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on 24 September 2015
Fantastic resource - having spent a LONG time working on what I'd like to do for work I feel like I've heard it all. I'm at the point where I keep hearing the same advice. This book backs up the best advice I've heard that's taken me the furthest. For me, it's been coupled with support I've got from places like Careershifters and a career coach who has worked with John Williams and I feel like it's all coming together nicely. Recommend it for getting you into action on your career shift.
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on 24 December 2013
This book arrived at just the right time for me. For a while I have been asking myself 'what can I do to add another income stream and get more fun out of my work' and Screw Work Let's Play answered that question for me. The book is an easy read and gives practical steps about what we can do to start building a business and life you want right now based on what you already know. The best thing is that the author John Williams doesn't try to wow you with the usual 'rah rah' stuff he keeps it simple and shares stories that he has come across on his own journey. I've already started building an online coaching programme as a result of the skills that you will gain from reading using this book.
If you are considering adding another income source aside from your regular 9-5, Screw Work Let's Play is definitely a useful book to have in your toolbox to help you get there.
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on 24 August 2016
After a good and positive start about "doing what you love and getting paid for it", it quickly reverts to a "10 step plan" type solution - do what I tell you in this order (and nothing else) and "success" will follow. If only "real life" were that simple. The book promises much but actually delivers very little at the end of the day.

My biggest complaint is that in reality the author starts with the promise of "do what you love and get paid for it", and through his "10 step plan" he reverses the logic so that by the end of the book it has become "get paid for work you might love doing", which is most definitely not the same thing.

He emphasises at one point that you have to be realistic and that you may not be able to find work you truly "love", so you have to find something that you WILL get paid for regardless of whether it is your number one thing you love doing or not. And he also emphasises the trade off between how much you love the work and how well it pays.

His ultimate "plan" is to simply list all the jobs you are "good" at, research how many of those jobs there are and what they pay, and then draw up a list of which jobs you would prefer to do. Then go through those jobs trying to find real jobs that pay you to do that. And if you cannot find such a job, then tough luck you just have to go down your list and try the next job in turn until you do find something that exists and you can get a job doing that.

How this qualifies as "doing what you love" I don't know. Aren't all job searches just like this? What are you good at, what jobs need those skills, and which of those jobs would you prefer to do? Isn't this the same for everyone trying to find some kind of paid work?

If you want to be self-employed then his "solution" is to heavily market and promote yourself, and build a network of "support people" around you. Very easy to say, and very difficult to do for some people. Many introverts could find all of this networking with strangers very awkward if not impossible, but it is the only suggestion he has to make working for yourself succeed i.e. if you cannot network well with lots of other people to market yourself to them then forget being self employed.

There were some turns of phrase that made me wince when I read them:
- "life in perpetual beta" i.e. not finished, not complete, and not fully working, so why would you do that?
- "pimp your project" - really?
- "build an audience" - what? Are you a stand up comedian or someone doing a paid job?
- "run a campaign to get your first paid piece of work" - this could end up being more "work" than the work itself you want to do
- "write a killer email" - one email will solve all your problems and deliver paid work doing what you love? If everyone did that would everyone end up doing the work they "love", just by writing one email?

The second half of the book is just plain disappointing becoming full of these generic "try this and anything is possible" suggestions, and the emphasis is turned to simply how to find work, whether you love it or not.
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on 27 July 2017
This was a leaving present for a colleague and was well received.
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on 19 June 2017
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VINE VOICEon 11 September 2011
I almost didn't buy this book, but I'm glad I did.

Like so many life-improvement books, the premise is a blatantly obvious one. If you can combine your hobby (what you do in your play-time) and your work, then you are more likely to be happy. But of course, that's only the headline.

Any of us could quit our job today and start doing what we *really* want to do, but chances are that without looking more deeply into the subject we would be broke within a couple of months, our savings gone, our mortgage or rent in deep arrears. Of course, it is the fear of those outcomes that is the main reason why most of us never decouple from the secure but boring teat of a regular pay cheque.

Is it really true that if you love what you do, you will be happy? Well, look around, the world is replete with examples! We can see that it worked for Captain Kirk, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Whoopie Goldberg, Mother Theresa and many others, fictional and otherwise. Conversely we've all met Harold Steptoes (the fictional junk dealer who is locked into a job he hates, just to support his manipulative elderly father). People who are made unhappy by their jobs are, unfortunately, not hard to find. So, there does seem to be some truth to the basic premise of this book.

This book says that the real trick is thinking deeply in order to be able to pinpoint what your passions really are: Okay, you may love sports, but do you love the playing, the camaraderie, the equipment, the competitive element? - you need to know where the epicentre of your passion lies and work out from there.

