What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question

What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question[Read] ➳ What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question Author Po Bronson – Jobs-in-kingston.co.uk In What Should I Do with My Life? Po Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson In What Should I Do Kindle Ï I Do with My Life? Po Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson What Should eBook ↠ writes of remarkable individuals—from young to old, from those just starting out to those in a second career—who have overcome fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives and, in doing so, Should I Do eBook ´ have been transformed by the experience What Should I Do with My Life? struck a powerful, resonant chord on publication, causing a multitude of people to rethink their vocations and priorities and start on the path to finding their true place in the world For this edition, Bronson has added nine new profiles, to further reflect the range and diversity of those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voiceFrom the Trade Paperback edition. Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life? speaks to the almost universal dream of finding one's true, life-affirming passion. An inspirational book that has the power to change lives- and happens to have a really bad title. Make no mistake- this is not a self help book, in the conventional sense.

This book does not offer 12 steps for finding your one true way. It doesn't purport to have empirical answers to all of the existential dilemmas in your life. You won't find any easy-bake recipes guaranteeing self-actualization or happiness- Po Bronson pulls no punches and makes no pretense in that regard.

Instead, this is a collection of vignettes about average normal people from all sorts of walks of life in search of a happier, more meaningful existence. The tough-love moral of all of the stories in this book is that the road to a passion-filled life is not clearly defined, and more often than not it isn't a road at all - more like a faintly defined path obscured on all sides by tall weeds.

Since the author does not purport to answer the question What Should I Do With My Life? definitively, he does the next best thing - he offers up dozens of stories about how other people came to answer this question for themselves, in the hope that other peoples experiences might be instructive to the rest of us.

This is an incredibly honest, unvarnished, empathetic book, highly recommended for anyone that has a nagging suspicion that there might be something more meaningful to life than the endless pursuit of those perennial touchstones of the American Dream- class, status, and prestige, along with the shiny material baubles (big houses, German cars, trophy spouses, insert your aspirational obscur objet du désir here) that accompany them. Or, said another way. in the lyrics of 70's honky-tonk musician Tom T Hall: faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money (Couldn't have said it better myself).

The first time I came across this book I made the age-old mistake of judging it by it's cover- at first glance the title sounded
shallow, petulant, whiny even. At the time I happened to be a reliable authority on pretty much everything there was to know about everything. One of the recurring ironies of my life is that the older I get, the more I realize I don't know. Some years later I found myself buying my own copy. It didn't take me very long to realize that the Author doesn't have any magic beans for sale.

About 1/2 way through this book I realized it actually has the perfect title. In fact I can't imagine calling it anything else. What Should I Do With My Life? succinctly sums up the essence of what this book is all about - The frustrating, hair-raising fact of the matter is that there is no definitive right answer to the question
This book provides a noble public service- it's single raison d'etre is to help people of all ages and from all sorts of life experiences come closer to answering that most universal question on their own terms, using the best possible method- sharing the stories of others who have asked the same question, listened carefully for their own answers, and found the courage to take the leap of faith that so very often is mandatory on the faint and weedy path towards a happier life. So what kind of peyote are you guys smoking? This book escaped the infamous 1-star rating simply by virtue of Bronson's use of real life stories that helped me escape from his own incredibly annoying narration. Was it the truisms he loved to repeat? The lack of helpful guidance? (Be yourself). His incessant need to come off like a soft-spoken preacher who secretly wishes you'll all wind up homeless on the streets of Detroit begging for his next edition? Yuck. Only read a couple chapters of this book but it was enough to make me want to put it down and stop reading (which I rarely do). What really blew me away was the extent to which his narrative and commentary overrides the stories he claims to be presenting.

In Chapter two, he tells a story of a woman who chooses to remain unemployed in the hopes of holding out for her dream career. He discusses his frustration with this conversation, pointing out his male need to fix things and the female need to listen (I'm paraphrasing), which was a huge turnoff (sex stereotypes, much?). Then, he proceeds to explain how he thinks the woman is making a mistake by not accepting a job offered to her, and how (according to his pseudo-psychological assessment) the reason she's not taking it is because it would involve delving into the trauma of the past.

