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What Should I Do With My Life? by [Bronson, Po]
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Length: 466 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Language: English

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Product Description

Po Bronson tackles the biggest, most threatening, most obvious question that anyone has to face, 'what should I do with my life?' It is a problem that is increasingly encountered not just by the young but by people who have half their lives or more behind them. The modern route to self-discovery is to trade what you have for a completely different way of life, to face the challenges and finally confront our real aims and desires. Bronson's book is a fascinating account of finding and following people who have uprooted their lives and fought with these questions in radical ways. From the investment banker who gave it all up to become a catfish farmer in Mississippi, to the chemical engineer from Walthamstow who decided to become a lawyer in his sixties; these stories of individual dilemma and dramatic - and sometimes unsuccessful - gambles are bound up with Bronson's account of his own search for a calling.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2373 KB
  • Print Length: 466 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New edition edition (28 February 2013)
  • Sold by: PRH UK
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BFTV08Q
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #233,557 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program) 3.6 out of 5 stars 378 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not for everyone - perfect for someone 27 February 2014
By S. Myles - Published on
Verified Purchase
I wasn’t going to write a review for this book, but I felt compelled after reading some of the negative reviews. This is not a self-help book. This book will not advise you to think positively and unlock the hidden purpose of your life. This book will not give you a power-system to live by, seven steps to success, or a series of daily habits. There is intentionally no guidance in this book, it’s just a bunch of stories (or as some suggest allegories) about other people who have struggled with this question. It really doesn’t even matter if the individual stories are factually accurate – SPOILER ALERT – because, the point is, in real life, some people figure it out, and some people don’t. Some people mess up their entire lives trying to answer the question, and other people find meaning down unexpected paths. The only answer is that you probably know what you want to do if you are honest with yourself, and only you can decide what you should and will do.

If you are fully realized in life, or you don’t believe people have the luxury of questioning “what should I do with my life,” then don’t read this book. It'll be a waste of your time. If you are looking for a literal answer to this question; unfortunately, this book will not meet your needs either. If you have ever wondered whether other people ask this question, and how they approach it, then stop reading the reviews and buy the book today.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lacks Direction, but Still Interesting 12 March 2014
By M.A. Cox - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Let's start off with this: Don't go in expecting to get an immediate answer to the question posed by the title. Bronson used that as a lure to find people to interview. While he does answer it in an indirect way throughout the book (making me exercise my highlighting function on my Kindle), his approach is unorthodox. Don't go in expecting self-help; go in expecting collection of short biographies.

In statistical terms, Bronson commits the dual sin of convenience sampling (e-mailing his friends and gathering people from his circles of journalism and finance) and self-reporting bias (some people approached him based on how badly they wanted to tell their story). He also demonstrates a willingness to involve himself with his subjects, which he grapples with as a moral hurdle a few times and which has a direct effect on some stories. It feels more like Bronson drags the story along at times: by asking the questions he does and expressing the opinions to his subjects, he acknowledges his own views on the topic rather than properly reflecting the views of others.

That all being said, it made the book interesting to read.

While the book could drag at times, there should be at least one story for everyone out there job hunting. If you can put aside the fact that many of these people never had to worry about money as much as they had to worry about what they would do in the course of a day, then you can find a lesson that Bronson attempts to extract from the circumstances. He's a capable and interesting writer, if not an objective reporter.
4.0 out of 5 stars The nudge that led me on a path to quit my own miserable yet cushy job 22 April 2013
By Farnoosh Brock - Published on
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A life with purpose will beckon all of us at some point to answer these questions.

Are we doing something worthwhile with life?

Is our work meaningful?

Are we wasting it away at a keyboard or in an office or in the air on business travel?

Is this what we imagined ourselves to be doing in not just our adult years but also the very best years of our lives, realizing that working full time takes up at least a third of our waking hours?

Then if we keep prodding, we may hear the imploring of the heart as it always asks the heavy questions: What is our true purpose? Is there even such a thing? Maybe I am asking too much.... maybe just having a job and my health is good enough ... but something inside is itching for more, for depth of meaning and a feeling of accomplishment of something we can call our own, a true labor of love and devotion.

With these thoughts swimming in my head at the time when I read the book in 2007, I came across a fabulous article by I have shared this article with numerous friends and colleagues, and soon I picked up "What should I Do with My Life?" by Po Bronson. I find it funny and sad at the massive number of people who are looking for answers to this question. The question seems to strike a chord with those from every walk of life, every background, every culture, and every corner of the world.

