Do what you love. Follow your passion. And, if you love doing science, you can do it. There’s no reason why you can’t. So, do what you love, because whatever you love doing, you’ll be good at it. Amy Millman President, Springboard Enterprises Born June 1954 in Brooklyn, New York. For more than a decade, Amy Millman has been president and principal advocate of Springboard Enterprises—the premier venture-catalyst platform for building women-led businesses.
The Little Book of Hedge Funds by Anthony Scaramucci
Andrei Shleifer, asset allocation, Bernie Madoff, business process, carried interest, corporate raider, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, fear of failure, fixed income, follow your passion, Gordon Gekko, high net worth, index fund, John Meriwether, Long Term Capital Management, mail merge, margin call, mass immigration, merger arbitrage, money market fund, Myron Scholes, NetJets, Ponzi scheme, profit motive, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, random walk, Renaissance Technologies, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, Ronald Reagan, Saturday Night Live, Sharpe ratio, short selling, Silicon Valley, the new new thing, too big to fail, transaction costs, Vanguard fund, Y2K, Yogi Berra, zero-sum game
How to get a job at a top hedge fund. But, this chapter will also be a cautionary tale. If you are looking to chase money, fortune, or fame and don’t think you have the stomach for managing money or being a part of an asset management organization, then hopefully you will go back to your art or poetry class when you are done reading this chapter. As I tell any young person I advise or mentor: follow your passions and do want you really want to do. Don’t chase what you think you should do; it will only delay your journey to job and life fulfillment. Wall Street’s Mass Migration Growing up, it was fairly simple. Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always the same: I wanted a job that would give me and my family financial security. At the time, I had no idea what a hedge fund was and if someone asked me I probably would have said it had to do with landscaping (as in hedges) and nothing to do with money management.
Moreover, even the industrialized parts of the world host enough hostel networks, bulk transportation discounts, and camping opportunities to make long-term travel affordable. Ultimately, you may well discover that vagabonding on the cheap becomes your favorite way to travel, even if given more expensive options. Indeed, not only does simplicity save you money and buy you time; it also makes you more adventuresome, forces you into sincere contact with locals, and allows you the independence to follow your passions and curiosities down exciting new roads. In this way, simplicity — both at home and on the road — affords you the time to seek renewed meaning in an oft-neglected commodity that can’t be bought at any price: life itself. Tip Sheet RESOURCES FOR LIFESTYLE SIMPLICITY Your Money or Your Life: Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence, by Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin (Penguin USA, 1999) This bestselling book uses a nine-step process to demonstrate how most people are making a “dying” instead of a living.
Rigged Money: Beating Wall Street at Its Own Game by Lee Munson
affirmative action, asset allocation, backtesting, barriers to entry, Bernie Madoff, Bretton Woods, buy low sell high, California gold rush, call centre, Credit Default Swap, diversification, diversified portfolio, estate planning, fiat currency, financial innovation, fixed income, Flash crash, follow your passion, German hyperinflation, High speed trading, housing crisis, index fund, joint-stock company, money market fund, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, passive investing, Ponzi scheme, price discovery process, random walk, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, too big to fail, trade route, Vanguard fund, walking around money
They saw me as somebody who could do good things for Wall Street and Main Street. I began studying, first for the Certified Financial Planning designation and then to earn a Chartered Financial Analyst charter. I bought my first home and had my first child, a daughter. Will I ever be able to explain my lapse in judgment to her? I want to teach my daughter that even if certain people in society disagree with you or what you do—follow your passion. You respect the fact that some people are ignorant and will never approve. In essence, I want to tell her: don’t apologize and don’t back down. Now that I’m older, I like what Business Insider did without contacting me in publishing a 10-year flashback of the ordeal. That was the defining moment because it reminded me of something. It reminded me of what I was trying to tell people back in 2001.
