Is Following Your Passion Good or Bad Advice? A Book Review On So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport


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As a millennial who grew up being told that you should live your life to the fullest, I supported the belief of following your passion. I loved that you could find encouragement in books and the media about taking a leap of faith simply because it resonated with the person you wanted to be.

However, as an individual about to enter their 30s after following this belief and living at home again, I’ve discovered that it’s not an easy path. I couldn’t figure out why until I read So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport.


So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport is a book dedicated to debunking the “follow your passion” advice. Newport takes it upon himself to interview individuals who pursued this belief and he shares their successes and failures. After talking with writers, musicians, and several other professionals, he discovers some strategies that they used to gain a fulfilling career. These strategies lay a different foundation for how you should look at pursuing a career filled with passion and freedom.

He also discusses an alternative mindset that should be applied, and has been proven, by successful entrepreneurs and professionals. To be “so good they can’t ignore you” is the heart of Newports’ exploration and is rooted into the pages from start to finish.

My takeaway:

My first thought when I read the cover description was that I was going to find flaws within it, and why it couldn’t possibly be true in today’s society.

However, I was taken aback after I made it through the first section of the book. Newport doesn’t just give his opinion, he gives facts. There were holes to the advice of following your passion that I had not seen before that Newport brought to light. The rules and mindset gave me insight on how to change the way I looked at my own writing career.

While I started this book with the intention of finding a way to debunk it, I instead found myself writing down several quotes in places so that I could see them every day. Thanks to Newport’s explanations, I had a better understanding as to why I was struggling with inspiration, and why I wasn’t seeing the freedom I wanted.  

As I said in the beginning, I was an advocate for following your passion. After reading So Good They Can’t Ignore You, I knew that I could no longer hold to that belief. This book is not just about debunking advice that encourages taking a leap of faith. It is about enlightening people to first build their skills then recognize where their value is and how to apply that in their profession. Be so good they can’t ignore you and the passion will follow.

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