• Rule #1: Don’t follow your passion
o Career passions are rare
o Passion takes time
o Passion is a side-effect of mastery
• Rule #2: Be so good so they can’t ignore you (Or, the importance of skill)
o Adopt a craftsman mindset
o Accumulate your career capital
o Have deliberate practice
• Rule #3: Turn down a promotion (Or, the importance of control)
o Control: the need to invest your career capital
o First control trap: it’s dangerous to try to gain more control without enough capital to back it up.
o Second control trap: when you have the capital to back up a bid for more control, you will face resistance from your employer.
How to know for sure you really have the capital: resort to the law of financial viability – Do what people are willing to pay for.
• Rule #4: Think small, act big (Or, the importance of mission)
o The ultimate goal: mission
o Where to find mission: adjacent possible – the region just beyond the current cutting edge.
o Small steps that generate concrete feedback – little bets – and use this feedback to help figure out what to try next
o The law of remarkability
It must literally compel people to remark about it
It must be launched in a venue conducive to such remarking
• Three levels of in exploring mission
o Bottom level: background research
o Middle level: exploratory projects
It’s a project small enough to be completed in less than a month.
If forces you to create new value (e.g. master a new skill and produce new results that didn’t exist before)
It produces a concrete results that you can use to gather concrete feedback
o Top level: the tentative research mission
• Traits that define great work (old version, non-exhaustive)
• Self-Determination Theory of Career
o Autonomy: the feeling that you have control over your day, and that your actions are important
o Competence: the feeling that you are good at what you do
o Relatedness: the feeling of connection to other people
• The career capital theory of great work
o The traits that define great work are rare and valuable
o Supply and demand says that if you want these traits, you need rare and valuable skills to offer in return. Think of these rare and valuable skills you can offer as your career capital.
o The craftsman mindset, with its relentless focus on becoming ‘so good they can’t ignore you’, is a strategy well suited for acquiring career capital.
• Three disqualifiers for applying the craftsman mindset
o The job presents few opportunities to distinguish yourself by developing relevant skills that are rare and valuable.
o The job focuses on something you think is useless or perhaps even actively bad for the world.
o The job forces you to work with people you really dislike.
• The five habits of a craftsman
o Step 1: Decide what capital market you’re in
Winner-take-all (e.g. playwright)
Auction (e.g. entrepreneurship)
o Step 2: Identify your capital type (especially in an auction market, open gates are important)
o Step 3: Define ‘good’
Deliberate practice requires good goals
o Step 4: Stretch and destroy
Deliberate practice is often the opposite of enjoyable.
o Step 5: Be patient