Book Review: So Good They Can't Ignore You

Book Review: So Good They Can't Ignore You

I've always known books can have a profound impact on your life. So Good They Can't Ignore You just may be one of those books for you. I believe it will be for me. Though, it's not one of those books where you gain so much after just reading it. This book gives you a bit of a guide on how you can be so good at your career, that you can make it become the dream job you often hear about people going after.

 
 

Sections of the Book

Ignore the passion

In the first section of the book, the author goes into why you should ignore your passion for your career; why just following your passion isn't good enough for the job we all dream about.

Build career capital

The second section details about being so good that they can't ignore you - or building what the author calls career capital. Career capital is rare and valuable skills within your line of work and getting good at them.

The author quotes a reader from his blog that very accurately details a key aspect of when you're building career capital:

Willing to grind out long hours with little recongition

This section heavily reminded me of the episode of The Tim Ferriss show with Derek Sivers where Derek goes into, early in your career, say "yes" to everything. But when you get "so good they can't ignore you", you're free to say "no" to whatever comes up that you think doesn't allow you to gain any more career capital or that doesn't interest you.

The best thing to gain from this section is the aspect of deliberate practice. Merely doing the practice of skills you enjoy will result in a plateau of skills. Doing practice and projects that result in being uncomfortable is a way to break away from the plateau and to continue building skills.

Gaining control

The fourth section details that having control in your job will help make it a dream job and loving the work that you do. However, there are two dangers in pursuing more control in your career.

  1. Don't have enough career capital to back up the extra control
  2. Have enough career capital, but employeers will fight back against you having more control.

Derek Sivers comes in and gives advice that the book takes about knowing which of the two dangers you fall into so you can act accordingly:

Do what people are willing to pay you for

Having a mission

Having a mission for your career helps create work that you love. To help find a mission, use the area just beyond the cutting edge of your career field, or the adjacent possible.

Once found, use small steps to get critical feedback in order to imporove quickly, or little bets.

Book Conclusion

An even more interesting part of the book is the conclusion. The conclusion details how the author used each of the sections from the book in his own life as a computer science professor. A very practical example of how these ideas can be used in your own life.


Is this book a must read? If you want to get so good they can't ignore you, then I recommend it. I personally plan on making a plan myself to build up more career capital for myself.

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