So Good They Can't Ignore You

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So Good They Can't Ignore You by Mind Map: So Good They Can't Ignore You

1. importance of ability

1.1. things that make a job great are rare and valuable. if you want them, offer something rare and valuable (skills) in return.

2. Rule #1: Don’t Follow Your Passion

2.1. "Key is to force yourself through the work, force the skills to come."

2.2. Compelling careers often have complex origins.

2.3. The Science of Passion

2.3.1. Conclusion #1: Career Passions Are Rare

2.3.1.1. assumption that we have pre-existing passions

2.3.1.2. student passions often don't have much to offer when choosing a job, e.g. skiing, dance, swimming, reading.

2.3.1.3. how to choose a career then?

2.3.2. Conclusion #2: Passion Takes Time

2.3.2.1. type of work doesn't predict how much we enjoy it

2.3.2.2. strongest predictor of work being a calling is number of years spent on the job

2.3.2.3. Most passionate employees are the ones who have been around long enough to become good at what they do

2.3.3. Conclusion #3: Passion is a Side Effect of Mastery

2.3.3.1. Self-Determination Theory (SDT) tells us that motivation requires fulfillment of 3 basic needs

2.3.3.1.1. Autonomy: control over your day and actions

2.3.3.1.2. Competence: feeling that you are good at what you do

2.3.3.1.3. Relatedness: feeling of connection to others

2.3.3.2. Working right trumps finding the right work.

2.4. Passion is Dangerous

2.4.1. Convinces people there's a magic "right" job waiting for them

2.4.2. "Right" job will be immediately recognizable

2.4.3. Leads to chronic job-hopping and crippling self-doubt

2.4.4. The more we focus on loving what we do, the less we end up loving it.

2.4.5. Works for a few people, but those few don't make it universally effective.

3. Rule #2: Be So Good They Can’t Ignore You (Or, the Importance of Skill)

3.1. Craftsman Mindset vs. Passion Mindset

3.1.1. focus on what value you're producing in  your job vs. what value your job offers you

3.1.2. Craftsman mindset

3.1.2.1. Steve Martin: "Be so good they can't ignore you."

3.1.2.2. Output-centric approach. Crucial for building a career you love.

3.1.2.3. Offers clarity.

3.1.2.4. Don't focus on self-promotion. Focus instead on becoming better.

3.1.2.4.1. Hour-tracking: tracking how many hours a month are spent to expanding skills.

3.1.2.4.2. dedication to output

3.1.2.5. No one owes you a great career, you need to earn it - and the process won't be easy.

3.1.2.6. Put your head down and plug away at getting really damn good.

3.1.3. Passion mindset

3.1.3.1. focus on what your work offers you

3.1.3.2. makes you hyper-aware of what you don't like about it --> chronic unhappiness

3.1.3.3. deep questions driving the passion mindset ("How am I?", "What do I truly love?") are essentially impossible to confirm.

3.1.3.4. Almost guaranteed to keep you perpetually unhappy and confused.

3.1.3.5. Offers a swamp of ambiguous and unanswerable questions.

3.1.4. Adopt the craftsman mindset first and then the passion follows.

3.2. Career Capital

3.2.1. Traits that define great work

3.2.1.1. Creativity

3.2.1.2. Impact

3.2.1.3. Control

3.2.2. The Career Capital Theory of Great Work

3.2.2.1. The traits defining great work are rare.

3.2.2.2. If you want something rare, offer something rare and valuable in return.

3.2.2.3. Force the skills to come: use craftsman mindset, relentless focus to become "so good they can't ignore you".

3.2.3. Being pragmatic: you need a goal in order to get good things in your working life. The craftsman mindset is focused on achieving this goal.