The book gives you lots of help in analysing this area, tips and tricks to allow you to be brutally honest with yourself. Self-honesty is essential if you want to avoid making a very bad decision. Don't expect this first step to be a fast one, Mr Williams advises that you take the time to get this step right, because if you get it wrong, nothing good will follow on. Brutal and perhaps bruising self-honesty is the essential ingredient.

Once you have pinpointed your passion, the next thing is to look around at how you might get paid for applying your enthusiasm and energy. The book is brimful of ideas and useful tips in this area and also gives you some tools so that you can see how to get beyond the obvious applications for your enthusiasm and see ways of applying yourself that might not at first occur to you. Like Sherlock Holmes you may find yourself inventing a new profession for yourself rather than merely aspiring to change to an already existing one. As the book repeatedly illustrates, thanks to modern communications, Internet and technology it's easier now than it has ever been to innovate new kinds of products and services and the supporting professions that deliver them.

Then, the book gives you a lot of sound advice about how to make your switch from wage-slave to passion driven entrepreneur in a way that carries the lowest possible risk. It demolishes the things that you may believe hold you back as myths: For example "Nobody's ever going to pay me to play".

At every stage, the text contains lots of tools and advice. It quotes some detailed examples from people who have already done this kind of thing. They talk about what worked and what didn't work when they merged their play and their work. Finally, the text guides you through the rapids of getting going and staying focussed without losing the plot.

It may be that having read through this very useful book, you decide that there is simply no way that your particular interest area (whether it's watching daytime TV or doing Patagonian basket-weaving) could ever be translated into a job that could earn you money. The book makes clear that might be a possible outcome, however it also shows how some people have parleyed incredibly unlikely interests into fruitful careers so, whatever your starting point, I would advise that the book offers a journey worth taking.

In summary, yes, the premise of this book is a totally obvious one. However, the deep treatment of the subject, coupled with the clear and concise writing style, a text mostly devoid of phsyco-babble and the range of methods and tools it provides to help you through, make it a very worthwhile read.

If you are unhappy with your work life and want more, this is highly recommended.

Alan T
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on 24 April 2014
This is the first book I picked up when I decided to leave my job and I'm glad I read it for the useful insights.
However, at times it is a little preachy and the chapters are sectioned into 'secrets' which ultimately makes a valid literary contribution sound like a self-help book (yes, yes, to a degree it is, I know).
My other complaint is the mention of Wealth Dynamics. Obviously this guy bought into the scheme and wants to make his money from it, but in my humble opinion, it's little more than a glorified Ponzi scheme and best avoided. The very addition of it cheapens the context of the book because there's an underlying further sales edge.
In short, if you can see past the poor layout and chapter construction, it's a worthy read, but there are dozens of books on the market that do the same thing for the same price bracket.
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on 23 September 2011
Before going any further, if you decide to buy this book, please consider buying a new copy. It's not at all obvious throughout the book but right at the back there is a section that pledges to donate part of the proceeds for the book to the charity Warchild.

The basic premise behind the book is that everyone should be able to earn money from doing things they love. It sounds ideal but also completely impractical, cynics may say impossible. Indeed there are times when the book just feels a bit too relentlessly positive, and I'm still not convinced that this is a possibility for everybody. I feel that there are a limited number of case studies in the book and that this is perhaps reflective of a lack of really good examples - I would definitely have liked more and have been frustrated trying to find the additional information on the linked website.

However, there is a lot of practical advice in the book and a clear acknowledgement that no job or lifestyle is without some less interesting or fun parts, merely that if these are supporting something that fires a person's enthusiasm, they are just a necessary but bearable evil. In particular, Williams is very clear on the massive opportunities offered by the internet and I felt that this was the book's main strength. There was so much useful information on this it's definitely helped me to learn some new tools and given me some good ideas. I really feel it could do with being re-read several times and my top tip would be to read it with a pile of post-it tabs to hand as you'll probably want to refer back to some sections many times.

I can't say that I followed all of the suggestions and activities - to me that seemed to be the antithesis of playing! However, I have noticed a change in my outlook and perspective and have started to think of ways that some of the things I enjoy could be developed into something bigger that may lead to at least a sideline earner. My main problem is that, while Williams recommends starting out around your existing work, mine is so all-consuming that I have very little time or energy to "play" at the end of the day and am sure I won't be alone in this.
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on 22 October 2014
excellent product,very pleased
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on 12 September 2013
I've read a few books on career change in the last 12 months and this is by far my favourite. I wish I read this book first as it contains brilliant ideas imitated later by other authors. Williams is straight to the point, he does not promise you to get rich quickly, in fact, he is very upfront about success taking time and involving persistence and hard work. It's rare to hear such honest feedback. I recommend it without hesitation.
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