Summary: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport
Summary: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Summary: So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport

Following your passion is not particularly useful advice.

Don’t follow your passion, rather, let it follow you in your quest to become so good they can’t ignore you. Move your focus away from finding the right work toward working right and eventually build a love for what you do. Put it another way, you need to be good at something before you expect a good job. You need something to offer to the world before you expect something in return.


If a young Steve Jobs had taken his own advice, a trillion-dollar company wouldn’t have born.

He would have been one of Los Altos Zen Center’s most popular teachers. Apple wasn’t born out of passion, instead it was a result of a lucky break – a ‘small time’ scheme that unexpectedly took off.


The strongest predictor of someone seeing their work as a calling is their tenure on the job.

In general, the more experienced you are, the more likely you’re to love your job.


Motivation requires you fulfilled three basic psychological needs

  1. Autonomy – feeling that you’ve control over your day
  2. Competence – feeling that you’re good at what you do
  3. Relatedness – feeling that you’re connected to other people


Abandon the ‘Passion’ mindset. Adopt the ‘Craftsman’ mindset.

No one owes you a great career. You must earn it. Put your head down and plug away at getting damn good. Adopt the craftsman mindset and then the passion follows.


The tape doesn’t lie if you’re a musician.

What you produce is basically all that matters.


Basic economic theory says you need rare and valuable skills to offer in return.

These skills are your career capital, the traits that define great work. In other words, you need to get good in order to get good things in your working life.


Deploy small, concrete experiments.

To maximize your chances, take bite-sized bets that return concrete feedback.


3 disqualifiers for applying craftsman mindset

  1. The job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself
  2. The job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps bad for the world
  3. The job focuses you to work with people you really dislike


5 Habits of a Craftsman

Habit #1 – Decide what capital market you’re in

There’re two markets: winner-takes-all or an auction market. Hollywood is an example of winner-take-all while banking represents an auction market.


Habit #2 – Identify your capital type

In a winner-take-all market, this is trivial. There’s generally only one type of capital. For an auction market, however, there’re opportunities to build capital that are already open to you.


Habit #3 – Define ‘good’

For a script writer, the definition of good is clear. His scripts being taken seriously.


Habit #4 – Stretch and Destroy

Perform deliberate practice. The uncomfortable sensation in your head is best approximated as a physical strain, as if your nervous are physically reforming into new configurations.


Habit #5 – Be patient

Look years into the future for the payoff. Reject shiny new pursuits.


Working right trumps finding the right work.

It ranches us away from our day dreams of an overnight transformation into instant job bliss and provides instead a more sober way toward fulfillment.