January 23, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - What Should I Do With My Life?

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 4:14 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture Should I Do with My Life? The True Stories of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question by Po Bronson, Random House, 350 Pages, $24.95 Hardcover, January 2003, ISBN 0375507493
Po Bronson wrote three successful books centered on technology and the Internet. Based on those three books, I believe that Bronson is one of the best young writers producing business narratives. However, with this book, Bronson changes direction and, in turn, may possibly be his generations Studs Terkel, writing like Tom Wolfe.
Why was Bronson compelled to step outside his genre and tackle this universal question? He explains in his introduction:
This book is about urge, that need. I began this project because I hit that point in my life. The television show Id been writing for was canceled. The magazines I wrote for had thinned their pages. My longtime book editor had quit to pursue theater and film. I was out of work, and though I could have hustled up more, I wasnt sure I should. I felt like the kinds of stories Id been telling no longer worked. They no longer mapped the depth and drama of human life as I experienced it. I found I was intrigued by people who had unearthed their true calling, or at least those willing to try.
This book contains the stories of 55 people whose search for greater meaning in their lives caused them to change their careers, and subsequently, change their lives. Within the stories, Bronson is both observer and character, which adds depth and empathy to the narratives. While this book is not a traditional business book, and will probably be shelved in the self help/popular psychology section in a bookstore, I wanted to include it as a JCS because so many of us in the business world struggle with these questions.
Though I dont make a habit of quoting other reviews, Publishers Weekly really nailed the book is this sentence: Brimming with stories of sacrifice, courage, commitment and, sometimes, failure, the book will support anyone pondering a major life choice or risk without force-feeding them pat solutions." Plus, it's a ball to read and is chock-full of serious inspiration -- something we all could use more of.

About Dylan Schleicher

Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.