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The Art of Work

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Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose. The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose. The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. Its about the task you were born to do. As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try. Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.


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Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose. The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose. The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. Its about the task you were born to do. As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try. Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.

30 review for The Art of Work

  1. 5 out of 5

    JonathanT

    Answering a call will sometimes feel that way. It won’t make sense and may even open you up to rejection and criticism, but in your heart you will know it’s right. How? There will be confirmation. You will take a step, and things will happen. Opportunities will reveal themselves. Through the words of others and even in the pit of your stomach, you will know this is the path to take- not because it’s easy or safe, but because it is right. Hm. Okay. So my question here is: WHAT ON EARTH. It’s Answering a call will sometimes feel that way. It won’t make sense and may even open you up to rejection and criticism, but in your heart you will know it’s right. How? There will be confirmation. You will take a step, and things will happen. Opportunities will reveal themselves. Through the words of others and even in the pit of your stomach, you will know this is the path to take- not because it’s easy or safe, but because it is right. Hm. Okay. So my question here is: WHAT ON EARTH. It’s getting two stars, because I'm tired of political correctness, I'm tired of flowery language, and I'm tired of authors trying to beat around the bush. And I'm not quite harsh enough to give it one star, heh. On the one hand, this is filled with inspiring stories of people who rose above difficulties and challenges in their own lives. It’s got some great themes about determination, hard work, and overcoming obstacles. It’s very well written, with a style that’s never choppy or hard to read. BUT. That’s where the good stuff comes to an abrupt stop. The idea behind this book is actually kinda brilliant- but the execution is fatally flawed. It’s a book about finding your calling, and it’s from an author who I THINK (don’t quote me on this) claims to be Christian. And yet there’s something conspicuously missing here: God. Instead of reading the Bible and praying, the author advocates things like ‘listening to your life’ to determine what your calling might be. What does he mean by this statement? I read a whole chapter about it, and between the flowery language and evasive, vague structure, I have no clue. Whispers of New Age are strung throughout this. But it’s almost always more implied than direct. Although at one part I got hit with this: You have everything you need to be your whole self; it’s already in you. Now you just have to become it. The statement above is easily the strongest reference to New Age in the entire book- and like I said, it’s still not all that direct. The parallel between this statement and New Age seems clear to me, but then again, it’s hard to tell exactly what the author means by this statement and other statements that are even less clear. Plus, author Brennan Manning and his book Ruthless Trust are cited twice (I think) in the extensive list of notes in the back of the book, and since Manning was a well-known Catholic mystic, this says a lot. But at the same time, could Mr. Goins just be citing Manning out of ignorance? It’s hard to tell anything really. This is just so, so, so incredibly vague and politically correct that it’s near impossible to tell what the author himself believes. He seems to advocate some sort of New Age form of Christianity, but there’s nothing explicit in here that advocates the view that he has a belief in EITHER. (He does tell a Bible story at one point, but he avoids mentioning God or pointing out that the story came from the Bible.) Basically this frustrated me to no end. The question here is: What exactly does this author believe? And what is he trying to say? It's like abstract art- only instead of colors thrown onto a canvas, it's words thrown onto a page. And it left me scratching my head and saying "WHAT DOES IT MEAN??"

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    Rarely do I breeze through a non-fiction book, especially one that's more business-minded. But that's what I love about Jeff Goins' writing. It's creative, inspiring and encouraging, and not once while reading The Art of Work did I find myself bored or the writing dull. (I received an advance PDF copy of the book as a result of preordering.) The Art of Work will change your idea of calling and propel you toward embracing your purpose. Goins' principles and observations are so simple they should Rarely do I breeze through a non-fiction book, especially one that's more business-minded. But that's what I love about Jeff Goins' writing. It's creative, inspiring and encouraging, and not once while reading The Art of Work did I find myself bored or the writing dull. (I received an advance PDF copy of the book as a result of preordering.) The Art of Work will change your idea of calling and propel you toward embracing your purpose. Goins' principles and observations are so simple they should be obvious but I found myself renewed and challenged by his way of thinking. Thoughts like calling being a journey and not a one-time event and how a life lived in multiple arenas is not chaotic but a portfolio. I will refer back to this book often to practice the principles and listen to my life. If you're not sure your life has a plan, or you're following a plan and now find yourself lost, or you're facing a career transition, this is a book that needs to be in your hands, not just on your shelf. Goins lays out an easy-to-follow guide that can be tailored to whatever your life entails. It's not a how-to book in that it will give you a list of steps to follow to find your calling. It's an invitation to listen and act based on what is already a part of your life. I'd give this book more stars if I could!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Dwayne Morris

