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This Holiday, Give the Gift of Career Confidence


A Gift that Keeps on Giving

If you’re still searching for holiday gifts, I want to humbly recommend my new book, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work you Love.

As most of you know, this book makes the argument that “follow your passion” is bad advice. It then chronicles my (successful) quest to figure out the concrete strategies that work instead (hint: how you work is more important than what work you do).

If you already read the book and enjoyed it, think about your passion-addled friends and relatives who might benefit from hearing this advice.

If you haven’t read it, consider giving yourself the gift of a blueprint for building a remarkable career.

On the fence? Here are some accolades to help persuade you…

Want to find out more? You can also read my summary of the book, or read (adapted) excerpts published in Fast Company, The Globe and Mail, and Lifehacker.

If you’re a college student (or thinking of buying the book for a student), read this thoughtful review from the Swarthmore College Daily Gazette.

If you’re interested: you can find the book at Barnes & Noble stores (it should be on the Best of Business display at most locations) and online at and Amazon.


Okay, that’s the end of my pitch. We’ll return soon to our regularly scheduled programming. In particular, I’ve been working on an essay about why I think David Allen deters deep work.

Stay tuned…

22 thoughts on “This Holiday, Give the Gift of Career Confidence”

  1. Sound’s like a great idea to give someone something that helps with personal development especially in these times of ‘economical slow down’ when passion is most important value to create. In addition, I am wondering if you can get it in Europe as well?

  2. Another vote for having an e-book made available internationally. I’m living in France but I think it’s more likely my New Zealand account, talk to your publisher please so we can all read and gift the awesomeness.

  3. Sigh…
    I have been on an epic quest of frustration in order to get this book Cal, but to no avail. I’m from Brazil, and there is not digital version of you book on Amazon. There is the Barnes and Noble NOOK version, but when I tried to install it, Apple won’t allow my non-american credit card to buy in the US iStore, even though it’s a free software. So I just can’t read you book, and I really wanted to. If there’s any other way I can personally pay you for you work, let me know, I’m kinda desperate here. Thanks.

  4. Sorry about the lack of digital copies in non-US, UK, Canada. International digital rights are complicated, and, in this case, out of my hands, since we sold world rights to Hachette. They say they’re working on negotiations, but I don’t really know what’s happening there…

  5. Sorry, I am also from Brazil and just realised I duplicated a query you just replied to Vinicius above this one. Looking forward to buy a Kindle version whenever available. Thanks for sharing your subject knowledge with us.

  6. It is unfortunate that digital copies aren’t readily available internationally. My eyesight prevents me from reading any other way. I guess it will turn up eventually.

  7. Geez, that’s a lot of great PR for your book. The argument research I believe is the core that gets things going and making a successful read. Digital Copies is something that would make this much better

  8. Your book was a turning point for my career. Being a life long learner, this book fit right into what I was basically planning, but had no guide to do so. Just returning from three years in Afghanistan, I knew I had to do exactly what you suggested in the book. I had already figured out pretty much what my rare and valuable career capital was, but didn’t know how to handle it. Your book took me over the edge. Now, I have a new job in my old field, am completing my Masters, and starting the appropriate certifications to fit what I need to be rare and valuable. Thank You!

  9. Heading to B&N again tomorrow for a hard copy for my entrepreneur friend with a pet products store; her own, not a chain….Have mine on iPhone Kindle app :). Wonderful.

  10. Great read Cal! I absolutely love your books and I am big fan! Your past books have changed my life and I’ve recommended them to my friends and family. I am now finishing up this book, and I have to say it’s extremely useful to the situation I now find myself at. I am extremely interested in learning more about deliberate practice and avoiding the plateau of performance skills and career capital that I’ve found myself at time and time again.

    I haven’t completed the book in full yet, but I noticed that you mentioned deliberate practice and some ways in which others have used it (I’m currently at the point in the book where you describe how you’ve used it), but I notice that you don’t have a generalized overarching strategy for applying it to your life.

    I think a few of your posts mentioned ‘deep work’ and I think this might be helpful in getting past a lot of discomfort that comes with stretching oneself. I’ll begin reading more into this.

  11. Look more deeply into what people mean by “passion” for their work.

    Emphasize the “guided” aspect of “deliberate practice”. In the case of many fields (e.g. software development, screen-writing), it’s easy to set your sights far too low or simply askew and still believe you’re doing well and making progress. Many people engage in deliberate practice, but without context they’re not necessarily progressing, not necessarily going in a positive direction, so it’s easy to wander off into the swamps. (And if one is not careful, at least in the case of musical or kinesthetic performance, one can “burn in” one’s mistakes.)

    It is easy for us to forget that the little corners of the world any of us have seen or explored are not the whole world. The only ones of your role models whose names I recognize (let alone their “career capital” or expertise) are Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Where are Seymour Cray, Greg Mansfield, Dave Cahlander? They’re off in an earlier time and a different set of niches.

    Ethics seems to be barely brushed on. Many people seem willing to pay big bux to get people with even a little expertise in STEM fields to do evil things.

    The best part is the title, but the part twixt the covers is a bit lacking in substance, which, on the plus side, makes it a quick, easy read.

  12. So I just finished reading your book, and I think your ideas about career progression and life satisfaction are interesting and worth spreading. However, I was disappointed that out of the 9 professionals that were profiled and held up as examples, only 2 were women. Do you have any advice for women, and other people, who might experience “glass ceilings” in the workplace? For many people, finding meaningful work may entail more than reinvesting career capital, there maybe be a difficult process of locating opportunities where that capital can be effectively invested.

  13. i’m curious about the same question asked by the above post. besides the problems you outline in your book, discovering where you are able to best reinvest your career capital can be difficult task (especially if others aren’t willing to accept it!). the solution is often more nuanced than ‘acquire more career capital’; what do you suggest in these cases?


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