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Education Bookcast

Jul 30, 2016

"Follow your passion" is bad advice.

It seems an almost blasphemous thing to say. And yet in this book, Cal Newport argues that it is, indeed, generally a bad idea to try to base a career on a pre-existing passion.

Firstly, as blunt and uninspiring as it may sound, most people don't *have* a passion to begin with. Hence the need to "find yourself" or figure out what you want to do with your life. People who do have a passion are usually passionate about something that can't provide them with a career, such as supporting a local sports team.

Secondly, passions are usually the *result* of a successful career due to the build-up of skills that allow for more interesting jobs, rather than something that people start with. Having higher quality skills that are in high demand means that you can "trade them in" for a job which is in high demand. To think that you can go in to a field and get an exciting job right away is rather naive, and the entry-level positions don't tend to be the sorts of things that inspire people.

This book was written by the author as he was contemplating where he would go with his career after finishing his PhD, as he confronted the fascinating question: what makes for a career that people love? Through a combination of personal stories and broader research, the author argues his perhaps unorthodox position to us in very convincing style.

Enjoy the episode.