Be so good they can't ignore you

What lured me in to reading this book was the title: Be so good they can’t ignore you. Yup, definitely fits my work-your-ass-off mindset .. I was game.

The intro was great — but it just went downhill from there. Wasn’t long before I felt like chucking the book out the window (Alas, it was an ebook and I wasn’t about to throw my Kindle out).

The scientific basis of the book was shaky .. at best. All of the evidence cited was anecdotal .. and even then, the “lessons” he extrapolated from them were unconvincing.

I think part of my bone picking with this book is that it only considers one viable career path – which is working in some sort of job. Even the example that he cited, of some folks working a farm, depended to a large extent on professional qualifications. I think the book would have worked out a lot more if the scope was increased to include examples of hustlers that got their way in business .. people like Uber’s Travis Kalanick (who knew nothing about cars or the transportation industry).

Still, there were some bits I found useful .. you’ll find them below.

Notable quotes

[Chris] Rock, it turns out, will make somewhere between forty to fifty unannounced visits to a small New Jersey–area comedy club to help him figure out which material works and which doesn’t.

To initiate these efforts, I chose a paper that was well cited in my research niche, but that was also considered obtuse and hard to follow. The paper focused on only a single result—the analysis of an algorithm that offers the best-known solution to a well-known problem. Many people have cited this result, but few have understood the details that support it. I decided that mastering this notorious paper would prove a perfect introduction to my new regime of self-enforced deliberate practice.

I get this feeling alot — of going through long research papers and not understanding anything. I think his approach here, to break things down and essentially force yourself through it, could work wonders.

Strain, I now accepted, was good. Instead of seeing this discomfort as a sensation to avoid, I began to understand it the same way that a body builder understands muscle burn: a sign that you’re doing something right.