So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary

The best things about books are it always challenges your beliefs and the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary written by Cal Newport is not an exception to that.

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Introduction: So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary

Many times we have a heart that “Follow your passion”, “identify your true calling”. Doing the stuff you love is the only way to fulfilling, satisfying career.

Author cal Newport call this as a passion hypothesis which says that the key to fulfilling career is to first figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a job that matches this passion.

Through the book author tear downs the idea of finding passion and put the new perspective which will help you to create a satisfying career. 

At the end of this book summary you’ll know “Why do some people love what they do and some people don’t? So, let’s begin with So Good They Can’t Ignore You Summary.

Rule 1: Don’t Follow your passion

You have got to find what you love….. The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking, and don’t settle.

Steve Jobs

By looking at this quote it seems that Apple came out of the passion of Steve Jobs. But If we look at his journey he was passionate about Zen Buddhism.

And with working his friend he found money making opportunity and then Apple established. So, what author suggest is that “Do not do what Steve Job said, do what he did”.

Most of the people don’t know what they are passionate about. What excites you today may or may not be will excite you in future.

so good they can't ignore you quotes

Career passions are rare

In one research group of students asked about their passions. Most of the students have passions like singing, reading, dance, hockey. These are the hobby style passions. These passions won’t help while choosing a career.

Do you believe that every person who have passion for singing can become a successful singer? So, career passions are rare. And what if you don’t have any relevant passion to follow?

Passion Takes Time

Amy Wrzesniewski, a professor at Yale University made a study about how people think about their work.

Most people identified their work as a job( a way to pay bills), career( path towards a better work) and calling (work that’s important part of your life).

People who have identified their work as a calling have attractive jobs like doctor, teacher. But, she found exception to that is employees working as a college administrative assistants.

She found that these employees do not see their work as a calling or job, still they were enjoying their work. So, the type of the work alone does not predict how much people enjoy it.

Important predictor of work satisfaction is experience. People working at same position with more experience are most satisfied with their work. With time people gain essential skills to become so good at their work and also build healthy relationships with co-workers.

Passion Is Side Effect of Mastery

According to Self-Determination Theory, three things required to feel motivated towards your work, they are:

  1. Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day and that your actions are important
  2. Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do
  3. Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people

This theory does not include passion and it is the hard work when you put in the work and achieve mastery. You feel passionate, motivated when you become good at your work.

If “Follow Your Passion” is wrong advice, then what is the right one? How to create work you love? Rule 2-4 explains this.

Rule 2: So Good They Can’t Ignore You or Importance of Skill

There are two types of mindsets 1) Craftsman mindset 2) Passion Mindset

Craftsman mindset focuses on what value you are producing in your job while the passion mindset focuses on what your job is offering you.

The craftsman mindset creates clarity while the passion mindset creates confusion.

For creating work you love you must reject the passion mindset by looking differently at your job.

The Power of Career Capital

Creativity, control, and impact are the characteristics which make great work great. These traits are rare and valuable.

To get these traits in your working life you should have enough skills to offer in return. To acquire these skills you have to adopt a craftsman mindset.

Becoming a Craftsman

Deliberate practice is the key to acquiring career capital i.e skills. In the book Outliers, the author Malcolm Gladwell described the 10000 Hour rule. According to which you need a 10000 hour of practice to master at any skill.

Deliberate practice is stretching yourself beyond an acceptable level, doing deep work.

Well there are 5 steps for creating deliberate practice.

Step 1: Decide what capital market you are in

There are two types of capital market 1) winner-take-all 2) Auction

The winner-take-all market is script writing or blogging where the only skill required i.e your writing ability. In this market, all compete for one position.

Where in the auction market there are many different types of skills available and you can get a job with those skills.

Step 2: Identify Your capital type

After identifying the market then you should decide the specific type of skills to pursue. This step is not for Winner-take-all market cause there is only one skill that matters.

Step 3: Define Good

You should know your goal clearly. For writer, his “good” is his writing being taken seriously.

Step 4: Stretch and Destroy

After deciding what skills you are going to pursue, you have to make deliberate practice. Deliberate practice is stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone.

You may be thinking you’re doing great. But, Your opinion about your practice doesn’t count thus getting constant feedback is important.

Step 5: Be Patient

Acquiring skills is not a day’s task, it will take years. Stretching yourself beyond an acceptable level for such a huge period needs patience.

Rule 3: Turn Down a Promotion or Importance of Control

After getting enough skills and putting it in the right market, you should try for getting control. Control is one of the important traits for creating work you love and living a meaningful life.

According to a study, mentioned in the book Drive, businesses that provided their employee control grew four times faster than those who did not.

But, there are mainly two traps people fall in while getting control.

The First Control Trap

Getting more control without enough career capital to offer in return is dangerous. Let say you want to start a new business but you don’t have enough value to offer in return, you will get control but you will fail.

The Second Control Trap

When you get enough career capital and become so good people around you try to resist you from leaving the company. Because you are now so good they can’t ignore you.

To avoid both control trap, you have to take chance at right time.

Rule 4: Think small, Act Big or Importance of Mission

The last rule of so good they can’t ignore you summary is about mission. Mission is somewhat the work which will serve a more useful goal. The mission is an important trait for making a compelling career.

Before making a mission you have to acquire enough skills or your mission will fail. By taking little steps you can know your mission and work towards it.

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Cal Newport’s So good they can’t ignore you summary focuses on creating work you love by achieving skills and slowly gaining control and cultivating a mission.

With this, we came to the end of the so good they can’t ignore you summary. Hope you have enjoyed this book.

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Omkar Mirajgave

Omkar Mirajgave

Omkar Mirajgave is the founder of He is an avid book reader. After reading 100+ book summaries and 80+ books, he realized book summaries can help him choose better books. He writes about interesting book summaries, reading tips, the best books to read, and everything related to books!