    I understand that Jeff and/or publishers titled this book in such a way as to hit a larger audience. However, this book is more about finding your God-given purpose/calling than it is about your work. I get that they go hand-in-hand. It's FULL of nuggets that you can use for conversations with others about determining what they want to do "when they grow up", even if they are 50 years old. GREAT work, Jeff! Congratulations on another well-written book!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    Sometimes originality isn't in dreaming up something no one has ever thought of before, but in synthesizing many different pieces into a cohesive and inspiring whole. This book offers the opportunity to change your thinking about work in a similar way Steven Pressfield did with creativity in "The War of Art". This isn't a self- help book full of celebrity heroes on seemingly special journeys unavailable to the rest of us, it is full of everyday relatable people whose lives didn't turn out as they Sometimes originality isn't in dreaming up something no one has ever thought of before, but in synthesizing many different pieces into a cohesive and inspiring whole. This book offers the opportunity to change your thinking about work in a similar way Steven Pressfield did with creativity in "The War of Art". This isn't a self- help book full of celebrity heroes on seemingly special journeys unavailable to the rest of us, it is full of everyday relatable people whose lives didn't turn out as they expected and what they discovered when they changed those expectations. The last reviewer, Grace, said it perfectly: "...finding our callings is not something grand, but rather something beautifully complex, somewhat accidental, and not at all contrived. It's a delicate balance that has blindness on one side and addiction on the other." The book is organized into a series of themes that, when broken down don't attempt to define 'THE path' which doesn't exist, but a way to open ourselves up to our own unique journey. Even if you have discovered your 'calling', Jeff offers a new way to look at what that means. It is realistic. The struggles on our journey, obstacles in practice and apprenticeship can forge our characters and highlight what is uniquely our own. A change in thinking, awareness and the reframing failure is not only a good idea, it's necessary. The book encourages us to consider redefining the meaning of success and legacy. I find the weaknesses of the book to be in the narrative. Jeff can be a little too economical with his storytelling, making this reader's connection with his interviewees tenuous. He breaks the narratives to make a point and sometimes this is ok, but it makes some chapters too choppy. This is why I couldn't quite give it a perfect rating.The book was really a 4.5 star experience. There are Christian overtones to the book, but they aren't intrusive or proselytizing. Take those snippets or leave them. The Art of Work is the second book I have read from Jeff Goins and he is living up to his potential. I am going to be reading this book again when my print copy arrives and getting out the old school highlighter and writing in the margins. The "Art of Work" can remind us to open our minds, be willing to let go of our expectations and LISTEN to life. Highly recommended.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Siska

    Despite of the high rating, I somehow did not quite enjoy this book, let alone being inspired by it. One of the main values of this type of writing is how the writer connect between one source to another, and then bring an interesting conclusion from these connections. To this I feel Goins did not do well enough. His points are mostly superficial, very few of them feel original or made me feel as if they came from meaningful eureka moments. Every now and then, he would quote some good writers Despite of the high rating, I somehow did not quite enjoy this book, let alone being inspired by it. One of the main values of this type of writing is how the writer connect between one source to another, and then bring an interesting conclusion from these connections. To this I feel Goins did not do well enough. His points are mostly superficial, very few of them feel original or made me feel as if they came from meaningful eureka moments. Every now and then, he would quote some good writers such as Handy, and these are the parts where I enjoyed most. I wonder if maybe the ideas were briliant, only that they were not being properly laid. Some parts were longwinded and there were quite a few unnecessary repetitions, especially when describing the real life stories. So many parts are quite boring. Regardless, there are still one or two meaningful propositions, which I appreciate, and while I do not understand how it can be, I hope this book continues to inspire people.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mills

    I read this fast- maybe not the best for absorbing but I will reread for sure. The writing style and content kept me interested- I didn't feel like I needed to take a break. I feel like this was a good, gentle read. A lot of books in this genre can be so encouraging and informing that it feels fast-paced and like the author is shouting at you- "FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS ALREADY!" I feel like Jeff's writing style is more calm, collected, and gradual. Over the course of the book he brings up good points I read this fast- maybe not the best for absorbing but I will reread for sure. The writing style and content kept me interested- I didn't feel like I needed to take a break. I feel like this was a good, gentle read. A lot of books in this genre can be so encouraging and informing that it feels fast-paced and like the author is shouting at you- "FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS ALREADY!" I feel like Jeff's writing style is more calm, collected, and gradual. Over the course of the book he brings up good points which build on each other. Segues from one point to the next are intuitive. The questions at the end- I thought they were wonderful. Too often books preach great content but then leave you hanging as to how to apply the concepts to your own life. Some readers might not even know how to do that without a prompt. Helping readers evaluate their own lives is an important step too many authors overlook or choose not to do.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Conrad Zero

    If this book doesn't change your life, then you haven't read it. The Art of Work is an excellent book, but you should expect no less from Jeff Goins. Highly motivational, inspirational and well crafted, this is a book you'll want to keep around and read several times during your stay here on Earth. More than just a bunch of concepts, The Art of Work contains real-life stories about real people searching for their "calling." A meaningful career path. A life well-lived. The book shows you how to If this book doesn't change your life, then you haven't read it. The Art of Work is an excellent book, but you should expect no less from Jeff Goins. Highly motivational, inspirational and well crafted, this is a book you'll want to keep around and read several times during your stay here on Earth. More than just a bunch of concepts, The Art of Work contains real-life stories about real people searching for their "calling." A meaningful career path. A life well-lived. The book shows you how to find that path and walk it, all the way from Preparation through Action to Completion. The highly useful Appendix has lists of exercises and discussion questions for you to turn theory into practice. I don't like the cover. Crashed paper airplane? Representing boredom in a dead end career, I guess? And the title is sure to get this book lost in a sea of all the other "Art of..." books. Should have used "calling" or "purpose" or "meaning" in the title instead, as they have more to do with the content than either "art" or "work." A book about your calling sounds better to me than a book about work. At least it doesn't have the world "girl" in the title. Covers and titles aside, nothing can tarnish the 5-star content inside this book. If nothing else, you'll buy this book thinking it's going to get you out of your drab cubicle and into a corner office. But instead... you'll be amazed. -Zero