You Are Not a Gadget by Jaron Lanier
1960s counterculture, accounting loophole / creative accounting, additive manufacturing, Albert Einstein, call centre, cloud computing, commoditize, crowdsourcing, death of newspapers, digital Maoism, Douglas Hofstadter, Extropian, follow your passion, hive mind, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, jimmy wales, John Conway, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Long Term Capital Management, Network effects, new economy, packet switching, PageRank, pattern recognition, Ponzi scheme, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Stallman, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, slashdot, social graph, stem cell, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, Ted Nelson, telemarketer, telepresence, The Wisdom of Crowds, trickle-down economics, Turing test, Vernor Vinge, Whole Earth Catalog
Wouldn’t you be projecting your own fantasies on single-cell organisms that would be indifferent to them at best? Doesn’t it really become about you instead of the cause at that point? Do you go around blowing up other people’s toothbrushes? Do you think the bacteria you saved are morally equivalent to former slaves—and if you do, haven’t you diminished the status of those human beings? Even if you can follow your passion to free and protect the world’s bacteria with a pure heart, haven’t you divorced yourself from the reality of interdependence and transience of all things? You can try to avoid killing bacteria on special occasions, but you need to kill them to live. And even if you are willing to die for your cause, you can’t prevent bacteria from devouring your own body when you die. Obviously the example of bacteria is extreme, but it shows that the circle is only meaningful if it is finite.
The Big Shift: Navigating the New Stage Beyond Midlife by Marc Freedman
airport security, Berlin Wall, David Brooks, follow your passion, illegal immigration, Isaac Newton, McMansion, RAND corporation, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, transcontinental railway, working poor, working-age population
Self-Renewal: The Individual and the Innovative Society. New York: W. W. Norton, 1995. Hall, G. Stanley. Senescence: The Last Half of Life. New York: D. Appleton, 1922. Hall, Stephen S. Wisdom: From Philosophy to Neuroscience. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010. Handy, Charles. The Age of Unreason. Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 1989. ———. The Hungry Spirit. New York: Broadway Books, 1998. Hannon, Kerry. What’s Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job. San Francisco: Chronicle Books, 2010. Hareven, Tamara K. “The Last Stage: Historical Adulthood and Old Age.” Daedalus 105, no. 4 (1976): 13–27. “The HBR List: Breakthrough Ideas for 2005.” Harvard Business Review, February 2005. Hine, Thomas. The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager. New York: Harper Perennial, 2000. Ibarra, Herminia. Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career.
The Emotionally Absent Mother: A Guide to Self-Healing and Getting the Love You Missed by Jasmin Lee Cori Ms, Lpc
They monitor themselves carefully and create high standards they hold themselves to. Many continue this practice throughout adulthood. In an interesting twist, this is often paired with being an underachiever rather than an overachiever. People who need to do everything well don’t have permission to fail or to try new things that require a learning curve, and so they stop themselves before they begin. Difficulty finding your authentic voice and following your passion Without a champion or a cheerleader, without mirroring, without unconditional acceptance, it’s much harder to find your authentic self-expression. Neglect can be a setup for a lost self and lost life. What helps While you can never go back to being a baby and get the holding you missed, there is much that you can do to make up for insufficient mothering. In the next chapter we’ll look at the overall process of healing mother wounds, and in the remaining five chapters consider a variety of things that can help.
Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport
8-hour work day, Albert Einstein, barriers to entry, business climate, Cal Newport, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, Clayton Christensen, David Brooks, David Heinemeier Hansson, deliberate practice, Donald Knuth, Donald Trump, Downton Abbey, en.wikipedia.org, Erik Brynjolfsson, experimental subject, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, informal economy, information retrieval, Internet Archive, Jaron Lanier, knowledge worker, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, Merlin Mann, Nate Silver, new economy, Nicholas Carr, popular electronics, remote working, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, Ruby on Rails, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Snapchat, statistical model, the medium is the message, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, web application, winner-take-all economy, zero-sum game
Whether you’re a writer, marketer, consultant, or lawyer: Your work is craft, and if you hone your ability and apply it with respect and care, then like the skilled wheelwright you can generate meaning in the daily efforts of your professional life. It’s here that some might respond that their knowledge work job cannot possibly become such a source of meaning because their job’s subject is much too mundane. But this is flawed thinking that our consideration of traditional craftsmanship can help correct. In our current culture, we place a lot of emphasis on job description. Our obsession with the advice to “follow your passion” (the subject of my last book), for example, is motivated by the (flawed) idea that what matters most for your career satisfaction is the specifics of the job you choose. In this way of thinking, there are some rarified jobs that can be a source of satisfaction—perhaps working in a nonprofit or starting a software company—while all others are soulless and bland. The philosophy of Dreyfus and Kelly frees us from such traps.
