Book Review: The Art of Work
The Art of Work is the latest release from author Jeff Goins. Jeff is no stranger to the writing scene. A successful author, blogger, and model of the new portfolio lifestyle, he has successfully branded himself as the guy who can help you be who you are supposed to be.
And he’s done it again.
The Art of Work
His latest book The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do is climbing the charts and popping on best-seller lists everywhere. It’s not because the title resembles what’s left after Steven Pressfield battles Sun Tzu. Or because he offered his book to thousands of fans for just the cost of shipping. Or because the cover art re-kindles all the dreams you had when you were eight.
It’s because The Art of Work is awesome writing.
In The Art of Work, Jeff combines wisdom, experience, and storytelling into an inspiring medley of chapters, each one preparing you to take the step you’ve been avoiding—the one you know you should take, but can’t explain why you haven’t.
Jeff explains why. And then he explains how to get moving.
Jeff begins The Art of Work by paraphrasing Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl:
“Human beings, he argued, are not hardwired for seeking pleasure and avoiding pain. They want meaning. In spite of what we say, we don’t want happiness. It’s simply not enough to satisfy our deepest longings. We are looking for something more, something transcendent—a reason to be happy.” 1
This is how Jeff establishes the depth required for a discussion surrounding true fulfillment. While Jeff keeps religious undertones below the surface, the occasional reference to scripture, early discussion on a redemptive view of suffering, and choice of publisher (Nelson Books) reveal a Christian foundation for his worldview. Jeff does the imprint of Thomas Nelson justice, truly inspiring, informing, and invoking real change.
Later in The Art of Work, Jeff references what storytellers call the “inciting incident.” Every person, like a character in a story, must at some point make a choice to be more than a plot in someone else’s story. “This choice, though,” Jeff writes, “is always preceded by something deeper, a nagging feeling that there must be more.”2
And in his section titled “Apprentice to Master,” Jeff writes, “At the times when you feel stuck, the right thing to do is take a risk and go ‘all in’ with whatever the scariest option might be.”3
He writes about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, and reminds you that “comfort never leads to excellence.”4
“Sometimes the only way to know the difference between a hobby and a calling is to put yourself through the crucible of painful practice.”5
Did somebody say crucible? Sign me up! I’m a firm believer in how author Michael Phillips describes a main component of Marine Corps theology in his book The Gift of Valor: glory is derived through suffering.
So, Jeff, you’re telling us the way to succeed is not to seek happiness, comfort, and pleasure, but to embrace fear and pain? I have so many people I would like you to talk to. Maybe they’ll get your book…
When Jeff tried to learn where the motivation comes from to take the leap (or build a bridge) toward a new you, one interviewee explained, “It starts with a spark. You get a vision of your future self.”6
Indeed, I have found this to be true. Maybe you have, too.
How does a calling happen, you might ask? Jeff answers in The Art of Work, “…not as a lightning bolt, but as a gentle, consistent prodding that won’t leave you alone until you act.”7
Yes, the nag. It hangs around for years. It won’t go away. In fact, I have it right now. And thanks to Jeff’s book, I’m not ignoring it any longer.
You know what Jeff’s not ignoring? The art of working on his image. Bangs that once lay flat are now standing at attention, demanding yours. Poised to pick a fight with Conan O’Brien, Jeff’s new do takes command, issuing marching orders you’ll gladly follow. Surf’s up, and Jeff is sporting the wave. And by the looks of things, he’ll be riding this one in. In other words, it works. Just like his book.
That’s the beauty of The Art of Work. He’s teaches you how to read the ocean, find the waves, and ride them in.
So go ahead. Begin discovering what you were meant to do.
You can start HERE.
1 Jeff Goins, The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant To Do (Nashville: Nelson Books, 2015), 10.
2 Ibid., 15.
3 Ibid., 52.
4 Ibid. 65.
5 Ibid., 69.
6 Ibid., 74-75.
7 Ibid., 95.
Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I believe will add value to my readers or will assist them in establishing a coherent worldview. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
About Jason B. Ladd
Jason is an author, speaker, Marine, and father of seven. He has flown the F/A-18 Hornet as a Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron 1 (MAWTS-1) Instructor Pilot and the F-16 as an Instructor Pilot. His award-winning book One of the Few: A Marine Fighter Pilot’s Reconnaissance of the Christian Worldview has been optioned for film adaptation. He is represented by Julie Gwinn of The Seymour Agency.