3.2.4. Craftsman mindset is agnostic toward the type of work you do.

3.2.5. Three disqualifiers for applying the craftsman mindset.

3.2.5.1. few opportunities to distinguish yourself in your job by developing your skills

3.2.5.2. job focuses on something you deem useless or bad for the world

3.2.5.3. job forces you to work with people you dislike

3.3. Deliberate Practice

3.3.1. Even when you do love the work you do, focus on how you do it.

3.3.1.1. Mike Jackson: tracks every hour of his day, quarter hours on spreadsheet.

3.3.1.1.1. two categories of activities

3.3.1.1.2. goal: become more intentional about how is workday unfolds

3.3.1.1.3. restricts hours dedicated to required tasks that don't make him better at what he does

3.3.1.1.4. important stuff still finds its way to him, but on his schedule.

3.3.1.2. Attention focused on activities that matter.

3.3.1.3. 90min max on email.

3.3.2. Central traits: strain and feedback.

3.3.3. Strain: deliberate practice

3.3.3.1. 10,000-hour rule: excellence requires critical minimum of practice, i.e. 10,000 hours

3.3.3.1.1. see 'Outliers' by Malcom Gladwell

3.3.3.2. 10,000 hours not enough, also depends on type of work

3.3.3.3. importance of serious study: materials deliberately chosen or adapted to be appropriately challenging

3.3.3.4. deliberate practice is key to excellence in many fields

3.3.3.5. if you just show up and work hard, you'll hit a performance plateau.

3.3.4. Feedback

3.3.4.1. choose projects where you're forced to show work to others

3.4. Five Habits of a Craftsman

3.4.1. Step 1: Decide What Capital Market You're In

3.4.1.1. Winner-take-all market

3.4.1.1.1. Only one  type of career capital available

3.4.1.2. Auction market

3.4.1.2.1. Many different types of career capital, each person might generate a unique collection.

3.4.2. Step 2: Identify Your Capital Type

3.4.2.1. seek open gates: opportunities to build capital already open to you

3.4.2.2. advantage: gets you farther faster

3.4.2.3. it's hard to start from scratch in a new field

3.4.3. Step 3: Define "Good"

3.4.3.1. you need clear goals: what does it mean to succeed at your goal?

3.4.3.2. e.g. master a new technique

3.4.3.3. if you don't know where you're trying to get to, it's hard to take effective action

3.4.4. Step 4: Stretch and Destroy

3.4.4.1. doing what we know is enjoyable. opposite of deliberate practice.

3.4.4.2. deliberate practice requires an effort of focus and concentration.

3.4.4.3. feels like exercising your muscles to get stronger.

3.4.4.4. If you're not uncomfortable, then you're probably stuck at an acceptable level

3.4.4.5. also embrace honest feedback - even if it destroys what you thought was good.

3.4.5. Step 5: Be Patient

3.4.5.1. less about paying attention to main pursuit, more about willingness to ignore other pursuits that might distract you

3.4.5.2. style of diligence

4. Rule #3: Turn Down a Promotion (Or, the Importance of Control)

4.1. The Dream-Job Elixir

4.1.1. Control over what you do, and how you do it, is one of the most powerful traits you can acquire when creating work you love.

4.1.2. You need to invest extensive career capital into gaining control over what you do and how you do it.

4.1.3. Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE)

4.1.3.1. All that matters is results.

4.1.3.2. When, where and how you work is up to you.

4.1.4. Giving people more control over what they do and how they do it increases their happiness, engagement, and sense of fulfillment.

4.2. The First Control Trap

4.2.1. Control that's acquired without career capital is not sustainable.

4.2.2. It's dangerous to pursue more control in your working life before you have career capital to offer in exchange.

4.2.3. Control is powerful. You need something valuable to offer in return.

4.2.4. It's hard to convince people to give you money. We all need money to live.

4.3. The Second Control Trap

4.3.1. The point at which you have acquired enough career capital to get meaningful control over hour working life is exactly the point when you've become valuable enough to your current employer that they will prevent you from making the change.