The Wisdom of Finance: Discovering Humanity in the World of Risk and Return by Mihir Desai
activist fund / activist shareholder / activist investor, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, assortative mating, Benoit Mandelbrot, Brownian motion, capital asset pricing model, carried interest, collective bargaining, corporate governance, corporate raider, discounted cash flows, diversified portfolio, Eugene Fama: efficient market hypothesis, financial innovation, follow your passion, George Akerlof, Gordon Gekko, greed is good, housing crisis, income inequality, information asymmetry, Isaac Newton, Jony Ive, Kenneth Rogoff, Louis Bachelier, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, new economy, out of africa, Paul Samuelson, Pierre-Simon Laplace, principal–agent problem, Ralph Waldo Emerson, random walk, risk/return, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Ronald Coase, Silicon Valley, Steve Jobs, The Market for Lemons, The Nature of the Firm, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Tim Cook: Apple, transaction costs, zero-sum game
Journal of Accounting and Economics 7 (1985): 151–74; and Quigley, Timothy J., Craig Crossland, and Robert J. Campbell. “Shareholder Perceptions of the Changing Impact of CEOs: Market Reactions to Unexpected CEO Deaths, 1950–2009.” Strategic Management Journal, March 2016. In exploring the parallels of the principal-agent framework to our lives, I employ Luna, Elle. The Crossroads of Should and Must: Find and Follow Your Passion. New York: Workman Publishing, 2015; Miller, Alice. The Drama of the Gifted Child. New York: Basic Books, 1996; Joyce, James. Ulysses. Paris: Sylvia Beach, 1922; Grosz, Stephen. The Examined Life: How We Lose and Find Ourselves. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2013; and Forster, E. M. A Room with a View. Edited by Malcolm Bradbury. New York: Penguin Books, 2000. “suppliers of capital get”: Shleifer and Vishny, “A Survey of Corporate Governance,” 738.
Masterminds of Programming: Conversations With the Creators of Major Programming Languages by Federico Biancuzzi, Shane Warden
Benevolent Dictator For Life (BDFL), business intelligence, business process, cellular automata, cloud computing, commoditize, complexity theory, conceptual framework, continuous integration, data acquisition, domain-specific language, Douglas Hofstadter, Fellow of the Royal Society, finite state, Firefox, follow your passion, Frank Gehry, general-purpose programming language, Guido van Rossum, HyperCard, information retrieval, iterative process, John von Neumann, Larry Wall, linear programming, loose coupling, Mars Rover, millennium bug, NP-complete, Paul Graham, performance metric, Perl 6, QWERTY keyboard, RAND corporation, randomized controlled trial, Renaissance Technologies, Ruby on Rails, Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, Silicon Valley, slashdot, software as a service, software patent, sorting algorithm, Steve Jobs, traveling salesman, Turing complete, type inference, Valgrind, Von Neumann architecture, web application
Grady: This is a question that was just asked of me by a student at USC. I gave some lectures at Cal-Poly and USC a few weeks ago. I’ve had some followups from some of those students, so I’ll offer the same answer that I offered for them back then. The first is follow your passion and be sure you have fun. There is certainly value in pursuing a career and pursing a livelihood but in the end development and all the things we do, it’s a human experience and you want to be a whole person in this process. So enjoy, live fully, gain life experiences; please do that. Follow your passion because it’s easy to find really crappy jobs out there where you can find yourself in a place you just hate. Please don’t do that. That’s what I encourage. The second thing I encourage is gain some experience. Get yourself involved in some open source projects.