  8. 4 out of 5

    Grace

    How does one classify this book? It's equal parts self-help, inspirational, amazing stories, and heart felt passion for life. Yet, is it something so much more raw than any of these books. Within these pages you'll find a series of insights that describe every human's primal need to do something better with their life. Goins uses a combination of stories around the world, purposely choosing "normal" folks that we do not see their faces plastered all over the internet and top news sites to weave How does one classify this book? It's equal parts self-help, inspirational, amazing stories, and heart felt passion for life. Yet, is it something so much more raw than any of these books. Within these pages you'll find a series of insights that describe every human's primal need to do something better with their life. Goins uses a combination of stories around the world, purposely choosing "normal" folks that we do not see their faces plastered all over the internet and top news sites to weave through the lessons he has learnt from them about the nature of finding our calling and vocation in life. He choose these people by design to show us that finding our callings is not something grand, but rather something beautifully complex, somewhat accidental, and not at all contrived. It's a delicate balance that has blindness on one side and addiction on the other. Goins takes us on a trip through the stages that one usually goes through to find their vocation, see it through, and leave a legacy. From wishing, to listening, to discovery, to doing, and finally to legacy, the whole story of "how to be great" is there. The point that impressed upon me the most is how we all need to be great in our own way, not in someone else's way. What is "great" for one is not necessarily the "greatness" for another. And, oddly, it's rarely what we think it should be. Now, I should warn those of delicate sensibilities that cannot tolerate anything with a religious content. On pages 91 - 97 Goins uses a bible story to illustrate a particular point he's trying to make about listening to the cue of your life to figure out what your calling and vocation is. Sometimes it's obvious, but sometimes it is not. For those of you that can't stomach a little of this sort of discourse, feel free to skip these pages; it will be a great book without them. The book ends with a summary of sorts, which I must say, is an asset to the book as you can get overwhelmed in reading it, then want to go back to your notes and be out of sorts. The appendices do a great job of summarising everything, giving actionable steps, and getting you going after the entirety of the book has made you restless and wanting to hear your own calling.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Tonia Harris

    I just finished crying all the way through the conclusion of this book. I joined an online writer's group reading this and it was one of the best decisions of my summer. Sometimes, it's very easy to get lost in the forest- to forget we are our own compass and that we have everything we need to commit and fulfill our life's calling. And that it never ends, not even when we die. There's this word, legacy, and what it means is how we, instead of working to live, live to work, to be our best selves, I just finished crying all the way through the conclusion of this book. I joined an online writer's group reading this and it was one of the best decisions of my summer. Sometimes, it's very easy to get lost in the forest- to forget we are our own compass and that we have everything we need to commit and fulfill our life's calling. And that it never ends, not even when we die. There's this word, legacy, and what it means is how we, instead of working to live, live to work, to be our best selves, and how this can impact others. Well, Mr. Goins, you're leaving a fine legacy. It's touched me and I hope I can utilize all I'm learning to do the same. I had already been part of a group building a library for our small communities, but the day to day grind, the red tape, the politics, the trying to share the vision with others who can't believe in something so large- I was overwhelmed. This book broke it down for me. That it's all a process and calling is not about doing something on your own, and how much impact we can have by living our daily lives the best way possible. It also helped me to say, "I am a poet." That may sound like such a small thing to many, but knowing this clarified so many things for me and now I feel like I'm on the right path. The path may throw me for a loop or several, be hard, scary, uncomfortable, but I know it's the true path. I'm not just a poet with words, but with my life. Sometimes, a book like this can open you up to what was already there, obvious to perhaps many but yourself. I am on fire again. Only it's not a consuming fire. It's life-affirming and my hope is I leave behind a legacy of light and warmth for many others. Great book. Go out and get your copy. :)

  10. 5 out of 5

    Voni

    This book far surmounted what I expected. I read it on my Kindle, highlighting countless pages. Now I'm going to print those pages, so I will have a handy reference of notes on my computer. I'm 82... and have learned over the years about calling and how that applies in my life. However, I was surprised by what I learned from Jeff's illustrations: they enriched my own understanding, helping me think and better clarify those things I still long to do (like get my first book finished this year.) Jeff This book far surmounted what I expected. I read it on my Kindle, highlighting countless pages. Now I'm going to print those pages, so I will have a handy reference of notes on my computer. I'm 82... and have learned over the years about calling and how that applies in my life. However, I was surprised by what I learned from Jeff's illustrations: they enriched my own understanding, helping me think and better clarify those things I still long to do (like get my first book finished this year.) Jeff is strengthening and encouraging thousands of everyday people as he shares what he is learning. His writing style makes me think he's sitting at our table with a cup of coffee in his hand, talking, as I listen and understand. Keep writing, Jeff - and come sit at our table anytime.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kressel Housman