I instantly loved Po Bronson's writing style, ever so full of inspiration and awe. I started reading the book immediately but I am not sure why I read it so slowly. I think partly I wanted to digest every story. Po travels around the country for a long time, interviewing hundreds of ordinary people who have struggled to find the answers, people who have made brave, crazy, shocking, and dramatic changes in a life that seemed to be going just fine, perhaps too fine by some of our standards.

This is a remarkable book about the strength of spirit and the unpredictable conditions of the human heart - to learn that you are not happy with the dream job and the dream house, and that you took yourself to be someone else all these years is daunting enough, but to face it and to make brave outrageous decisions to move away from the shackles of daily routine and to pursue the passions deep inside your heart takes the kind of courage that we read about in novels and watch in movies.

Po Bronson found these traits in multitudes of ordinary people across the country, and he tells us about his discoveries in beautifully written tales. There are, we learn, as many paths to success as there are people dreaming up such paths.

Since reading this book, it took me a few years but I continued my search, then resigned from that miserable yet cushy corporate job, I started my own company and I did the unthinkable so for anyone who reads this and calls these case studies more fiction than fact, well, I gotta disagree. You want a different life? Get one! It's that simple and yet not easy but oh so possible! Thank you Po for showing me that even I could make the unthinkable change and break free of the chains of corporate to follow my heart.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living." 11 March 2014
By R. Smith - Published on
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I came across Po's book a few weeks ago, and I loved it. I am asking these questions in my own life, wondering what to do with the
last 6- 8 years before retiring. Started a second career writing children's books, and love it. But it's more hobby, than cuit... well, career right now.

To those who say he did not tell the whole story, for instance, in the surgeon who quit -- well that meeting happened , those doubts were expressed. Success once or twice in a literary field does not make a sure thing new career. If spending all the time, money , emotion and heartache to become a surgeon, then finding it wasn't going to be your future, you could not do it -- if that wasn't forthcoming or interesting enough for some ! I guess they have never been close to that experience, good on them.

Here's what I got out of this book:
A feeling t people , all sorts of people, successful, not successful , were asking this same question I was.
That many were taking , or avoiding the high risks involved with a change of career
That sometimes the risk is worth it, sometimes not-- you could find yourself in a worse spot... that's life!
For me it was amazingly interesting to see how some people were asking and handing the question for themselves
Really, if you are not happy or satisfied, if there is more you want to do , experience... how can you not ASK THE TITLE QUESTION - even if you don't ask it aloud.

For me, with family dependent on me, the economy shaky , the job market scarce, -- I will keep the day job , to fund the life and the dream (writing).

Loved this book, loved Po's sit down with me for coffee and let's talk of these exciting , but difficult things... life career, choices, dreams, chances and decisions. I liked this book, and feel it's time now, 12 years later, to revisit the question of a fulfilled life, this time with us baby-boomers as examples.

This book "What should I do with my life" is now available for a song here on Amazon. Under $7 including shipping -- best $$ ever spent. I found it far more honest, interesting and helpful than any pat chicken soup for books...and having mentioned it to friends, I bought two more copies to share out!
For those upset there aren't more answers or a better "ending" -- I was grateful for more questions, and a bit of direction, as well as a community of people also involved with this adventure. Okay, his book won't be for everyone, but make you own decision -- If you are looking for your "thing" the work, job, career , creation... that will make you come alive, Po's book may help you in asking the right questions, and not feeling so alone in the search.
His book contains the spirit of the quote by Nelson Mandela, I used for my subject line.
Thanks Po, great book, call or tweet, me if you want to start the baby-boomer edition. I am many of my friends are still asking this question , and we didn't start yesterday!
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What should I do with ..... Po Bronson? 23 June 2003
By sidney jacobson - Published on
Verified Purchase
Po Bronson is Touched by an Angel, Nightrider, the Ghosts of Christmas Eve, George Baillys Angel etc --- I know this because he tells us over an over again. PO likes PO.
This book is not a cook book on self realization - as many reviewers have said. So do not buy it if you are looking for that. If you are looking for peer commiseration - this is it.
It is a series of vingettes, only distracted by the telling of POs own defensiveness of career moves that never seem like he is being quite honest to himself. His career's were consistent with any 20 - 30 year old, self sabaotged with ego and the grass is greener. Ironically, he emphisises his many unethical behaviors to escape his paths. Interesting in this age of, Dot-com insider trading, Enron and Martha Stewart criticism. The rest of the PO story is a struggle with writing this book. Very evident in organization.
A re-read the book with a sharpie and highlighter. I highlighted the key take-aways from each story and retitled the chapter - I ran a sharpie through the PO story, except his vignette. What I now have is not a 350 page biography, but a 200 page focused story of peoples struggles, decisions, and frustrations with their own professional lives.
The book really could be very good, you should read a used or borrowed copy - it just suffers from ego, poor structure and too much Po.