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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 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 9 January 2011
I bought two books in this subject area, this one and "Making the big Leap". This is by far the better. Screw work lets play actually gives a lot of very helpful, practical tips. Its aimed at people who already have skills or passions and helps them to use and improve those skills step by step eventually ending up with a new self made career. The best part is it isn't a self help book, its a how too book. There is no confidence building rubbish, no hand holding or ego massaging. It simply shows new doors and ways to achieve your dream job. Filled with interesting examples and great little tips I found the whole book a great help.
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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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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 19 October 2010
Another get rich quick book written by another unknown author who doesn't seem to be rich.
Many of the real-life examples that were given weren't very inspiring. They seemed to be of people who were barely scratching a living.
The bits of the book that were helpful all seemed to be quotes from other people.

The one truly original thing that was in the book was the chapter on wealth dynamics. It seemed very odd and there doesn't seem to any evidence or research to back it up.
Incredibly the test costs $100!

I think that books on starting a business, being a consultant or on marketing would be much more useful.
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on 23 September 2010
Having read many books on the same subject,I was doubtful about the chances of the author bringing anything new to the table.However,the checklist of 21 myths is very helpful as it provides a psychological and pragmatic structure to his ideas.He writes with both conviction and enthusiasm and obviously walks his talk.The resources on his website add to the tools suggested,although paying $100 for a Wealth test as recommended by him,seems overpriced.
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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 14 April 2011
I found the book inspiring and encouraging. I have started out on my own play project. Picking and choosing the ideas from the book which fit best for me. I'm on my second or third reading of some chapters as there is so much to take in. Not just a re-hash of old ideas, lots of new stuff and very well presented.
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on 7 December 2012
I think this book has turned my life upside down. I read it from cover to cover. John talks in a down to Earth manner and is really inspiring. I have started to make plans and look at how I can incorporate the play attidude into my working life. I can no longer settle down into a mundane 9 to 5 job, enven though I currently am working regular hours for a regular organisation, with all the regular benefits. I am craving more, so planning my escape! I would recomend this book to anyone faced with change, retirement, just starting out or just the plain bored.
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