    I had low expectations going into this book. I dream of being a writer, but I can’t afford to quit my secretarial job, and I thought this book was going to advise me to throw caution to the wind and live out my dream anyway. Luckily, it was not as impractical as I thought. The book was filled of inspiring stories about successful people living out their dreams, but nowhere does the book advise people to take uninformed leaps. It’s much more about gradual steps, which works well for me. And since I had low expectations going into this book. I dream of being a writer, but I can’t afford to quit my secretarial job, and I thought this book was going to advise me to throw caution to the wind and live out my dream anyway. Luckily, it was not as impractical as I thought. The book was filled of inspiring stories about successful people living out their dreams, but nowhere does the book advise people to take uninformed leaps. It’s much more about gradual steps, which works well for me. And since the author’s dream is the same as mine - to become a writer – he speaks to the very thing I want. So I’ll be reading more from him. I like what he had to say.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Katie M. Reid

    This book is not just for writers, it’s for all those who want to pursue work that matters Throughout this book Jeff shares accounts from around the world of those who live(d) their callings. A common thread appeared through these accounts: mistakes were made, they learned to pivot when things didn’t go as expected, they kept going and were true to their convictions. The Art of Work is interesting, practical and inspiring. My favorite sections came at the end—so be sure to read it all the way This book is not just for writers, it’s for all those who want to pursue work that matters Throughout this book Jeff shares accounts from around the world of those who live(d) their callings. A common thread appeared through these accounts: mistakes were made, they learned to pivot when things didn’t go as expected, they kept going and were true to their convictions. The Art of Work is interesting, practical and inspiring. My favorite sections came at the end—so be sure to read it all the way through. In fact, as you will see below, page 167 spoke the loudest to this try-hard woman. “Sometimes all the little things in life aren’t interruptions to our calling. They are the most important part.” (The Art of Work, pg. 167). As I write this post little ones are interrupting and I’m not handling it well—not handling their hearts well as I snap and say, “Quiet! I’m trying to work here.” But, as we talked about before, maybe the small things are the most important after all. “As you endeavor to do something amazing with your life, don’t forget that without people to support your dream, your work will always be incomplete” (The Art of Work, pg. 167).

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bethany Michelle Planton

    I read Jeff’s blog and listen to his podcast, so when the opportunity came to pre-order this book I took it. "The Art of Work recaptures the ancient understanding of vocation as more than a job, or even a career, but as a passion-fueled calling that makes each day an exciting adventure." This book won’t give you the answer to what your calling is, but it sure helped me think through my calling and life in general. And I am adding it to my must read every year list. "Your calling is not a single I read Jeff’s blog and listen to his podcast, so when the opportunity came to pre-order this book I took it. "The Art of Work recaptures the ancient understanding of vocation as more than a job, or even a career, but as a passion-fueled calling that makes each day an exciting adventure." This book won’t give you the answer to what your calling is, but it sure helped me think through my calling and life in general. And I am adding it to my must read every year list. "Your calling is not a single event in your life; it's the whole body of work you make - including your job, your relationships, and the legacy you leave behind."

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kymberly

    Instead of pushing you to complete lists and brainstorming sessions in the search for your calling, Jeff takes a more introspective and relaxed approach. Encouraging readers to listen and observe, find common threads in tasks they enjoy, and not feel like a failure for changing tracks, it's a refreshing read. The stories are of 'normal' people, not the usual famous names seen in many of these books. This makes the search for a calling seem more realistic. There are religious threads, and one Instead of pushing you to complete lists and brainstorming sessions in the search for your calling, Jeff takes a more introspective and relaxed approach. Encouraging readers to listen and observe, find common threads in tasks they enjoy, and not feel like a failure for changing tracks, it's a refreshing read. The stories are of 'normal' people, not the usual famous names seen in many of these books. This makes the search for a calling seem more realistic. There are religious threads, and one 'illustrative' story, so this book won't be to everyone's taste.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Nancy H Vest

    I had high hopes when I started this book. I've read books by this author before, and I have enjoyed many of his blogposts. The part of the introduction where the author talks about letting go of what could have been led me to write of list of what to let go of and what to embrace instead. It was cathartic. Then came a brick wall. I was dragging myself through the first chapter which is entitled Listening to Your Life. It all seemed rather touchy-feely, vague, and 'out there' to me. I was about I had high hopes when I started this book. I've read books by this author before, and I have enjoyed many of his blogposts. The part of the introduction where the author talks about letting go of what could have been led me to write of list of what to let go of and what to embrace instead. It was cathartic. Then came a brick wall. I was dragging myself through the first chapter which is entitled Listening to Your Life. It all seemed rather touchy-feely, vague, and 'out there' to me. I was about ready to put the book down and stop reading altogether, but an acquaintance who'd finished the book encouraged me to read on. I'm glad I listened. The parts that were bothersome in this chapter were completely clear by the end of the book. This book delves into the why's and how's of meaningful work in ways I hadn't considered. The author provides real world examples to illustrate his points, and he uses people from all walks of life. He helps readers to see that there is value in nearly any kind of work, and the value isn't necessarily a money thing. (What work doesn't have value?...illegal things,stuff like that. My assertion here, not anything the author blatantly says in the book) I underlined and highlighted again and again, and if a friend wanted to borrow my copy of this book I would instead buy him a copy of his own. I wouldn't want to risk losing the notes, etc, that I made while reading. Read this book. It's worth the time.

