So Good They Can't Ignore You by Cal Newport

Cal Newport is a Georgetown professor who debunks the myth of pursuing your passion to find your dream job in So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for the Work You Love. Instead, you work at developing the dream job by putting in sweat equity. Once you have put in sufficient time and effort, you master your job, thereby raising your satisfaction levels but your expertise level also gives you leverage to negotiate benefits. Newport supports this theory through interviews of successful individuals. The work ethic part of the message resonated with me. I am a firm believer in practice - lots of focused practice. Most of my life's achievements came as a result of focused practice. It was encouraging to see that validated in Newport's book.

It was a good reminder to stay on track. I had become a bit disheartened with my job and picked up this book for some guidance. And the title of the book was intriguing. Newport was inspired by Steve Martin's advice to a young comedian on how to succeed. The advice was simple. You work at your craft until one day you become "so good they can't ignore you."

The message was clear that I should not be so easily discouraged. I doubted my abilities to stay on top of new technology that was necessary to maintain relevant in my career as a database administrator. The mountain of information was overwhelming and I thought my efforts were futile. The book helped me recommit to spending at least an hour a day reading/tinkering/writing about SQL Server and other databases. The book was like a much-needed kick in the pants from a wise uncle or mentor.

If you think you are in a career-rut and your idea of solving it is to quit your job and become a Zen Buddhist monk, read this book and reconsider.