- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; 1 edition (December 30, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375758984
- ISBN-13: 978-0375758980
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 307 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #413,279 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question Paperback – December 30, 2003
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“Beautifully written ... Free of religiosity and cant, the book also is remarkably spiritual.... Bronson masterfully blends narrative and interpretation, coaxing his subjects to life in telling, resonant anecdotes. This is holistic writing of unique, encouraging power.”
—The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“This new title matches a worthwhile premise—the question of how we each find our personal mission in life—with a tone refreshingly free of either sap or cynicism.... What [Bronson] finds is equally useful to middle-age folks and fresh college grads.”
—Cleveland Plain Dealer, “Year’s Best Books”
From the Inside Flap
In "What Should I Do with My Life? Po Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question. With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson writes of remarkable individuals--from young to old, from those just starting out to those in a second career--who have overcome fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives and, in doing so, have been transformed by the experience. "What Should I Do with My Life? struck a powerful, resonant chord on publication, causing a multitude of people to rethink their vocations and priorities and start on the path to finding their true place in the world. For this edition, Bronson has added nine new profiles, to further reflect the range and diversity of those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voice.
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Update: just finished on a recent trans-Atlantic trip, which by the way it lends itself to perfectly, as the transitioning state one experiences during travel is the perfect condition for one's mind to turn reflective in regards to one's life, and the way things are going (that's what I like about that so much). The above initial assessment is still valid, albeit the overarching structure as explained by the author doesn't quite 'pan out' for me (but maybe in a 2nd reading). However, that's not the most important thing, for me; the wide range of views and takes / approaches to the subject by the personal stories of the interviewed people is. And that carries all the way to the last word, and leaves you with a gratefulness for the author's endeavor and persistence in this unique record, as well as his developed talent for candor in writing.
In fact, I used the concept for writing in my diary by imagining I'm telling my story so far in as much a nutshell version as can be, inspired by 'to-the-point' expressions and descriptions to try to do the same (as even the nutshell version is pages and pages long:), in order to process and transform my own attitudes towards my life.
last 6- 8 years before retiring. Started a second career writing children's books, and love it. But it's more hobby, than cuit... well, career right now.
To those who say he did not tell the whole story, for instance, in the surgeon who quit -- well that meeting happened , those doubts were expressed. Success once or twice in a literary field does not make a sure thing new career. If spending all the time, money , emotion and heartache to become a surgeon, then finding it wasn't going to be your future, you could not do it -- if that wasn't forthcoming or interesting enough for some ! I guess they have never been close to that experience, good on them.
Here's what I got out of this book:
A feeling t people , all sorts of people, successful, not successful , were asking this same question I was.
That many were taking , or avoiding the high risks involved with a change of career
That sometimes the risk is worth it, sometimes not-- you could find yourself in a worse spot... that's life!
For me it was amazingly interesting to see how some people were asking and handing the question for themselves
Really, if you are not happy or satisfied, if there is more you want to do , experience... how can you not ASK THE TITLE QUESTION - even if you don't ask it aloud.
For me, with family dependent on me, the economy shaky , the job market scarce, -- I will keep the day job , to fund the life and the dream (writing).
Loved this book, loved Po's sit down with me for coffee and let's talk of these exciting , but difficult things... life career, choices, dreams, chances and decisions. I liked this book, and feel it's time now, 12 years later, to revisit the question of a fulfilled life, this time with us baby-boomers as examples.
This book "What should I do with my life" is now available for a song here on Amazon. Under $7 including shipping -- best $$ ever spent. I found it far more honest, interesting and helpful than any pat chicken soup for books...and having mentioned it to friends, I bought two more copies to share out!
For those upset there aren't more answers or a better "ending" -- I was grateful for more questions, and a bit of direction, as well as a community of people also involved with this adventure. Okay, his book won't be for everyone, but make you own decision -- If you are looking for your "thing" the work, job, career , creation... that will make you come alive, Po's book may help you in asking the right questions, and not feeling so alone in the search.
His book contains the spirit of the quote by Nelson Mandela, I used for my subject line.
Thanks Po, great book, call or tweet, me if you want to start the baby-boomer edition. I am many of my friends are still asking this question , and we didn't start yesterday!
In statistical terms, Bronson commits the dual sin of convenience sampling (e-mailing his friends and gathering people from his circles of journalism and finance) and self-reporting bias (some people approached him based on how badly they wanted to tell their story). He also demonstrates a willingness to involve himself with his subjects, which he grapples with as a moral hurdle a few times and which has a direct effect on some stories. It feels more like Bronson drags the story along at times: by asking the questions he does and expressing the opinions to his subjects, he acknowledges his own views on the topic rather than properly reflecting the views of others.
That all being said, it made the book interesting to read.
While the book could drag at times, there should be at least one story for everyone out there job hunting. If you can put aside the fact that many of these people never had to worry about money as much as they had to worry about what they would do in the course of a day, then you can find a lesson that Bronson attempts to extract from the circumstances. He's a capable and interesting writer, if not an objective reporter.