  16. 5 out of 5

    John

    Jeff Goins writes a book with a compilation of melancholy stories to elicit sentimentality from the reader along with to mollify and reassure the reader that mistakes are fine to make and that everything we do add's up to what our "calling" is. He then redundantly reiterates the word "calling" throughout the book emphasizing that what we are meant to do in life has been a unique characteristic in us all along. While maintaining this romanticized undertone he still does manage to give some Jeff Goins writes a book with a compilation of melancholy stories to elicit sentimentality from the reader along with to mollify and reassure the reader that mistakes are fine to make and that everything we do add's up to what our "calling" is. He then redundantly reiterates the word "calling" throughout the book emphasizing that what we are meant to do in life has been a unique characteristic in us all along. While maintaining this romanticized undertone he still does manage to give some pragmatic advice in the book rather than deluding the readers that they're special by saying they have a "calling." He introduces the idea of taking a risk with our vocation; he also clarify's in "The Portfolio Life" that we are the actions we make; composing ourselves in Work, Home, Play, and Purpose. He lastly provides the reader with the simple though annually overlooked fact that mastery at anything requires work and that we cannot accurately anticipate mastery with talent alone -- we must have some effort intertwined with our natural capabilities. My prominent reason for rating this book a three (almost a two) is for Jeff's redundant use of the word "calling." When in reality, we do not have a calling. We have enjoyments and pleasures and avocations and vocations that are enjoyable at certain era's of our life and not enjoyable at others. We are made up of our genetics and our experiences -- and no calling is found in either of those two.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Leah Good

    After seeing a friend frequently retweet the author of this book and then review the book itself on her blog I decided to read it myself. Since I am currently between jobs and finding it difficult to determine what's next, it seemed especially applicable. The Art of Work is an encouraging book. It pulls "pipe dreams" down from their lofty but unreachable heights and encourages honest evaluation and planning to make dreams a reality. "Anything less than such proactivity is a cheap imitation of the After seeing a friend frequently retweet the author of this book and then review the book itself on her blog I decided to read it myself. Since I am currently between jobs and finding it difficult to determine what's next, it seemed especially applicable. The Art of Work is an encouraging book. It pulls "pipe dreams" down from their lofty but unreachable heights and encourages honest evaluation and planning to make dreams a reality. "Anything less than such proactivity is a cheap imitation of the life you were meant to live," the author encourages. This is a book that redeemes confusion and failures and turns them into stepping stones on the path to reaching your calling. When presenting one man's story, Goins summaries, "He didn't come to his life's work by success. He found it through failure." Because I read most of this book while tired and a bit discouraged, I found it a little hard to focus and some of the stories difficult to relate to. However, there were a lot of encouraging nuggets that I tucked away into my memory vault to draw continued inspiration from. If you're thinking of reading this book, check my friend's review out. It's a very well thought out summary of the positive aspects of the book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Mighty Rasing

    I actually 'read' the audiobook of this book, read by Jeff himself. It's a book full of anecdotes and carefully crafted thoughts on calling and work. As somebody who also follows Tim Ferriss' concept of the "Jack of All Trades, Master of Some", this book spoke to me. We're not really called to only ONE calling, as if we were meant to do one thing and one thing only throughout our life. Jeff's book presents stories of people who chased after their passions and discovered that it is their calling; I actually 'read' the audiobook of this book, read by Jeff himself. It's a book full of anecdotes and carefully crafted thoughts on calling and work. As somebody who also follows Tim Ferriss' concept of the "Jack of All Trades, Master of Some", this book spoke to me. We're not really called to only ONE calling, as if we were meant to do one thing and one thing only throughout our life. Jeff's book presents stories of people who chased after their passions and discovered that it is their calling; those who chased after passions and failed, only to rise up in some other realm. The book tackles calling as this multi-faceted thing, and the process of its discovery is not as neat as we would like it to be.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Abbi

    The Art of Work was referenced in a SHRM article that I read and I decided to borrow it from my local library; and I'm so glad that I did. What I appreciated the most about the book is that Jeff Goins doesn't pretend to have the answer to figuring out what your calling in life is and how to pursue it. Instead, he draws on the experiences and revelations of different people from all walks of life and weaves together a book that makes you want to step back and take a good, hard look at your own The Art of Work was referenced in a SHRM article that I read and I decided to borrow it from my local library; and I'm so glad that I did. What I appreciated the most about the book is that Jeff Goins doesn't pretend to have the answer to figuring out what your calling in life is and how to pursue it. Instead, he draws on the experiences and revelations of different people from all walks of life and weaves together a book that makes you want to step back and take a good, hard look at your own motives for working. I really enjoyed reading this book and would highly-recommend it to anyone that wants to use their God-given gifts to serve others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Taylor

