A tough-love, contrarian approach to career advice based on the author's widely viewed TEDx Talk (more than 6 million views), in which he confronts readers on how to work through their excuses, mistakes, and whatever is holding them back to achieve the meaningful and happy careers they desire.
A provocative new approach to discovering your true calling in life and achieving not just a good career, but a great one
Over the past three decades, professor Larry Smith has become something of a “career whisperer” for his students at the University of Waterloo. Each year, millions of talented college students graduate with little or no real sense of what their next step will be, yet they are determined not to settle for a so-so career; they are looking for a great career. Smith points out that only a few fortunate souls are born knowing exactly what they want to pursue in life. The rest of us have to stop making excuses and start asking ourselves tough questions about achieving our goals.
In his straightforward, no-nonsense approach, Smith itemizes and dismisses all the usual excuses, fears, and worries that people hide behind when trying to find their true direction. His unusual take on this challenging conundrum is both universal and timely, and his stunning TEDx talk on this subject has been viewed by more than six million people so far.
This is the perfect book for any college graduate who is wondering where he or she fits into the world. It won't necessarily be easy, but if you follow Smith’s guidance, your career dreams can indeed come true.
"In a book that follows in the footsteps of the classic Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow (1989), Canadian professor and economist Smith has hit on the new millennium’s major career issue—how to figure things out in these times of complexity, uncertainty, and change. Based on a highly successful TEDx Talk, his counsel spans the generations and is strong and flexible enough to counter objections. The volume covers knowing yourself; doing the requisite homework and planning; and going forward, come hell or high water. Each step-by-step chapter is sprinkled with true stories and dialogue proving his points, which highlight innovation over imitation; the use of logic and emotion to define your work path; and ways to avoid excuses and recognize common fears, such as wasted time, missed opportunities, and financial distress. In all, he underscores that it’s a terrible loss at any time, no matter what the circumstance, to not realize talent. Why not spend your life pursuing a dream?"
"Smith, a consultant and adjunct professor of economics at the University of Waterloo in Ontario, believes that everyone can feel a sense of passion about work. He uses the book as a platform to address the many questions that have arisen from his much-watched TEDx video, “Why You Will Fail to Have a Great Career.” His advice, distilled from around 30,000 career statements collected through the years, centers on discovering one’s passion. This can be difficult, but Smith offers up a series of steps to help, such as recognizing the distinction between passions and interests and initiating the “great sampling”—a process that includes reading widely, talking with people with varied interests, and thinking rigorously. Smith also shows how to draw up a career plan, prepare for the job market, and “sell yourself by selling your ideas.” He concludes with a transformative section on confronting the titular fears and excuses that is challenging and highly valuable. Smith convincingly shows how individuals of any age and in any industry can chart a course to a great career by drawing on prior success stories."
"Most people know Larry Smith via his renowned Economics lectures, or via his immensely popular TEDx talk. There are a lucky few of us to whom Larry has provided personal career guidance; earth-shattering conversations that make you look at the working world anew. I am overjoyed that Larry is now sharing his incredible insight to all who aspire to make their mark."
--Mike Jutan, Disney/Lucasfilm
"When I was in Engineering school, Larry's advice to me was to do work that I love. If you choose to do work that you think you "should" do -- and you are competing with people who love what they do -- you will fail."
--Barbara Adey, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
“Have you ever had a conversation with someone about your life that leaves you feeling so elated that you have goosebumps? This is a typical result of how I feel after chatting with Larry.”
--M. Azam Javed, Tesla
"Larry inspires us to take action against a formula for failure. His perspective on the competitive nature of the modern economy will drive you to create your own success.”
--Hiro Dozono, Facebook
“The conversations I had with Professor Smith helped me prioritize my career ambitions in a way that was dramatically effective for my self-development.”
--Ryan Westlake, Amazon
“It is perhaps all too easy to make wrong turns in one's career and to never experience the thrill of realizing your boldest dreams. My conversations with Larry Smith were instrumental in avoiding such a fate.”
--Dimitriy Tomilovskiy, Bloomberg
“Had it not been for the time I was able to spend with Professor Smith during my university years gaining his advice on career success, I would not be where I am today. Capturing this in a book is a gift to all.”
--Mike McCauley, Google
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