June 7, 2005
News & Opinion: BOOK REVIEW: What Is Your Life's Work (#3)
A Review by: Chris Melinn, a software architect and consultant living in Sydney, Australia.
Are the hundreds of tiny choices you make everyday leading you toward what really matters? Are you even clear about what really matters to you?
If not, What Is Your Lifes Work? is the book for you.
Bill Jensen wrote this book to help you discover what really matters. To help you find your way, he provides sixty-four letters from others who have made these discoveries of their own. The letters are grouped into five discoveries:
1. Finding Yourself
2. Finding the Lessons to Be Learned, the Questions to Be Asked
3. Finding the Choices That Really Matter
4. Finding the Courage to Choose
5. Finding Joy, Serenity, and Fulfillment
From these letters, Jensen asks you to find the letters that speak most directly to you, that grab you, and inspire you. Then, he suggests, you use these letters as a starting point to write a letter of your own. Through this process you will be able to discover what really matters.
What would you like to tell your loved ones about work?
I liked that this book forced me to think, to reflect. While reading the letters, I began to question how I spend my time and what work means to me. After reading these stories, I naturally wanted to write a letter of my own and to share it with my family.
However, against Jensens suggestions, I read the book cover-to-cover. Although the book provides an index by theme, I found it strange trying to jump around reading the letters. I quickly abandoned this approach and continued reading cover-to-cover. This was the easiest way for me to enjoy the letters without trying to keep track of what I had already read.
Some of the stories meant nothing to me; some of the stories I really connected with. But all of the stories are enjoyable to read. This is a unique opportunity to hear the stories the contributors wanted to share, to hear what gives meaning to their lives.
As Jensen says, work is not just an eight-hour interruption in our day. We spend most of our waking hours focused on our job. And whether we like it or not, we are defined by the choices we make at work. Use this book to help you make the choices at work that are consistent with the person you want to be.
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.