4.3.2. Courage is not irrelevant to creating work you love.

4.3.3. The key is to know when the time is right to become courageous in career decisions.

4.4. Avoiding the Control Traps

4.4.1. Law of financial viability

4.4.1.1. When deciding whether to follow an appealing pursuit that will introduce more control into your work life, seek evidence of whether people are willing to pay for it. If you find this evidence, continue. If not, move on.

4.4.1.2. Only pursue a bid for ore control if you have evidence that it's something that people are willing to pay you for.

4.4.1.3. Do what people are willing to pay for.

4.4.1.4. Money is a neutral indicator of value. By aiming to make money, you're aiming to be valuable.

4.4.1.5. Hobbies are exempt from this rule.

4.4.1.6. Definition of "willing to pay" varies. Can also mean: loan approval, outside investment, being employed.

5. Rule #4: Think Small, Act Big (Or, the Importance of Mission)

5.1. Missions

5.1.1. Having a mission is having a unifying focus for your career.

5.1.2. More general than a specific job, can span multiple positions.

5.1.3. Answers: "What should I do with my life?"

5.1.4. Focuses energy towards useful goal, maximizes your impact.

5.1.5. Makes people more satisfied with their working life.

5.1.6. Makes people more resistant to the strain of hard work.

5.1.7. Is a desirable trait in work satisfaction.

5.2. Missions require capital

5.2.1. Big ideas are always discovered in the "adjacent possible".

5.2.2. Understanding the adjacent possible and its role in innovation is the first link in explaining how to identify a good career mission.

5.2.3. A good career mission is similar to a scientific breakthrough - it's an innovation waiting to be discovered i the adjacent possible of your field.

5.2.4. To get to the cutting edge, you need to gather career capital.

5.2.5. Think small: focus on narrow collection of subjects for a potentially long time.

5.2.6. Act big: once you get to the cutting edge and discover a mission, you must go after it with zeal.

5.3. Missions require little bets

5.3.1. Peter Sims about successful innovators: "Rather than believing they have to start with a big idea or plan out a whole project in advance, they make a methodical series of little bets about what might be a good direction, learning critical information from lots of little failures and from small but significant wins."

5.3.2. Little bets are bite-sized.

5.3.3. You try one, it takes a few months at most.

5.3.4. It either succeeds or fails, but either way you get important feedback to guide your next steps.

5.3.5. If career capital makes it possible to identify a compelling mission, then it's a strategy of little bets that gives you a good shot of succeeding in this mission.

5.4. Missions require marketing

5.4.1. Seth Godin: "You're either remarkable or invisible."

5.4.2. The Law of Remarkability

5.4.2.1. For a mission-driven project to succeed, it should be remarkable in two different ways.

5.4.2.1.1. It must compel people who encounter it to remark about it to others.

5.4.2.1.2. It must be launched in a venue that supports such remarking.

6. Career Profiles

6.1. Jue Duffy

6.1.1. owner of branding & design shop (retired)

6.1.2. worked on hand-picked project, greatly respected, much time spent at retreat Duffy Trails

6.1.3. instead of quitting company job, he build more and more career capital and control/freedom within the company

6.2. Alex Berger

6.2.1. successful TV writer

6.2.2. earns lots of money, does highly creative projects seen by millions. several months off work every ear.

6.2.3. realized  that TV writing was winner-take-all market: career capital is ability to write quality scripts. he succeeded by systematically improving his scriptwriting.

6.3. Mike Jackson

6.3.1. director of venture capital firm

6.3.2. clean-energy venture capital = making lots of money while helping the world

6.3.3. didn't have clear vision starting out, focused on building career capital, combination of expert knowledge on green-energy markets and entrepreneurship

6.4. Ryan Voiland

6.4.1. runs a thriving organic farm with his wife

6.4.2. owning his own land, cultivating on his own terms, is deeply fulfilling. hes has control over his life.

6.4.3. didn't just decide one day to buy home land. he first build farming skills over a decade, started cultivating in his parents' garden, slowly built up his abilities, taking on larger cultivation projects.

