A Review of Jeff Goins’ “The Art of Work”

Thoughts on key points in Jeff Goins’ book, “The Art of Work”

Some time ago, I picked up Jeff Goins’ book called “The Art of Work”.  Obviously, the title intrigued me and I wanted to know what Jeff meant. For me, Jeff’s book proved to be a treasure trove of insights for my own calling.

A calling? I thought this book is about writing or getting the right career. Is this some kind of invitation into a ministry or something? A calling is not the same thing as a job flipping burgers. Such jobs can help in getting to one’s calling, though.

If you thought this book is just for writers and artists, then you need to think again.  This book is clearly designed to help you in discovering your calling in life. What do I mean by “calling”?

In this case, I am talking about the job that you are called into doing.  Let’s face it. It is not an easy task to learn one’s true calling. For some, it is clearly obvious.  For many, the picture is quite murky.  In order to help readers, Jeff set up a website to go with his book. It’s called “The Art of Work“.

Before I share my personal perspectives on this wonderful book, here is the book’s description given on Amazon’s site.

Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose.

The path to your life’s work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life’s work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It’s about the task you were born to do.

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.

As you can see, there is plenty of insights to glean by reading Jeff Goins’ book.  You can get the print copy for $9.85. The digital version is sold for $9.99.  I bought the digital version and I don’t regret it. My review will mostly focus on three key points that I really appreciated. You may discover others.

Don’t worry, The Art of Work is easy to follow and you will appreciate the case studies that Jeff used to illustrate his points.  For me, I’d like to start with the first key.  In the first part of Jeff Goins’ book, the author makes the excellent point of “Listening to your life”.  What do I mean?

I was not born, with a knowledge of being a writer.  How did I come to know my calling? For one, I simply had to look at the various clues. Over the years, I’ve had plenty of compliments about my writing. Though I had the potentials, I was in need of a direction. That’s the first clue.

The second clue comes in the form of my passion.  Your passion is often a good indicator of what your calling may be. Do you know that I started writing in the computer tech field? I wrote a few computer related articles for an online computer magazine.  Though I was in a different field, the clues to my true calling were there.

If you read my two commentaries for that magazine, then you’d spot my passion for confronting and encouraging people. It would be some time before I thought to write in my current field.  As for my book, “You Are Not A Lesser Human“, it was not on the radar.

As a kid, I had a love for good storytelling. For me, audiobooks are the way to go. Though I can read print, audio is much better for me. It’s this love of good storytelling that fuels my interest in listening to certain YouTubers like Paul Soares Jr.  I have a purpose in mentioning Paul and you will shortly find out.

As I read Jeff’s book, I could see clearly the clues to my own calling. The clues were there; I just didn’t see it. The clues were in the people, who encouraged me to pursue writing. The clues are also in my joy of listening to good storytelling.  You could say the same thing about reading science fiction and fantasy. Of course, it helps that English was one of my best subjects in high school.

Jeff brings up another solid point in “The Art of Work”. It’s the value of having a mentor. What is a mentor? According to Jeff, a direct mentor is someone who teaches the ropes, for a specific job area. For instance, you may have a calling to start a restaurant. Trust me, you don’t want to go into this business and have no clue.

You could go to work for someone in the restaurant field and you can ask the person, to teach you. You’ll probably have to start on the bottom and serve tables. A good mentor will talk with you and help you in your endeavor.  He or she can tell you if any special classes are needed.

This type of mentor is not to be confused with a life mentor or a Christian mentor.  These mentors are generally great people to learn about the Christian walk and share your personal struggles. They can sometimes help with the above type of mentor.

As I read through this part of Jeff Goins’ book, I felt a minor pain of regrets. I did not have someone, who could teach me about being a writer.  I had to learn the hard way. If you get a mentor, then I’d recommend it. Just don’t blindly rush into such a relationship. I would definitely encourage you to pray and ask God, the Father about it.  Listen to what God is saying.

Jeff surprised me, when he tells of an indirect mentor.  An indirect mentor is someone, who did not know that they were mentors. How is this possible? For me, Paul Soares is such a person. In reality, I have never met Paul. I’ve only encountered Paul through Twitter and his YouTube channel.  Our main common ground is in content creation.

Though the guy creates entertaining YouTube videos and I am a writer; there are some common grounds. Paul doesn’t just entertain through role playing; he has also given some insights into the value of hard work and good storytelling. Paul also modeled certain behaviors that I liked and appreciated.

All the while, we never actually talked with each other. I could say the same thing about another YouTuber named BDoubleO or John.  Like Paul, John did more than provide some needed laughs. I learned a few things, too. I highly doubt that BDoubleO knows or cares about me.  Yet, I am appreciative of his positive influence.

You can get a much better explanation in Jeff’s “The Art of Work”. After I read this section, a greater sense of appreciation for such people came into my heart. By the way, role models are not limited to current day people. You could draw inspirations from the life of David and Hezekiah. You can find these men in the Bible.

Here is my final key point. Your calling is not a linear step-by-step plan. It’s also not a job ladder; rather it is a portfolio. Here is my understanding of Jeff’s point. It may have seemed random to start in the tech field. In fact, the last sentence seems random; however, it is quite deliberate.

It is because of the tech field and my interest in computer technology; I became an early adopter of the Internet. In those days, the Internet was a world of command lines and text interface. I started in ’93. In a few years, the Internet totally changed and graphics were all the rave. Web sites were growing in popularity.

The above is important information because it served as a backdrop to my calling as a writer and blogger. The Internet opened the door of possibilities and freedom. For one, I soon learn that my writings could be of value. It’s also where I got to learn more about Scripture. I’ve also had jobs in the real world that helped to shape my writings.

In the long run, I can say that there is nothing random about my path to being a writer. I can agree with Jeff that it helps to see your calling, as a portfolio.  I’d definitely recommend that you buy this book. It could well be worth it.

Barry Brindisi

Author of "You Are Not A Lesser Human".

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