The Road to Character by David Brooks
Cass Sunstein, David Brooks, desegregation, Donald Trump, follow your passion, George Santayana, Mahatma Gandhi, meta analysis, meta-analysis, moral hazard, New Journalism, Ralph Waldo Emerson, rent control, Snapchat, Steve Jobs, Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, union organizing, Upton Sinclair, upwardly mobile
(Though, to be fair, I’m pretty sure the president of Harvard would also rather be Justin Bieber’s personal assistant.) As I looked around the popular culture I kept finding the same messages everywhere: You are special. Trust yourself. Be true to yourself. Movies from Pixar and Disney are constantly telling children how wonderful they are. Commencement speeches are larded with the same clichés: Follow your passion. Don’t accept limits. Chart your own course. You have a responsibility to do great things because you are so great. This is the gospel of self-trust. As Ellen DeGeneres put it in a 2009 commencement address, “My advice to you is to be true to yourself and everything will be fine.” Celebrity chef Mario Batali advised graduates to follow “your own truth, expressed consistently by you.” Anna Quindlen urged another audience to have the courage to “honor your character, your intellect, your inclinations, and, yes, your soul by listening to its clean clear voice instead of following the muddied messages of a timid world.”
The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss
Albert Einstein, Amazon Mechanical Turk, call centre, clean water, Donald Trump, en.wikipedia.org, Firefox, fixed income, follow your passion, game design, global village, Iridium satellite, knowledge worker, late fees, Maui Hawaii, oil shock, paper trading, Parkinson's law, passive income, peer-to-peer, pre–internet, Ralph Waldo Emerson, remote working, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, Steve Jobs, Vilfredo Pareto, wage slave, William of Occam
Just as love and hate are two sides of the same coin, so are happiness and sadness. Crying out of happiness is a perfect illustration of this. The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is—here’s the clincher—boredom. Excitement is the more practical synonym for happiness, and it is precisely what you should strive to chase. It is the cure-all. When people suggest you follow your “passion” or your “bliss,” I propose that they are, in fact, referring to the same singular concept: excitement. This brings us full circle. The question you should be asking isn’t, “What do I want?” or “What are my goals?” but “What would excite me?” Adult-Onset ADD: Adventure Deficit Disorder Somewhere between college graduation and your second job, a chorus enters your internal dialogue: Be realistic and stop pretending.
Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby
AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar
No surprise: he owns several himself. Staci Jennifer Riordan, of Fox Rothschild, spent years working in the fashion business and now specializes in fashion law. M. Dru Levasseur, whose own female-to-male transition opened his eyes to discrimination based on gender identity, is today’s best-known practitioner of transgender law. Thus, finding a narrow specialization is largely a matter of following your passion, which has always been an important factor in career choice. But some passions are more likely to succeed than others, so some rational analysis about your narrow field of choice is also a good idea. What you need to examine is whether, in that famous cliché from Wayne Gretzky, you are skating where the puck is going to be. There should be strong indicators that there will be a market for your services, that there won’t be too many other people in it, and that the field isn’t likely to be automated.
The Global Citizen: A Guide to Creating an International Life and Career by Elizabeth Kruempelmann
Thuesen (Dell Publishing, 1993) The sixteen personality types are based on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) and give an interesting and thorough analysis of how the use of personality typing can be applied to the workplace. U N C O V E R I N G Y O U R G L O B A L PA S S I O N 25 Figure Out What You Love (and Do) Best The best advice that anyone has ever given me (and that I have passed on to others) is simply to “follow your passion.” Do what comes naturally to you, do something that makes you feel fulfilled. At the end of a day’s work you should feel energized; time should have passed by without you even noticing it. Develop and follow a path that allows you to live life the way you want. OK, I know that’s easier said than done—especially if you don’t know yet what your passion is. That is why the personality and career assessments are important first steps to uncovering your hidden passions.
