This refreshing book tells the stories of ten people who rejected the financial security of traditional careers in favour of less-profitable occupations that made them feel happy and fulfilled instead. I enjoyed reading about the chance circumstances, accepted and rejected opportunities, and unpredictable chains of events that ushered these people into occupations they probably couldn’t have planned for and might not even have imagined. I appreciate that Piven doesn’t romanticize these stories, attempt to create some sort of cheesy blueprint for success from them, or devalue the majority of people who are willing to spend half their lives working a normal, 9-5 job.
[Why I read it: I came across it while browsing the library and the topic is relevant to me.]
If only someone would write a self-help book for people who are too cynical and pessimistic for self-help books. Not that it would help.
Anyway, I skimmed through this but was feeling much too depressed to ponder any of the ponderous questions that lurked at the end of every chapter or to do any of the numerous thought-exercises. I know that makes this review about as legitimate as a review of a diet book that was read while eating Twinkies, but what can I say – when you’re not thinking positively, then “thinking more” (which is, practically speaking, the solution Robinson proposes) does not seem likely to help. Also, the book’s subtitle makes me want to puke. And the cover is too colourful.
[Why I read it: I ordered it from the library after watching an interesting interview with the author. However, it turned out to look a heck of a lot like your ordinary, bullshit self-help book and I was in a bad mood anyway, so I lost interest and only read it very late at night, when my brain was too tired to process the book on theoretical physics that I was also in the middle of.]
Lobenstine’s positive attitude toward people who are unwilling to settle down to one career was refreshing and she told several inspiring success stories. However, the book failed to convince me that success as a multi-talented person relies on anything other than your standard hard work and good opportunities that can’t be planned for. The cynical side of me is quick to point out that any career and life coach who has had over 5,000 clients, as Lobenstine has, is bound to come up with enough success stories for a book. Also, it felt very circular to take career advice from someone whose career is giving out advice.