A very pleasant book with many anecdotes circulating around the idea that having a passion for something won’t necessarily get you where you’re aiming for. Instead, Newport suggests adopting what he calls ‘the craftsman mindset’. Building rare and valuable skills, that make up your career capital to a point where you will eventually be “So good they can’t ignore you”.
He takes stand against what he calls ‘the passion mindset’ which according to him has a tendency to ask questions like “What can the world offer me?” and “Is this who I truly am?”. These questions put the one adopting the mindset into a constant state of doubtfulness, causing them to be unhappy about their jobs the first moment their passion fades. The ‘Craftsman mindset’ on the other hand focuses on honing your skills and asks “What can I offer the world?”. This gives the ones adopting it the ability to develop a passion for their craft, which is a reward, not an a priori condition.
Side note: I learned about this book from an interview with Andrew Ng: Inside The Mind That Built Google Brain: On Life, Creativity, And Failure. I noticed that some of the books he recommends I have already read or had them on my list except for this particular one. It was definitely a good choice to pick it! If you’re interested, have a look at Andrew Ng’s Machine Learning course on Coursera!