What the f***? Is Po a psychologist? No. Is he a sociologist? No. He has a BA in economics and a MFA in Creative Writing (not that you can tell).

Sorry, Po. Let the subjects speak for themselves. We'll learn much more from them than we will from your wanna-be analyses. Yuck. Real People. Real Stories.
Ordinary People, extraordinary stories.
People just like you and me.

Nothing helps like knowing you're not alone.

A little of what the stories in this book will remind you:

A calling is not something you know, it is something you grow into through trials and mistakes.

It won't be easy, it wont be quick. Finding what we believe in and what we can do about it is one of life's great dramas. It can be an endless process of discovery, one to be appreciated and respected for its difficulty. Don't cheat. Treat this as the one true life you get.

Individuals thrive if they focus on the question of who they really are, and from that find work they truly love, and in so doing unleash a productive and creative power they never imagined.

Usually, all we get in a glimmer. A story we read or someone we briefly met. A curiosity. A meek voice inside, whispering, It's up to us to hammer out the rest. The rewards of perusing it are only for those who are willing to listen attentively, only those who really care. It's not for everyone.

You don't find your purpose above the neck, you find it below the neck, when you're transformed by what you've witnessed.

Seek, adjust. Seek, learn.

Look backward as much as forward, inward as much as outward.

Bring what you do in alignment with who you are.

Attack your fears rather than shy away from them.

If we are the victim of an injustice, it is up to us to find a meaningful way to channel our anger. If we suffer a terrible crisis, only we can transform this suffering into a launching pad for a new life. These are turning points from which we get to construct our own story, if we choose to do so.

Freedom is the confidence that you can live within the means of something you're passionate about.

Create an environment where truth is invited into your life.

If you develop character, the odds are pretty good you can succeed. Success is defined as when you're no longer held back by your heart, and your character blossoms, and the gifts you have to offer the world are apparent.

Don't cling to a single scenario, allow yourself many paths to the same destination.

If you want to change the world, be open to letting the world change you.

You can get good at what you need to to serve what you believe in.

Business is a tool to support what you believe in.

Keep in mind even what you can't define.

It is never too late to start over.



This was very disappointing overall. This should have been interesting, given the premise and how extensively the author sought out people with interesting stories about their work lives (he set up a website and heavily marketed it, and even became sort of a job counselor and marriage counselor and life counselor to all kinds of people in the process of meeting these people and compiling these stories--many of the people he interviewed initially got in touch with him to seek his guidance and counseling, apparently, and as you'll see if you read this, he offers lots of counseling to almost everyone he interviews. That was probably the most annoying aspect of this book: all of the author's silly interjections of his own thoughts and his own confusion about what life is all about, etc., not to mention the quoted dialogues that he had with these subjects (or clients, as the case sometimes was). The author doesn't seem to know how tell a life story without interjecting his own life story into it, which I found very annoying.

There are 57 miniature biographies in here, and although a few of them were interesting all the way through, most started out promising and then quickly sank into a morass of the author's feelings about the subject and other kinds of digressions from the story. In most of these stories, it was a chore trying to sift through all the verbiage to extract the interesting part: the subject's own story (which very often *was* an interesting story and could have been very compelling reading if told by a better biographer).

I've never read anything else by this guy (unless I've read magazine articles by him, which is very likely, I guess), but he doesn't seem like a good writer at all. At least not a good biographer. Maybe he's a good fiction writer--I'll certainly check out one of his novels now out of curiosity. He's also apparently a very savvy marketer and book trade expert. I don't know if that has anything to do with the huge commercial success of this book, and all the time it spent on various bestseller lists, etc., but that points out something I like about goodreads--the rating of this book on goodreads is in the low 3-star range if I'm remembering correctly. Hardly a blockbuster among goodreads readers.