The Complete Thyroid Book by Kenneth Ain, M. Sara Rosenthal
It occurred to me that I could write the book I wished I’d had when my thyroid problem was ﬁrst diagnosed. It was a tough sell to a publisher because I was not an M.D. One small publisher in California was willing to take a chance. They had begun a “sourcebook” series and thought I could write The Thyroid Sourcebook. Even if only a handful of readers beneﬁted, I felt it would be well worth the effort. I learned a valuable lesson early in life: follow your passion and it will take care of you. Today, hundreds of thousands of thyroid patients have beneﬁted from that book, which has been updated ﬁve times and translated into several languages, including Chinese. Between 1993 and 1996 I created seven health sourcebooks while holding down various writing jobs in advertising and journalism. As I saw how powerful a tool accessible information could be for informed consent and patient education, I started to become passionate about another area: bioethics, also known as medical ethics.
Advertisers at Work by Tracy Tuten
I grew up in Europe and I would really love to give my kids the experience of living in another country during their childhood. I feel like my answer is all over the place. I don’t make firm career plans because I worry it will give me tunnel vision. Have you seen Steve Jobs’ speech to the Stanford graduating class? I’m sure it’s online.5 In it, he talks about how new opportunities will present themselves to you. They will be opportunities that you never thought of. These opportunities occur when you follow your passions. They don’t happen because you followed a career ladder or some predictable schedule for career growth—just when you follow a passion and are committed to excellence in your work. You earn the opportunities with your passion, but you can’t take advantage of them unless you are open and smart enough to recognize the opportunities when they come. The choices may not always seem rational. But when you look back, they will make sense to you.
Albert Einstein, Asian financial crisis, asset allocation, asset-backed security, backtesting, banking crisis, Bernie Madoff, Black Swan, Bretton Woods, BRICs, British Empire, business process, capital asset pricing model, capital controls, central bank independence, collateralized debt obligation, commoditize, Commodity Super-Cycle, commodity trading advisor, credit crunch, Credit Default Swap, credit default swaps / collateralized debt obligations, currency peg, debt deflation, diversification, diversified portfolio, equity premium, family office, fiat currency, fixed income, follow your passion, full employment, George Santayana, Hyman Minsky, implied volatility, index fund, inflation targeting, interest rate swap, inventory management, invisible hand, London Interbank Offered Rate, Long Term Capital Management, market bubble, market fundamentalism, market microstructure, moral hazard, Myron Scholes, North Sea oil, open economy, peak oil, pension reform, Ponzi scheme, prediction markets, price discovery process, price stability, private sector deleveraging, profit motive, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, random walk, reserve currency, risk tolerance, risk-adjusted returns, risk/return, savings glut, selection bias, Sharpe ratio, short selling, sovereign wealth fund, special drawing rights, statistical arbitrage, stochastic volatility, survivorship bias, The Great Moderation, Thomas Bayes, time value of money, too big to fail, transaction costs, unbiased observer, value at risk, Vanguard fund, yield curve, zero-sum game
It is a small market that can be pushed around so strong buying could generate outsized price moves. Longer-dated nominal bonds will obviously be a total catastrophe in an inflation scenario, so you have to be underweight those if you think the risk of inflation is increasing. But the opposite holds true in a deflationary scenario. This game was never meant to be easy. If you were to follow your passion and go deep sea fishing for the next 10 years, and you had to put all of your wealth into one trade, what would it be? Well, I hope I will never have to bet everything on one card without being able to adjust my views for 10 years. But if I had no choice, I would say residential real estate in the U.S., focusing on cheaper markets with rock-bottom prices such as Florida or California—but not the fancy addresses.
