Book review - So Good They Can't Ignore You

14 Nov 2021 4-minute read

I recently finished the book So Good They Can’t Ignore You by Cal Newport on how to build a career you can love.
Let’s do a small review.

The story

This book debunks the famous passion mindset (Follow your passion) as being dangerous. Instead, it introduces the Craftsman mindset as a replacement.
It does this by looking at different people, from both sides, and seeing how their career has progressed so far.

We start off with a good friend from Cal and see how he followed the passion mindset, only to break down when he finally got his fantasy dream job. We then go into smaller stories from different people that show the passion vs craftsman mindset in action. In the end, we arrive back at Cal’s good friend and how he used this new mindset to actually feel happiness and passion at a job he would not expect to find those feelings at.

The finale is then how Cal himself has used this craftsman mindset during his own career.

The setup

The setup of this book feels very well thought over. It introduces the new mindset with a great backstory about Cal’s friend.

It then goes on to break this mindset up into 4 different rules, each rule having its own dedicated chapter. In those chapters each rule is not only revealed and detailed, they are also accompanied by smaller career stories from different people. This helps give extra insight into how each rule works exactly. But it goes even further, it also shows how the passion mindset fails in the exact way that the rule can help you.

After learning about the different rules we see how they also affected his best friend.
We end with the story of how Cal not only wrote this book but also how he used these rules to build the basis of his own career.

The flow

It is not only a great read because of the nice structure, but it is also very easy to read.
As someone who usually has a hard time staying focused on reading, this book kept drawing me back to read what the next rule was and how it could impact my own career.

Because of the well-structured way this book introduces the rules to the Craftsman mindset, it is so easy to follow along and to ponder on each rule. Giving you the food for thought you need to rethink your own mindset and career.

The intertwining career stories also help to see potential issues in your own career and the amazing effects the rules can have on your path forward.

For who

I think I can say that this book is for everyone interested in creating a career they love.

But I highly recommend this book even more to people who have devoured self-help book after self-help book that talks about following your passion! I suspect if you’re devouring multiple of these as I did, you’re not finding what you’re looking for. For me, this book was the answer I was truly looking for, and I hope it will help you as well!


This is a book I’ll definitely read again every once in a while. Just to keep the insights and rules fresh in my mind.

I’ve always been drawn to self-help books because I always felt there was more and better. It also makes it easy to then follow in the passion trap. This made me question the choices I made in the past and the career that came out of it.

I now see that I never had to doubt these choices and instead I have to push forward. Looking back at all the past achievements I can now see I’m on the right track but in a dangerous zone.
A zone that is also discussed in the book, where you get stuck floating at the same level and thus causing the expected satisfaction to fall flat on its face. It’s time to break free from that cycle.

It’s time to be so good they can’t ignore me!