Here are the stories that I did like:

--The lottery winner (about a Yale graduate who became a teacher in an entrepreneurial inner-city school, and the best story in the book as far as I was concerned)
--A billion is chump change (the author's own story of how he quit bond sales to become a writer)
--A fragile blow (about a guy who quits a Ph.D. program in English while paralyzed with grief over his brother's suicide and becomes a cook)
--A college man
--Getting oily, then even
--The magical thing
--The lockbox fantasy
--My new start-up
--The mechanic gives 100 percent
--Contribution X

in my current state of unemployment - i thought this book would offer some fresh perspectives. it revealed that most people are as clueless as i am about what to devote one's life to. however, it does offer interesting stories and several truths
one of which is that a winding path towards one's ultimate goal is not necessarily a bad thing. po bronson unravels his own path to becoming a writer in with the anecdotal chapters. most of the stories were based out of the bay area (where bronson lives). overall i recommend, but not strongly. I remember the first time I saw a book titled What Should I Do With My Life? in a store and thought to myself, What kind of ass thinks he can answer that question in a book? Based on that cover-based judgment, I left it on the shelf, and didn't give it another thought until, months later, a friend recommended it to me.

I love this book because it is an honest book. Po Bronson interviews hundreds of people and tells you a handful of compelling stories and does not try to fit it all into a Single Unified Theory of Life. He points out the patterns that emerged but doesn't force anecdotes to become life lessons. On a topic where so many authors want to come up with a system to explain it all, Bronson simply gathers evidence and presents it. Because of that, the book contains real truth.

I recently re-read the book in February but first read it a few years ago. In that time I've probably loaned or given a copy of this book to a dozen people. I can't say that about any other book I've read. So
read it, already. The good thing about this book is its sustained focus on an extremely important topic. The bad thing about this book is nearly everything else. Po Bronson writes in a clunky, Journalism 101 style, with wooden introductions of his subjects fumbled into the text. He digresses often, judges his subjects too harshly for my tastes, and generally spends more time holding forth on his own ideas than he does relaying the opinions and experiences of the people he interviews. Once or twice, while I read this book, I actually said out loud: Shut the fuck up, Po! Let me hear what your subject has to say. The few chapters in which he really lets his subject speak, or really focuses on their experiences, occur when he seems awed by the interviewee. Which brings up another qualm I had: Po comes across as a closet yuppie, most often impressed by people who make obscene amounts of money or approach work with an MBA mindset. It's ironic because our societies worship-the-dollar mentality and relentless prestige-focuses careerism seem to be two of the factors contributing most to our general dissatisfaction with life. Even so, if you dedicate 300 pages to an meaningful topic, and include accounts from dozens of people (though a great many of those accounts felt frustratingly abbreviated), you can't help but turn up the occasional rewarding nugget. There are a few of those in this book, to be sure, but I don't really think it's worth the digging. I read this book at a very pivotal time in my life - a time when I've felt the desire to have this question answered more than any other time. The book doesn't attempt to answer the question, but it was inspiring and uplifting, and told the stories of people who have been in similar situations as I am (and much much different situations) and how they made changes, and what their outcomes were. Not all the stories were happy, or relatable, but they were all real. And they made me realize that doing something is better than doing nothing. Nothing is safe, and nothing is complacent, and nothing gets you nowhere. If you do something, you might fail, but then you can just something again. And again. And eventually maybe you'll get somewhere.
I learned some valuable lessons about making changes in your life, about how it's never too late to change your big picture, a goal is never too far out of reach if you really want it, and that change rarely happens overnight. I bookmarked probably 20 different pages of quotes from people across the globe that I connected to, and I have a feeling I'm going to be going back to this book more than once. Despite the enticing title - people tend to search for clues about what to do with their life - this book did put me off. No depth, simply a series of snapshot of people's life written rather dryly and bluntly.

