June 7, 2005

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

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 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.