Book Review: So Good They Can’t Ignore You

For Christmas, my brother got me a book by Cal Newport called “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”. Well its almost April and I finally got around to reading it. The title was a little misleading. The book is actually more about how to find happiness than getting so good they can’t ignore you. That said Newport did a great job laying out a plan on how to derive more happiness out of your career, which I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend you read the book when you have a chance. If you want to borrow my copy feel free to send me a message.

In the book, Newport gives you 4 rules to follow to lead yourself to a happier career.

RULE 1. Following your passion is terrible advice. I thought this was the weakest of the rules in the book. I’ve always felt that your career should be a balance of things people will pay you to do, things you are good at, and things you like to do. Newport argues the point that every job is going to have things that no one likes to do so instead you should focus on building skills in your chosen line of work.

RULE 2. Build skills that are rare and valuable. Newport calls this career capital. I happen to call it plain old skills. I thought Newport offered some insightful advice in this section because he talked about how people who are true experts in their field get that way by doing deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is measured and focused practice on a specific thing in the expert’s field.

RULE 3. Seek out control. Control plays a major role in how happy you will be in a given job. Understand that there has to be balance between control and skills. If you can’t figure out how to file folders correctly don’t expect your boss to let you control your own schedule. On the other hand, if you are the only one in the office who can run the accounting software don’t be afraid to tell your boss when it works best for you to do the job.

RULE 4. Have a mission. Your mission, vision, and values need to be guiding your actions. I couldn’t agree more with this rule. One tip Newport recommended that I thought was an interesting idea was to attempt small experiments to see if they help achieve your mission. This blog happens to be one of my small experiments to see if I can make the world a more efficient place.

Have you used any of these rules to make your career more enjoyable? Let me know how in the comments.

I was not compensated for this review. I am an affiliate with Amazon and am compensated a small amount for each sale made by someone who uses my link. If you would like to do me a favor copy this link into your favorites and use it to navigate to amazon. http://amzn.to/2klSyPo

What are you going to make efficient?

In my last post I talked about how the measure of efficiency is a simple idea. The equation for efficiency is a measure of the outputs divided by the inputs. During this post I’m going to explore how we should look at the outputs of the efficiency equation in terms of goals.

Before I started my MBA I read a book called “The Goal: A Process of Ongoing Improvement” by Eliyahu M. Goldratt. This book changed the The goalway I thought about life. Without ruining the book for you, I will just say that the main character learns that having the correct goal is far more beneficial than improving any single metric at the factory he works at. Without a consistent goal to work towards, our efforts become scattered and fragmented. After reading the book I realized that without an overarching goal we are just wandering about aimlessly.

Goals provide a target for achievement, or something to work towards.  In the efficiency equation your goals are the same as your outputs.  As goals are the end product for efficiency, it is important to think about and set valuable goals. So how can we make these goals the best they can be? I like to use and would recommend using SMART goals. When you set SMART goals you really need to think the process through to get the most out of it.

Specific – Goals need to be as specific and detailed as possible.

Measurable – This is how you will know your goal has been accomplished. I think this is the most important part and often one of the most difficult. There will be more on this topic later.

Achievable – Is it realistic that you can actually do this?

Relevant – Is this goal worth doing?

Time-bound – When do I expect to accomplish this goal? What is a realistic time frame?

I will be giving away a copy of “The Goal” to one randomly selected email subscriber of my website. The cut off to subscribe will be this Sunday (6/12/16) at 8 pm. Don’t miss this chance to get an incredible book. Just add your email in the right hand side of this post. If you are in the Elko area and don’t win send me a message and I will let you borrow my copy of the book.