    Meh. I read the whole thing because it was quick and I was hoping to glean something from its entirety. However, it was just a disjointed collection of stories about people the writer found on the internet whose "callings" ended up being vapid, self-indulgent, or something they couldn't sustain long-term. I appreciated the lack of "entrepreneur" and rags-to-riches stories and that Goins attempted to include real-life examples but, ultimately, they fell flat. Let's just say I didn't take a single Meh. I read the whole thing because it was quick and I was hoping to glean something from its entirety. However, it was just a disjointed collection of stories about people the writer found on the internet whose "callings" ended up being vapid, self-indulgent, or something they couldn't sustain long-term. I appreciated the lack of "entrepreneur" and rags-to-riches stories and that Goins attempted to include real-life examples but, ultimately, they fell flat. Let's just say I didn't take a single note. For me, that means I've just read a dud.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I admit that I'm a fan of Jeff Goins' writing style and approach to community and to life, so I went into this book expecting to like it. The stories included just blew me away. I wasn't prepared to see the lives of others unfold in such a way when it's a book about finding your life's work or vocation. It definitely goes deeper than most life/career guides. The writing style makes the book's topic very approachable. It's challenging without feeling like you are climbing a mountain. Instead, his I admit that I'm a fan of Jeff Goins' writing style and approach to community and to life, so I went into this book expecting to like it. The stories included just blew me away. I wasn't prepared to see the lives of others unfold in such a way when it's a book about finding your life's work or vocation. It definitely goes deeper than most life/career guides. The writing style makes the book's topic very approachable. It's challenging without feeling like you are climbing a mountain. Instead, his direction helps you attack your goals just like eating an elephant... one bite at a time.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Tasha Seegmiller

    Inspiring motivation It's quite possible that I highlighted more in this book than most others I've read. Point after point resonated with my own recent journey to discover passions, learn more about a craft, and expand my vision to have more meaning in what I do. I would highly recommend this book to everyone.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rob Thompson

    About the book: The Art of Work is about finding your calling – that special goal that brings you joy and imbues your life with meaning. These blinks will teach you how to find your calling and how to live by it once you've found it. Your calling is the secret to living a fulfilling life – so don't let it get away! About the author: Jeff Goins is the bestselling author of The In-Between, Wrecked and You Are A Writer. His work mostly deals with pinpointing your dreams and turning them into a About the book: The Art of Work is about finding your calling – that special goal that brings you joy and imbues your life with meaning. These blinks will teach you how to find your calling and how to live by it once you've found it. Your calling is the secret to living a fulfilling life – so don't let it get away! About the author: Jeff Goins is the bestselling author of The In-Between, Wrecked and You Are A Writer. His work mostly deals with pinpointing your dreams and turning them into a reality. My highlights: Your calling gives your life meaning. The best way to achieve happiness in the workplace is to find your calling – a force larger than yourself that drives your every action. Awareness helps you recognize your calling when you come across it. Another good way to find your calling is to make a list of all the major events in your life, even the ones that might not seem like the most important. When did you feel the most fulfilled, happy or accomplished? Look for similarities between these moments – your calling might be something that ties them all together. Find good mentors and never stop practicing. the most successful people are those who know how to find good coaches and mentors. Mentors guide them as they get closer to their calling. You can only master your calling by practicing it.And the best way to practice is to never stop striving toward knowledge and self-improvement. That means you have to accustom yourself to failure.Practice isn't about doing the same simple task over and over again. It's about pushing yourself into new frontiers – making mistakes and learning from them. Don't stop moving toward your goal and always learn from your mistakes. Failure doesn't take you away from success – it leads you there!Everyone who pursues their dream experiences setbacks at some point. Accept these hardships as opportunities to learn and better yourself. Live a portfolio life that's filled with interesting challenges and variety. In a portfolio life, your identity is based on a wide range of things, not just one. The author, for example, isn't only a writer – he's a father and husband, too.There are four main areas in a portfolio life: work, home, play and purpose.Work doesn't have to refer only to your main job; it can include other projects you work on as well. Home is all about your family and friends – that's where much of the meaning in your life comes from. When you do things just for the joy of it, that's your play. Finally, your purpose is the main goal of your life – what you're prepared to take risks for. Seek out different sorts of challenges that will bring variety to your portfolio life, because living a portfolio life means living for your calling. Your calling is your legacy – and you'll never stop living for it. Your calling is more than a personal goal – it’s your legacy, the work that will continue to inspire others long after you're finished with it.If you're doing something for yourself alone, that's not your calling. So don't aim to produce one masterpiece – your calling is more like a magnum opus. It's your entire body of work. To understand your calling you must acknowledge death, because a calling is also a legacy. You'll never finish with your calling, no matter how hard you try. And a fear of death can in fact be useful – it drives many to keep creating until the end. Final summary: Everyone has a calling – an idea that imbues their life with meaning and pushes them forward. So develop the awareness to find yours and strive to live a portfolio life that will give you the happiness and balance you need. When you live for your calling, you won't just produce work you'll be proud of – you'll feel more fulfilled and leave behind a legacy that will continue to inspire others even after you've passed on.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Short

