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.