6.5. Lulu Young

6.5.1. freelance software deeloper

6.5.2. likes challenging software projects, enjoys having control over her life, the terms she works under. time for leisurely pursuits

6.5.3. build up skills and reputation over many years in the industry. gradual shift towards increased autonomy. started as QA, figured out how to automate the testing, then taking positions at several start-ups before going freelance

6.6. Derek Sivers

6.6.1. entrepreneur, writer, thinker

6.6.2. can live where he wants, choose interesting projects when he is in the mood. full autonomy.

6.6.3. established the law of financial viability: only pursue a project if people are willing to pay for it. if they aren't,  you don't have sufficient career capital. he used it to gradually build career capital. started company, but didn't quit job. he started small. used little money he made to expand business. only quit his job when he made lots of money.

6.7. Pardis Sabeti

6.7.1. professor of evolutionary biology, Harvard

6.7.2. career build on a mission to help rid the world of ancient diseases

6.7.3. successful by building work life around a mission. mission wasn't clear from the start, extensive expertise needed to identify them. took years of skill acquisition, phd in genetics, med school, .. only then shift to new opportunity. patience was important.

6.8. Kirk French

6.8.1. teaches archaeology, co-host of archeology show on Discovery Channel

6.8.2. able to spread the word about modern archeology. TV show is dream job.

6.8.3. started with PhD, had general mission idea (popularize archeology). did series of little bets, e.g. attempts to raise money for documentary. finally succeeded by following up on phone-calls from local treasure enthusiasts, taping his conversations.

6.9. Giles Bowkett

6.9.1. well-known ruby programmer. allowed him to shift between many jobs (ruby, blog/book writing, help website launch, etc.)

6.9.2. being able to jump between different jobs is exactly what he wants

6.9.3. mission for a great career: combining arts and Ruby. built career capital first, in both programming and music. build software that was remarkable in two ways: code creating complex music was remarkable, and using the open-source community to spread the word.

7. Glossary

7.1. the passion hypothesis

7.1.1. hypothesis about the key to occupational happiness:

7.1.2. figure out what you are passionate about

7.1.3. find a job that matches this passion

7.1.4. wrong and potentially dangerous

7.2. "Be so good the can't ignore you."

7.2.1. quote from comedian Steve Martin

7.2.2. captures what is needed to build a working life you love

7.2.3. isn't what people want to hear

7.2.4. see craftsman mindset

7.3. the craftsman mindset

7.3.1. approach to your working life

7.3.2. focus on the value you are offering to the world

7.4. the passion mindset

7.4.1. approach to your working life

7.4.2. focus on the value your job is offering you

7.5. career capital

7.5.1. skills that are rare and valuable to the working world

7.5.2. key currency to the work you love

7.6. the career capital theory of great work

7.6.1. foundation theory for all ideas in this book

7.6.2. traits that define great work are rare and valuable

7.6.3. if you want these traits, offer rare and valuable skills in return --> your career capital

7.6.4. key: get good at something rare and valuable

7.6.5. requires craftsman mindset

7.6.6. cash in your career capital to acquire the traits that define great jobs

7.6.7. trumps passion mindset

7.7. the 10,000-hour rule

7.7.1. idea: 10,000 hours of practice needed to master a skill

7.7.2. popularized by Malcom Gladwell in 2008 book Outliers

7.8. deliberate practice

7.8.1. coined by Anders Ericsson in 90s

7.8.2. actively designed practice (by e.g. teacher)

7.8.3. purpose: effectively improving specific aspects of an individual's performance

7.8.4. requirements

7.8.4.1. stretch past where you are comfortable

7.8.4.2. receive ruthless feedback on your performance

7.8.5. must be a regular part of your work routine

7.9. career capital market

7.9.1. winner-take-all

7.9.1.1. only one type of career capital available

7.9.1.2. lots of people competing for it

7.9.1.3. capital acquisition strategy: learn how to master the skill that matters