It is like watching Oprah without the ooohh, aaah
:-)

What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People
    What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People path to finding their true place in the world For this edition, Bronson has added nine new profiles, to further reflect the range and diversity of those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voiceFrom the Trade Paperback edition. Po Bronson's What Should I Do With My Life? speaks to the almost universal dream of finding one's true, life-affirming passion. An inspirational book that has the power to change lives- and happens to have a really bad title. Make no mistake- this is not a self help book, in the conventional sense.

    This book does not offer 12 steps for finding your one true way. It doesn't purport to have empirical answers to all of the existential dilemmas in your life. You won't find any easy-bake recipes guaranteeing self-actualization or happiness- Po Bronson pulls no punches and makes no pretense in that regard.

    Instead, this is a collection of vignettes about average normal people from all sorts of walks of life in search of a happier, more meaningful existence. The tough-love moral of all of the stories in this book is that the road to a passion-filled life is not clearly defined, and more often than not it isn't a road at all - more like a faintly defined path obscured on all sides by tall weeds.

    Since the author does not purport to answer the question What Should I Do With My Life? definitively, he does the next best thing - he offers up dozens of stories about how other people came to answer this question for themselves, in the hope that other peoples experiences might be instructive to the rest of us.

    This is an incredibly honest, unvarnished, empathetic book, highly recommended for anyone that has a nagging suspicion that there might be something more meaningful to life than the endless pursuit of those perennial touchstones of the American Dream- class, status, and prestige, along with the shiny material baubles (big houses, German cars, trophy spouses, insert your aspirational obscur objet du désir here) that accompany them. Or, said another way. in the lyrics of 70's honky-tonk musician Tom T Hall: faster horses, younger women, older whiskey, and more money (Couldn't have said it better myself).

    The first time I came across this book I made the age-old mistake of judging it by it's cover- at first glance the title sounded
    shallow, petulant, whiny even. At the time I happened to be a reliable authority on pretty much everything there was to know about everything. One of the recurring ironies of my life is that the older I get, the more I realize I don't know. Some years later I found myself buying my own copy. It didn't take me very long to realize that the Author doesn't have any magic beans for sale.

    About 1/2 way through this book I realized it actually has the perfect title. In fact I can't imagine calling it anything else. What Should I Do With My Life? succinctly sums up the essence of what this book is all about - The frustrating, hair-raising fact of the matter is that there is no definitive right answer to the question
    This book provides a noble public service- it's single raison d'etre is to help people of all ages and from all sorts of life experiences come closer to answering that most universal question on their own terms, using the best possible method- sharing the stories of others who have asked the same question, listened carefully for their own answers, and found the courage to take the leap of faith that so very often is mandatory on the faint and weedy path towards a happier life. So what kind of peyote are you guys smoking? This book escaped the infamous 1-star rating simply by virtue of Bronson's use of real life stories that helped me escape from his own incredibly annoying narration. Was it the truisms he loved to repeat? The lack of helpful guidance? (Be yourself). His incessant need to come off like a soft-spoken preacher who secretly wishes you'll all wind up homeless on the streets of Detroit begging for his next edition? Yuck. Only read a couple chapters of this book but it was enough to make me want to put it down and stop reading (which I rarely do). What really blew me away was the extent to which his narrative and commentary overrides the stories he claims to be presenting.

    In Chapter two, he tells a story of a woman who chooses to remain unemployed in the hopes of holding out for her dream career. He discusses his frustration with this conversation, pointing out his male need to fix things and the female need to listen (I'm paraphrasing), which was a huge turnoff (sex stereotypes, much?). Then, he proceeds to explain how he thinks the woman is making a mistake by not accepting a job offered to her, and how (according to his pseudo-psychological assessment) the reason she's not taking it is because it would involve delving into the trauma of the past.

    What the f***? Is Po a psychologist? No. Is he a sociologist? No. He has a BA in economics and a MFA in Creative Writing (not that you can tell).