    My thoughts on this book are mixed. It is well-written in terms of craft. The human interest stories are compelling. It does have some useful suggestions and advice, but I don't know that it accomplished its own expectation. I am probably cynical when it comes to pursue-your-dreams and live-a-radical-life messages. So, keep that in mind. The idea of selfless service was not absent, but it wasn't prominent enough. There wasn't any effort to resolve tensions. For example: it could be an act of My thoughts on this book are mixed. It is well-written in terms of craft. The human interest stories are compelling. It does have some useful suggestions and advice, but I don't know that it accomplished its own expectation. I am probably cynical when it comes to pursue-your-dreams and live-a-radical-life messages. So, keep that in mind. The idea of selfless service was not absent, but it wasn't prominent enough. There wasn't any effort to resolve tensions. For example: it could be an act of complete selfishness and self-centeredness to leave everything and move to Burundi. It might not be so, but the tension wasn't explored. Being published by Thomas Nelson, I expected more of a Christian worldview on vocation--finding our purpose in life is found in pursuing God's kingdom and his righteousness first and the greatest is the least and servant of all. It seemed that kind of message was watered down and, instead, there was some fuzzy, mystical stuff about "calling" and some near motivational guru speak. The message comes across as your failing unless you're living in some radical, unconventional way. Where does this sort of message leave the Bible's idea of a blessed life as being a quiet peaceable life with loving family? Again, it wasn't all bad. Apparently, many have read it and profited from it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    John Blackman

    This is a pretty quick read on why we work. I had high expectations going into this one. I expected some sort of formula for determining what the perfect thing for me to do in life was. I was secretly hoping it lined up with what I am actually doing. Instead it focuses more on how you are living and thinking from the end of your life. I'm in a phase of life right now where my intensity for work is higher than ever, but I also now have a family. Time is so precious. 30 minutes is now a real gift This is a pretty quick read on why we work. I had high expectations going into this one. I expected some sort of formula for determining what the perfect thing for me to do in life was. I was secretly hoping it lined up with what I am actually doing. Instead it focuses more on how you are living and thinking from the end of your life. I'm in a phase of life right now where my intensity for work is higher than ever, but I also now have a family. Time is so precious. 30 minutes is now a real gift which used to be something to just let go by in mild amusement. So choosing where that time goes drives a lot of my life right now. Most of these books fall into similar memes. 1) Enjoy the process of work, not the goals because they come and go but the work remains 2) Think of everything from the end of your life to make the right decision for you 3) Work never ends, so don't burn yourself out and sacrifice the only thing that really fulfills you which are generally speaking relationships. The above is a oversimplification of course, but keeping those in the front of my mind has been helpful.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Roniq

    I found some golden nuggets in this book that I liked a lot. I love the overall message. Where the book really came together for me is at page 135 and on when a "Portfolio Life" is mentioned. I won't give it away. It's quick to get through and I liked the flow of it, especially toward the end. No ah ha moments for me but worth a read.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Pam

    An authentic and enlightening book. I have read many books that talk about taking the leap into doing what you were meant to do, but this book sheds new light on the idea of your calling in life and what that means in more detail than any other I’ve read. I read so much of it aloud to my husband because I found it absolutely worth sharing. I will read it again, for sure. Excellently written.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    Every now and then, I get asked to be a part of something special that changes my life. For me, being asked to be a part of Jeff Goins launch team for his new book, The Art of Work, was one such experience. I was first introduced to Goins writings through the Influence Conference and my friend Amy. His easy to follow style and “this is what has worked for me” attitude kept me reading his works. (For an insight, check out his I am a Writer ebook). The Art of Work is the latest in a series of Every now and then, I get asked to be a part of something special that changes my life. For me, being asked to be a part of Jeff Goins launch team for his new book, The Art of Work, was one such experience. I was first introduced to Goins writings through the Influence Conference and my friend Amy. His easy to follow style and “this is what has worked for me” attitude kept me reading his works. (For an insight, check out his I am a Writer ebook). The Art of Work is the latest in a series of books, blogs and groups I’ve been reading about finding the balance between work, art, life and passion. What I’ve discovered is nothing terribly profound, but yet something I need to remember: Life is about so much. Live is about active participation. Life is about risk. Life is about trusting when it’s hard. Life is about finding the thing that makes you feel alive and then doing it. Life is about this brief period we have between birth and death to do something that matters. There are literally dozens of quotes from The Art of Work that I could share, but the one that made me keep reading is right in the introduction: No matter how noisy the world got, no matter how busy you became, there would always be something inside you – a small voice that whispered in the quieter moments of life, taunting you with the shadow of an unloved life. If you listen hard enough, you can still hear it. – Jeff Goins, #theartofworkbook I had never thought of not following my dreams as an “unloved life,” but that phrase has stuck with me between two separate readings of The Art of Work now. The unloved life. The thought that what you are doing isn’t fulfilling the deepest parts of who you are. Goins then goes on to say, Listen to your life. #artofworkbook Your dreams, your calling, that thing that you just cannot stop thinking about – that is your calling. That is where your passion and your ability meet to make an impact in the world. That is where change happens. That is where fear and risk stare down each other and one comes out the victor. Now, I have come to realize, not surprisingly, that I can easily be swayed by fear. I am not a risk-taker. I am not someone who likes to upset the status quo. I am a person who plays by the rules. Risk has always been scary to me. As an adult, I am learning there is truth to the no risk/no reward scenario. It’s easy to stay right where you are, where you’re fine, and know what is coming tomorrow. To risk means the possibility of failure, and that’s not something that I have ever dealt with well. But, without risk comes complacency and the realization that you only get out of life what you put into it. Failure is a friend dressed up like an enemy. #artofworkbook Failure helps you see where your strengths lie. Failure helps you find yourself in your dreams. Failure directs your path. You just have to learn to trust it and to accept that no great things happen without risk. You don’t live the life you dream of without risking the life you have. You don’t leave a legacy without creating something worth leaving. The Art of Work is about finding your calling. It’s about learning to hear the voice directing your path. It’s about embracing the struggles. It’s about not giving in when it seems to hard. It’s about knowing, without a doubt, that you have a great story to tell and your life is important. It’s about the never-ending pursuit of leaving this world better than you found it. The journey is bigger than you expected. #artofworkbook.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Deborah Bailey

