June 7, 2005

News & Opinion: BOOK REVIEW: What Is Your Life's Work

By: Dylan Schleicher @ 5:40 PM – Filed under: Personal Development & Human Behavior

I found the premise of What Is Your Life's Work (Bill Jensen) to be fascinating. The concept - find a set of 3 - 5 stories that speak to you, speak to your inner core that is desperately trying to get you out of your bland/exhausting/frustrating grind - was novel (to me, at least) and very intriguing. Mr. Jensen says that you don't need to read all the stories, but I did, because I found the stories to be both interesting, and emotionally touching.
But I didn't find them touching my inner core - only one even came close. After finishing, and contemplating, I think I understand why - I'm not the target for this book. A year ago, I was working for a company that didn't appreciate me, that thought I was a misfit, that thought I was unprofessional, and was extremely uncomfortable with my pointed questions about the viability of the company's business model. I was immensely frustrated, depressed, angry, bitter and mean. And a year ago, I left, to find someplace where I would fit in, someplace where I could make a difference.
Which is one of the key themes in this book. I could have written one of the stories in this book about my decision. In other words, I'd already figured out on my own what I needed to do.
So if you're like me, working in a small company, already in a position where you feel you have a good balance between work and home, this probably isn't the book for you. But if you are in a job where you feel your soul is being eaten, bit by bit each day, then you absolutely must read this book. I know that if I had read this book last year, it would have helped me recognize my situation, and address it earlier. From that perspective, I would say the only flaw is that the stories can be quite intimidating, with people who seem to be able to effortlessly juggle multiple big projects (work/home/church; work/home/charity; etc) that probably make the average reader think "Well, yeah, _they_ can make a change, they're already super-human".
- If you have a good life/work balance - 4.5/10 (interesting stories)
- Everyone else - 9/10
John Brothers is a father of three great kids, husband to an amazing woman,
and a software architect/manager/developer/IT guy/sales engineer/tech
support/inventor for a very small software company in Atlanta.

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.