    Sorry, Po. Let the subjects speak for themselves. We'll learn much more from them than we will from your wanna-be analyses. Yuck. Real People. Real Stories.
    Ordinary People, extraordinary stories.
    People just like you and me.

    Nothing helps like knowing you're not alone.

    A little of what the stories in this book will remind you:

    A calling is not something you know, it is something you grow into through trials and mistakes.

    It won't be easy, it wont be quick. Finding what we believe in and what we can do about it is one of life's great dramas. It can be an endless process of discovery, one to be appreciated and respected for its difficulty. Don't cheat. Treat this as the one true life you get.

    Individuals thrive if they focus on the question of who they really are, and from that find work they truly love, and in so doing unleash a productive and creative power they never imagined.

    Usually, all we get in a glimmer. A story we read or someone we briefly met. A curiosity. A meek voice inside, whispering, It's up to us to hammer out the rest. The rewards of perusing it are only for those who are willing to listen attentively, only those who really care. It's not for everyone.

    You don't find your purpose above the neck, you find it below the neck, when you're transformed by what you've witnessed.

    Seek, adjust. Seek, learn.

    Look backward as much as forward, inward as much as outward.

    Bring what you do in alignment with who you are.

    Attack your fears rather than shy away from them.

    If we are the victim of an injustice, it is up to us to find a meaningful way to channel our anger. If we suffer a terrible crisis, only we can transform this suffering into a launching pad for a new life. These are turning points from which we get to construct our own story, if we choose to do so.

    Freedom is the confidence that you can live within the means of something you're passionate about.

    Create an environment where truth is invited into your life.

    If you develop character, the odds are pretty good you can succeed. Success is defined as when you're no longer held back by your heart, and your character blossoms, and the gifts you have to offer the world are apparent.

    Don't cling to a single scenario, allow yourself many paths to the same destination.

    If you want to change the world, be open to letting the world change you.

    You can get good at what you need to to serve what you believe in.

    Business is a tool to support what you believe in.

    Keep in mind even what you can't define.

    It is never too late to start over.



    This was very disappointing overall. This should have been interesting, given the premise and how extensively the author sought out people with interesting stories about their work lives (he set up a website and heavily marketed it, and even became sort of a job counselor and marriage counselor and life counselor to all kinds of people in the process of meeting these people and compiling these stories--many of the people he interviewed initially got in touch with him to seek his guidance and counseling, apparently, and as you'll see if you read this, he offers lots of counseling to almost everyone he interviews. That was probably the most annoying aspect of this book: all of the author's silly interjections of his own thoughts and his own confusion about what life is all about, etc., not to mention the quoted dialogues that he had with these subjects (or clients, as the case sometimes was). The author doesn't seem to know how tell a life story without interjecting his own life story into it, which I found very annoying.

    There are 57 miniature biographies in here, and although a few of them were interesting all the way through, most started out promising and then quickly sank into a morass of the author's feelings about the subject and other kinds of digressions from the story. In most of these stories, it was a chore trying to sift through all the verbiage to extract the interesting part: the subject's own story (which very often *was* an interesting story and could have been very compelling reading if told by a better biographer).

    I've never read anything else by this guy (unless I've read magazine articles by him, which is very likely, I guess), but he doesn't seem like a good writer at all. At least not a good biographer. Maybe he's a good fiction writer--I'll certainly check out one of his novels now out of curiosity. He's also apparently a very savvy marketer and book trade expert. I don't know if that has anything to do with the huge commercial success of this book, and all the time it spent on various bestseller lists, etc., but that points out something I like about goodreads--the rating of this book on goodreads is in the low 3-star range if I'm remembering correctly. Hardly a blockbuster among goodreads readers.