    Those looking for the work they were meant to do, will find a meaningful guide in The Art of Work. Not the usual book about how to follow your dream, author Jeff Goins shows that your calling isn't a destination, but steps on a life-long journey. Giving examples of others who have found their calling in various ways, he shows the reader that success is rarely if ever a straight line. And the definition of success can vary depending on the person. Being on your path and living your purpose may Those looking for the work they were meant to do, will find a meaningful guide in The Art of Work. Not the usual book about how to follow your dream, author Jeff Goins shows that your calling isn't a destination, but steps on a life-long journey. Giving examples of others who have found their calling in various ways, he shows the reader that success is rarely if ever a straight line. And the definition of success can vary depending on the person. Being on your path and living your purpose may include a red carpet and all the external trappings of success, or it may be a much simpler life outside of the spotlight. It all depends on the person. The book includes sections which divide the chapters into Preparation, Action and Completion, and detail the journey through answering the call, becoming the apprentice, practice, mastery and ultimately legacy. In the introduction, Goins makes clear that he's not referring to finding your dream job, but finding your vocation--which is your calling. It's not just about showing up at a job and going through the motions, but stepping into the work you were meant to do. The thing that fits you, fills your dreams and your desires. As the old way of working disappears, taking with it things like job security and pensions, a new way of looking at the work you were born to do has emerged. As Goins observes, with longer lifespans, it's no longer a matter of your work life ending at retirement. A calling isn't about punching a clock, it's how you express yourself in the world. Sometimes you know what you're called to do, or you may discover it after a set-back, a loss, or a course correction. Based on what Goins calls, an ancient path followed by master craftsmen and artisans, it's not meant to be a blueprint that everyone must follow exactly. Instead he urges the reader to be open to what shows up, and be mindful of how you respond to it. You may be led to places you never expected, and discover that all along you were being led where you were supposed to be. He's also included an Appendix with items such as, "Your First Steps Down the Path," "Seven Signs You've Found Your Calling," and "Next Steps." No matter your age or stage of life, you'll find something here to guide and support you along your life's journey.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Thea Diepen

    An excellent and encouraging read, one that takes into account a long-term view of a calling, and that promotes a relaxed way of discovering your vocation. Each of the steps Jeff talks about feels natural, as something that can just happen during the process of life and maturation. This book advocates not a struggle to find yourself, but a journey to reveal yourself. It leaves you full of hope. Rather than feeling like you have been set with an impossible task, you are left with the feeling that An excellent and encouraging read, one that takes into account a long-term view of a calling, and that promotes a relaxed way of discovering your vocation. Each of the steps Jeff talks about feels natural, as something that can just happen during the process of life and maturation. This book advocates not a struggle to find yourself, but a journey to reveal yourself. It leaves you full of hope. Rather than feeling like you have been set with an impossible task, you are left with the feeling that you are already on the path, that these are some of the signposts you'll find along the way, and what to pay attention to when you get there. This book isn't about making the most of life, like assembling pieces to create furniture or some kind of machinery. It's about growing the life that has already been planted. Each step along the way is viewed as an opportunity to nurture what you already have, and develop the skills that will aide you in the future. In the end, what you can discover is less like a work of art that you strove to create, and more like an old growth forest. You plant the trees and decide on the major strokes, but all sorts of little surprises come up along the way, and you and your forest are richer for it as a result. That said, Jeff doesn't advocate a passive journey to discovering your calling. While you're not encouraged to force it to happen, you are advised to be alert, pay attention, and put into practise every valuable thing you learn, no matter where or from who you learned it. The art of work isn't about finding yourself somewhere other than where you are now. It's about becoming who you already are, and Jeff explores both the big and small picture of that clearly, warmly, and effectively. It is, ultimately, an empowering read, and one I highly recommend to anyone confused about their vocation who seeks wisdom.

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