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Book Review: So Good They Cannot Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion In The Quest For Work You Love by Cal Newport

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So Good They Cannot Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion In The Quest For Work You Love by Cal Newport explains the conditions which must be in place in order to succeed in virtually any field or endeavor. Newport explains how to arrive at passion because it is the sidekick of mastery.

The road to passion begins with acquiring skills. For instance, entrepreneurial professionals must develop a competitive advantage by building valuable skills first. Passion comes after you put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable, not before. A related corollary is that you must create value first to become valuable.

No complex subject matter can be mastered unless the student has an overriding interest as a condition precedent. In addition, labor intensive efforts should be compensated fully unless the subject matter is a passionate personal interest or hobby.

Newport indicates that people must be creative so that they can have the maximum impact and ultimately control. Constant practice to perfection helps to secure career capital but the process is not always enjoyable. Newport believes that natural ability applies to other fields outside of the traditional ones like music and art.

For instance, any musician capable of playing a piece like “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” must invest considerable capital in mastering the various complex chords. Even with practice, a musician still needs a minimum level of raw

talent and discipline to perform a complex piece of music to a minimum level of competence to the trained ear.

The author explains that having a lot of career capital to acquire control may conflict with an employer’s efforts to interfere with autonomy. Newport cites three absolute disqualifiers in any job or career.

First, the job has few opportunities to distinguish yourself. Next, the job is functionally bad for the world, i.e. emitting gross levels of toxic pollution as an industrial byproduct. Lastly, the personal chemistry with co-workers or the
bureaucratic culture is unworkable.

So Good They Cannot Ignore You is an invaluable work because the author instills in workers the idea that skills must first be acquired before value can be created in virtually any endeavor.

And so, the new rule requires that skills be developed first. Then, passion can be contemplated with the requisite skills in hand. The implications of Newport’s theories are revolutionary for education itself, as well as career planning.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.