    Here are the stories that I did like:

    --The lottery winner (about a Yale graduate who became a teacher in an entrepreneurial inner-city school, and the best story in the book as far as I was concerned)
    --A billion is chump change (the author's own story of how he quit bond sales to become a writer)
    --A fragile blow (about a guy who quits a Ph.D. program in English while paralyzed with grief over his brother's suicide and becomes a cook)
    --A college man
    --Getting oily, then even
    --The magical thing
    --The lockbox fantasy
    --My new start-up
    --The mechanic gives 100 percent
    --Contribution X

    in my current state of unemployment - i thought this book would offer some fresh perspectives. it revealed that most people are as clueless as i am about what to devote one's life to. however, it does offer interesting stories and several truths
    one of which is that a winding path towards one's ultimate goal is not necessarily a bad thing. po bronson unravels his own path to becoming a writer in with the anecdotal chapters. most of the stories were based out of the bay area (where bronson lives). overall i recommend, but not strongly. I remember the first time I saw a book titled What Should I Do With My Life? in a store and thought to myself, What kind of ass thinks he can answer that question in a book? Based on that cover-based judgment, I left it on the shelf, and didn't give it another thought until, months later, a friend recommended it to me.

    I love this book because it is an honest book. Po Bronson interviews hundreds of people and tells you a handful of compelling stories and does not try to fit it all into a Single Unified Theory of Life. He points out the patterns that emerged but doesn't force anecdotes to become life lessons. On a topic where so many authors want to come up with a system to explain it all, Bronson simply gathers evidence and presents it. Because of that, the book contains real truth.

    I recently re-read the book in February but first read it a few years ago. In that time I've probably loaned or given a copy of this book to a dozen people. I can't say that about any other book I've read. So
    read it, already. The good thing about this book is its sustained focus on an extremely important topic. The bad thing about this book is nearly everything else. Po Bronson writes in a clunky, Journalism 101 style, with wooden introductions of his subjects fumbled into the text. He digresses often, judges his subjects too harshly for my tastes, and generally spends more time holding forth on his own ideas than he does relaying the opinions and experiences of the people he interviews. Once or twice, while I read this book, I actually said out loud: Shut the fuck up, Po! Let me hear what your subject has to say. The few chapters in which he really lets his subject speak, or really focuses on their experiences, occur when he seems awed by the interviewee. Which brings up another qualm I had: Po comes across as a closet yuppie, most often impressed by people who make obscene amounts of money or approach work with an MBA mindset. It's ironic because our societies worship-the-dollar mentality and relentless prestige-focuses careerism seem to be two of the factors contributing most to our general dissatisfaction with life. Even so, if you dedicate 300 pages to an meaningful topic, and include accounts from dozens of people (though a great many of those accounts felt frustratingly abbreviated), you can't help but turn up the occasional rewarding nugget. There are a few of those in this book, to be sure, but I don't really think it's worth the digging. I read this book at a very pivotal time in my life - a time when I've felt the desire to have this question answered more than any other time. The book doesn't attempt to answer the question, but it was inspiring and uplifting, and told the stories of people who have been in similar situations as I am (and much much different situations) and how they made changes, and what their outcomes were. Not all the stories were happy, or relatable, but they were all real. And they made me realize that doing something is better than doing nothing. Nothing is safe, and nothing is complacent, and nothing gets you nowhere. If you do something, you might fail, but then you can just something again. And again. And eventually maybe you'll get somewhere.
    I learned some valuable lessons about making changes in your life, about how it's never too late to change your big picture, a goal is never too far out of reach if you really want it, and that change rarely happens overnight. I bookmarked probably 20 different pages of quotes from people across the globe that I connected to, and I have a feeling I'm going to be going back to this book more than once. Despite the enticing title - people tend to search for clues about what to do with their life - this book did put me off. No depth, simply a series of snapshot of people's life written rather dryly and bluntly.

    It is like watching Oprah without the ooohh, aaah
    :-) "/>
  • Mass Market Paperback
  • 436 pages
  • What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question
  • Po Bronson
  • English
  • 13 November 2019
  • 9780345485922