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What Should I Do With My Life? Paperback – 1 Jan 2004
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Po Bronson wanted to find out what to do with his life so he started interviewing people who were asking the same question. He wound up writing an excellent self-help book, called, naturally enough, What Should I Do With My Life?, consisting almost entirely of questions instead of slick answers. Here are over 50 short real-life stories of people who woke up and realised that "this is not a dress rehearsal". They took the trouble to ask what life is for, where their real gifts lie and what they really want to do with their lives.
The result is as fascinating and messy as life itself. Some of the people come out on top. They chuck out the routine grind with its dead-end expectations and find out what they are good at, follow their dream and find happiness. Others continue the struggle. They wade through days of confusion. They fight against society's shallow solutions. They battle with their doubts and fears. They kick against the trite expectations of family, friends, employers and lovers to keep up the search for their Holy Grail. Bronson has written up the stories with compassion, insight and sensitivity. But the tales avoid the usual sentimental feel-good factor that seems to be a requisite for self-help books. Instead we're shown the truth that following the impossible dream always has a price. Bronson mixes his sensitivity with a certain gritty reality and ironically this realism inspires other questing heroes much more than yet more syrupy positive thinking. This is a fresh, spiky book; an excellent kick start for anyone who wants to confront life's big questions. --Dwight Longenecker -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine vergriffene oder nicht verfügbare Ausgabe dieses Titels.
"Inspirational... This book fascinates because of the broad spectrum of testimonies" (Financial Times)
"Something more than the usual self-help guff. What Should I Do with My Life? is closer to the oral histories of Studs Terkel or This American Life than to Tony Robbins" (Time)
"The 'ultimate question' is a topic always in season, worthy of Bronson's skillful probing and careful anecdote selection. Brimming with stories of sacrifice, courage, commitment and, sometimes, failure, the book will support anyone pondering a major life choice or risk without force-feeding them pat solutions" (Publishers Weekly)
"A remarkable social document, raised to the level of literature by Bronson's own deep level of involvement, his candour and compassion-as a work of research, the book is wide-ranging and impressive" (Evening Standard)
"A superior self-help book... Very readable" (Guardian)
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This book does not do the usual self-help stuff. It doesn’t have lots of “fill in the blanks” exercises. It doesn’t condescend or promise the world. It simply gives you other people’s perspectives, other people’s experiences. By seeing what these other people have been through, by understanding what they felt, you get the chance to think about your own past experiences. Not because you are asked to, but because by reading through the book you naturally begin to ask yourself the questions the interviewed people ask.
What am I here for? What do I want to do? What is my life telling me? Have I missed some clues as to where I’m going? Am I already doing what I should be doing in life, but haven’t realised it?
This book shows there is no magic answer waiting round the corner, but also lets you know the answer may be within your grasp. Confused? Read it and you’ll see what I mean.
The fascinating book will not give you The Answer but will make you REALLY LOOK at The Question.
The bad news is that there doesn't really seem to be an escape from the doubt. One common thread running through all the stories is, that nobody seemed to unquestioningly accept wherever they were at right now as their final destination.
The book opens with the story of Za Rinpoche, who got a letter from the Dalai Lama when he was 17, explaining that he was the reincarnation of a who, along with his five brothers, had ruled a poor and remote region of Tibet six lifetimes ago. There you go: Your place in the scheme of all things, straight from the Dalai Lama. He studied for twelve years, and is now 32 and lives in the US. And even he is not free of doubt.
So what hope is there for the rest of us? Will we ever find this one spot meant for us, where everything makes sense?
The book contains story after story of people who have faced the question in widely different ways. From the New York investment banker who became a catfish farmer in the South to the spokesman for an Oil company who quit because of their unethical business methods, and went to the opposition - a government agency monitoring oil companies.
And the stories are presented very matter of factly, with few value judgements. Po does let his own opinions of peoples choices shine through, but he never condemns them. He shows a deep understanding of the circumstances that lead people to their decisions - even the bad decisions.
In this way, the book offers very little specific advice. You might say, that it offers no help for us to find out what we should do with our lives, but that would be wrong in my opinion. Reading the stories, shows us some of the situations that other people have faced, and how they've handled them. And there's real inspiration in that.
I was moved by many of the stories, and found myself cheering the people on, hoping for them to make the right choices. And this is the true magic of this book. Po Bronson went a lot further than just interviewing the people in the book - he entered their lives. As he puts it, he slept on their couches, went to parties and weddings, dined with their families, and in this way got close to them.
This openness is also apparent in the way he shares his own story, which is equally inspirational: How he walked away from a 300.000$ a year job offer, to pursue a highly uncertain carreer as a writer. Remember, this was before he'd had anything published.
This book is an easy, enjoyable read. The stories are all fairly short, and all of them are interesting. The idea for the book is wonderfully simple and beautifully realized. There is no doubt, that Po Bronson has a gift for this sort of project. Read it!
Po Bronson's book is structured as a series of vignettes, telling the stories of around 50 people and how they deal with a question we've all probably asked ourselves. It's readable because it goes from one set of adventures and challenges to another - and they happen to be true. One of the satisfying elements is how many answers - not to mention false starts and wrong turnings - there are. Even so, he consciously limited it to professionals from his age-group, the Gen-Xers, and baby boomers. 900 interviews have been boiled down to these ones, so expect a very entertaining cast of characters including a model who gave up the glamour, and a trust-fund kid who became a gang-busting LA cop.
From a very confident writer (you might be be too if a previous novel had been made into a Hollywood film!) with a wide experience in journalism (a regular column in Wired), Bronson knows how to pose questions and then sit back, recording the answers.
The author himself appears in various guises - as listener, friend, confidant, character taking part in some of the stories, and reveals in passages how his path has unfolded, from unhappy bond trader to full-time writer. It feels like he really lived the question himself and so is able to get under the skin of many of his subjects. He himself admits that his attitude to life changed quite a bit during the interviews, some of which spanned days.
He is conscious of an international audience, and adapted his introduction for the UK edition. A few Brits turn up in the pages, since he came over here three times searching for material, as well as some of those who went to Hong Kong searching for an alternative.
It's a good read. I found it inspired me both first thing in the morning and when I let it sink in just before going to sleep.
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