Data Scientists at Work by Sebastian Gutierrez
Albert Einstein, algorithmic trading, Bayesian statistics, bioinformatics, bitcoin, business intelligence, chief data officer, clean water, cloud computing, commoditize, computer vision, continuous integration, correlation does not imply causation, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data is the new oil, DevOps, domain-specific language, Donald Knuth, follow your passion, full text search, informal economy, information retrieval, Infrastructure as a Service, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), inventory management, iterative process, lifelogging, linked data, Mark Zuckerberg, microbiome, Moneyball by Michael Lewis explains big data, move fast and break things, move fast and break things, natural language processing, Network effects, nuclear winter, optical character recognition, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, personalized medicine, Peter Thiel, pre–internet, quantitative hedge fund, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, recommendation engine, Renaissance Technologies, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, self-driving car, side project, Silicon Valley, Skype, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, Steve Jobs, stochastic process, technology bubble, text mining, the scientific method, web application
I think eventually we’ll have something similar to the Agile Manifesto and agile methodology for data science—agile data science or whatever else you want to call it—that will bring some old methods and ways for collaborating and working in this field. And then suddenly, the focus will shift from methods and tools to actual end results and the delivery of those results. Gutierrez: What advice would you give to someone starting out? Karpištšenko: Though somewhat generic advice, I believe you should trust yourself and follow your passion. I think it’s easy to get distracted by the news in the media and the expectations presented by the media and choose a direction that you didn’t want to go. So when it comes to data science, you should look at it as a starting point for your career. Having this background will be beneficial in anything you do. Having an ability to create software and www.it-ebooks.info 235 236 Chapter 11 | André Karpištšenko, Planet OS the ability to work with statistics will enable you to make smarter decisions in any field you choose.
Airbnb, Alexander Shulgin, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Atul Gawande, augmented reality, back-to-the-land, Bernie Madoff, Bertrand Russell: In Praise of Idleness, Black Swan, blue-collar work, Buckminster Fuller, business process, Cal Newport, call centre, Checklist Manifesto, cognitive bias, cognitive dissonance, Colonization of Mars, Columbine, commoditize, correlation does not imply causation, David Brooks, David Graeber, diversification, diversified portfolio, Donald Trump, effective altruism, Elon Musk, fault tolerance, fear of failure, Firefox, follow your passion, future of work, Google X / Alphabet X, Howard Zinn, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Jeff Bezos, job satisfaction, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, John Markoff, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Lao Tzu, life extension, lifelogging, Mahatma Gandhi, Marc Andreessen, Mark Zuckerberg, Mason jar, Menlo Park, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nicholas Carr, optical character recognition, PageRank, passive income, pattern recognition, Paul Graham, peer-to-peer, Peter H. Diamandis: Planetary Resources, Peter Singer: altruism, Peter Thiel, phenotype, PIHKAL and TIHKAL, post scarcity, premature optimization, QWERTY keyboard, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Ray Kurzweil, recommendation engine, rent-seeking, Richard Feynman, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Ronald Reagan, selection bias, sharing economy, side project, Silicon Valley, skunkworks, Skype, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, software is eating the world, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, superintelligent machines, Tesla Model S, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas L Friedman, Wall-E, Washington Consensus, Whole Earth Catalog, Y Combinator, zero-sum game
DeCamp Professor of Bioethics at the University Center for Human Values at Princeton University. His most famous works are the surprisingly readable Practical Ethics and Animal Liberation. Derek Parfit, who has spent his entire life at All Souls College at Oxford, which is elite even within Oxford. Derek wrote a book called Reasons and Persons, which Will considers one of the most important books written in the 20th century. “Follow Your Passion” Is Terrible Advice “I think it misconstrues the nature of finding a satisfying career and satisfying job, where the biggest predictor of job satisfaction is mentally engaging work. It’s the nature of the job itself. It’s not got that much to do with you. . . . It’s whether the job provides a lot of variety, gives you good feedback, allows you to exercise autonomy, contributes to the wider world—Is it actually meaningful?