7.9.2. auction

7.9.2.1. many different types of career capital

7.9.2.2. each person generates unique collection of capital

7.9.2.3. capital acquisition strategy: e.g. rareness of skill combination

7.10. control

7.10.1. having a say in what you do and how you do it

7.10.2. one of the most important traits of work you love

7.11. the first control trap

7.11.1. control acquired without career capital is not sustainable

7.12. the second control trap

7.12.1. once you acquire enough career capital, your move towards more control will be met with resistance (because you are now so valuable)

7.13. courage culture

7.13.1. growing number of authors promoting idea that courage is the only thing missing to get dream job

7.13.2. well-intentioned but dangerous culture

7.13.3. without career capital, it can lead to people being worse off

7.14. the law of financial viability

7.14.1. law to help sidestep the control traps

7.14.2. when deciding whether to follow an appealing pursuit, ask yourself: "are people willing to pay for it?"

7.14.3. only go for it if the answer is yes

7.15. mission

7.15.1. another important trait of work you love

7.15.2. unifying goal for your career

7.15.3. answer to the question: "what should I do with my life?"

7.16. the adjacent possible

7.16.1. next big ideas are typically right beyond the current cutting edge

7.16.2. for career construction: good missions are also often found in the adjacent possible

7.16.3. key: you have to get to the cutting edge of a field before the adjacent possible (innovation, mission) becomes visible

7.17. little bets

7.17.1. idea of business writer Peter Sims

7.17.2. strategy for exploring vague mission ideas

7.17.3. don't start with big idea, don't plan a whole project in advance

7.17.4. make a methodical series of little bets of what might be good

7.17.5. learning critical information from little failures and small, significant wins

7.18. the law of remarkability

7.18.1. law to identify successful projects

7.18.2. for a mission-driven project to succeed, it needs to be remarkable in two ways

7.18.2.1. must compel people to remark it to others

7.18.2.2. must be launched in a venue that supports remarking

8. Rules in Action

8.1. Rule #2

8.1.1. Deploy structure

8.1.1.1. Time structure

8.1.1.1.1. "I'm going to work on this for one hour."

8.1.1.1.2. No matter the progress, I will focus for this time.

8.1.1.1.3. It took on average 10min for resistance to die down.

8.1.1.1.4. Strain is good!

8.1.1.2. Information structure

8.1.1.2.1. A way of capturing the results of hard focus in useful form.

8.1.2. Research Bible

8.1.2.1. Document on computer

8.1.2.2. Requirement to summarize one paper a week. Must include result description, comparison to previous work, main strategies to obtain it.

8.1.3. Hour-Tally Routine

8.1.3.1. Sheet of paper mounted behind desk

8.1.3.2. Row for each month, tally of total number of hours spent in state of deliberate practice.

8.1.4. Theory-Notebook Routine

8.1.4.1. Most expensive notebook. Signals importance.

8.1.4.2. Brainstorming sessions: formally record results, by hand, on dated page.

8.1.4.3. Result: more deliberate practice.

8.1.5. Getting better and better at what he did is what mattered most. It required strain of deliberate practice.

8.2. Rule #4

8.2.1. Mission-development system; a three-level pyramid

8.2.1.1. Top Level: The tentative research mission

8.2.1.1.1. rough guideline for the type of work I'm interested in doing

8.2.1.2. Bottom Level: background research

8.2.1.2.1. dedication to background research

8.2.1.2.2. rule: every week, I expose myself to something new about my field

8.2.1.2.3. require myself to add summary, in my own words, to my "research bible"

8.2.1.2.4. rule: a walk each day for free-form thinking about ideas from background research

8.2.1.3. Middle Level: Exploratory Projects

8.2.1.3.1. little bets characteristics

8.2.1.3.2. try to have 2-3 bets active at a time (no more, no less)

8.2.1.3.3. use deadlines, yellow in planning documents

8.2.1.3.4. track hours in hour tally

8.2.1.3.5. use concrete feedback

8.3. Working right trumps finding the right work.