I don't think I ever read the title and thought about what it meant. This book isn't about telling you the perfect job for you; it's about the different paths people have taken to try and find their place in the world. Some had almost no physical (i.e. location, job) change, but a huge mental one. Others moved around the world or from one job extreme to another. Some did all of the above. Some folks succeeded easily, some haven't reached it yet. All seem to be continuing to grow and change.
This book has made me realize that asking this question isnt silly or childish or even selfish. The journey really is as important to our appreciation of the final destination as the goal itself and in a lot of the stories was necessary to the appreciation. And one of the sweetest bits to see was that it really is never too late to start looking for the answers.
This book is not about "what should I do with my life", it is about "what should I do for my next job". It has the above title because it is about people whose only meaning in life is their job. You will not find people in those book who have a job because they need money to support their family, rather it is about affluent people with a great resume who are blocked in a rigid corporation who then take a demotion to pursue work which better fits their personality. It is about bankers who become farmers and not about farmers who decide they would like to be a banker. I was not able to connect with the people in the book. They mostly seemed like affluent, navel gazing, whiners.
I did enjoy this book overall. I liked the personal stories that are scattered throughout the book. However I expected it to be a bit more like a 'plan' to help me figure out what I want to do. It was not that. So adjusting my expectations, this was a good book and worth the read.
In What Should I Do with My Life? Po Bronson manages to create a career book that is a page-turner. His 50 vivid profiles of people searching for "their soft spot--their true calling" will engage readers because Bronson is asking himself the same question. He explores his premise, that "nothing is braver than people facing up to their own identity," as an anthropologist and autobiographer. He tackles thorny, nuanced issues about self-determination. Among them: paradoxes of money and meaning, authorship and destiny, brain candy and novelty versus soul food. Bronsons stories, limited to professional people and complete with photos, are gems. They include a Los Angeles lawyer who became a priest, a Harvard MBA catfish farmer turned biotech executive, and a Silicon Valley real estate agent who opened a leather crafts factory in Costa Rica.
Chris E. reviewed What Should I Do with My Life? on
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of the few books that really had a profound impact on me -- my thought processes, my career, my life overall. It's one of those books that you keep coming back to year after year and want to reread it to glean new information that you did not obtain the previous readings. I'm on my third reading in 2 years and I'm learning something new about myself even now. I highly recommend it for anyone having doubts or are wondering what they should be doing with their life.
I will admit it wasn't what I was expecting. It left me with more questions than answers. It's the kind of book where you will most likely read a chapter then need to contemplate it for a while before moving on to the next chapter. It was an interesting read regardless and I'm glad I read it.
The #1 New York Times bestseller in which the author recalls his journey across America interviewing people who have struggled to "unearth their true calling-people of all ages, classes, and professions who have found fulfillment: those who fought with the seduction of money, intensity, and novelty and overcame their allure; those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voice."
- From back cover
I read many of the segments, and although they were interesting, I agree with Richard (drivel), who points out that it's nearly all about well educated and well heeled Americans who basically don't have to work to survive. An exception is the first story of a typical American 30s slacker who discovers he's the 14th or so incarnation of the Tibetan Za Rimpoche. Cool, eh?