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Saturday, July 26th, 2008

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7:00p
I've mocked this from afar for way too long ...
As an entrepreneur, son of entrepreneurs, married to an entrepreneur, I have seen way too many cherished business dreams go down in flames, and the people behind them spiral into soul-crushing depressions to take the title of this book with any other than extreme bitterness. For years, I threatened to write a counter-book called "Do What You Love, and the Universe Will Crush You Like A Cockroach at a Flamenco Convention!" ... because that has been my experience. Now, I have been trying very hard (by reading books like this) to not have that be my reality, but it was with certain misgivings that I actually picked up this to read.

I was relieved to find that Marsha Sinetar's Do What You Love, The Money Will Follow: Discovering Your Right Livelihood was not the sewer of delusional pablum that I'd always suspected it to be, but neither is it a book for entrepreneurs. Frankly, there was more psychology in here than I'd anticipated, and far less "newagey" touchy-feely stuff. The best parts of the book, however, were not in the main text, but the stories of folks who had dragged themselves out of mundane hells and made new worlds for themselves. After all these years, I still appreciate reading about the ones who "won".

The focus here, however, seems to be on those folks who are not happy in their current jobs, providing them with some altered perspective to see why they might not be happy, some guides to help them figure out where they might be happy, and some suggestions of how to get from point A to point B. I was somewhat reminded of a "career counselor" who my wife and I had worked with a decade or so ago ... she had made a specialty of finding out the "secret desires" of people and figuring out ways of expressing that in an actual career path (this is what got me into I.T. just before "the dot-com bubble burst").

As a piece of writing, this is rather uneven ... Sinetar gets all worked up in sections where she's rapid-firing off concepts without contextifying them or providing much to back up her assertions. In those parts it feels like one's stuck at lunch with an obsessive who's had just a bit too much espresso that morning. In other parts she's on the opposite track, slowly going point to point to point through things that really don't need that much "connect the dots".

Personally, I didn't hate the book, but reading it was more of a "character building exercise" for me (after years of mocking it, unread) than anything else. Again, this is not a book for those who already burn with a need to be out of the "mundane box", but those who are wondering if there is anything beyond the daily grind. Again, I still think the title is one of the biggest lies ever foisted upon the reading public ... but the book isn't as bad as I'd feared.

As one might expect from it's "classic" status, this is still in print. Were you wanting to pick up a copy, however, the Amazon new/used guys have "very good" copies of it for as little as a penny ($4 with shipping), which I'd certainly suggest over full-price.


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