Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Finding your calling

One of the side-effects of the two years in Adelaide as I planned would be to understand myself better and find my calling.

The HBS Working Knowledge reviews a new book called "Nobodies to Somebodies: How 100 Great Careers Got Their Start" by Peter Han.

In this book Han examines the careers of one hundred achievers from business, government, science, the literary world, the nonprofit sector, and the arts.

Nobodies to Somebodies is written as a narrative and is organized into fourteen lessons within three sections. The first section, "Basics: Finding One's Calling," provides some useful insight from these high achievers on self-assessment and describes the various approaches they used to decide which way to go.

The second section, "Keys: Chasing the Dream," describes tactical career moves and how the achievers dealt with unexpected surprises that might have diverted their paths.

The third section, "End Game: Using A Little Magic," discusses mentoring, work-life balance, and the importance of drive and passion.

Another book which I read called "What Should I do with my life?" by Po Bronson was a fantastic book.

Let Po tell us about his book:

You can make decisions to pad your wallet. You can make decisions to maintain proper appearances. You can make decisions because they're safe or predictable. You can make decisions because it'll keep your parents off your back. You can make decisions simply to delay making harder decisions. I began this book because I was drawn, artistically, to those who've made decisions to serve none of those ends. I was interested in people who resisted those pressures and made a decision simply because it was good, or right, or true to their nature - and were willing to be challenged by the consequences.

As I wrote in the introduction, "Nothing seemed more brave to me than facing up to one's own identity, and filtering out the chatter that tells us to be someone we're not."

I found that it's not what you do that defines you nearly as much as what you overcame to get there that shapes you. This is a journey of infinite variety that we all share.

My hope is that by reading these people's stories, you will find yourself contemplating the decisions you've made in your life.

These are stories of maturation; of gaining understanding through being forced to look at life a different way. In the end, having the benefit of perspective contributed to their satisfaction as much as the new lifestyle.

You can also check out the NPR piece or a chapter excerpt.

This book is wonderful. It made me look at life with a different view. One of the differences that I have found with this book and "Nobodies to Somebodies" is that Nobodies....starts with the assumption of what success is and Po just started a journey to find out how people made brave decisions and then the story of the book followed.

PO is right. He does not provide startegies or anything else in the book but a good narrative set of stories. Peter Han in 'Nobodies...' decides what is success and then finds the people and the carriers to decide what is the strategy.

I found Po's book highly engaging. If you can read his book. And if anybody does read "Nobodies to Somebodies" do let me know what you think about it.


Blogger Annie said...

I picked up Po's book in a small bookstore in Edmonds, WA last year while visiting my daughter. I am in transition from wife, mother and ministry partner to my new calling, which is being defined as I write. It fascinated me the way so many of the stories in Po's book parallel things I am experiencing in my life right now.
my blog:

12 May, 2005 04:51  
Blogger soum said...

i jus saw the blog an im so taken by whats in it. im a student of management in b'lore, 18 yrs of age and i think tat it is a brilliant piece and i will try lookin up the bk very soon.
thank u so much, without knowing how... uve made my day!

12 May, 2005 16:38  
Blogger fang said...


I read Po's book as well back in 2003. It did prove to be one of the push factors when I left my auditing job to take some time off 1 year later.

Hah, fast forward to 1 year now in 2005, and I am still having my time off. But it's good for the soul, truly.

13 May, 2005 11:30  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

haha you're indian :) The fact is that international students degrade the tertiary education system. That's why it's in the dire state it is now.

14 May, 2005 14:17  
Blogger Suhit Anantula said...

Dear Annie:

I am reading your weblog. Its great!I will follow your blog!


Thanks. But I don't get can you be 18 yrs and a student of management...I guess you must be doing your Bachelors in Business or something...

Dear Fang:

I was travelling in the bus today and two young guys were talking.

One of them asked this :

Can you be happy and not have peace?

I think we just need to follow our intuition and see what comes.

Hey Anonymous:

So What is this about International students and the education system.

Strangely I believe that the system is more powerful than some "students". However, I would like to hear more about your thoughts and possibly our name!

14 May, 2005 14:28  
Anonymous GStar said...

Hi Suhit,

I chanced upon your blog while I was about to write another entry to mine. (It appeared on one of the links at the lower righthand side of the page.) I've been weighing the pros and cons of taking my MBA in Australia and stumbling upon your blog was truly serendipity.

Anyway, I will try to get my hands on the books that you've mentioned and will give you my thoughts immediately afterwards.

16 May, 2005 01:21  
Anonymous Stu Takashi said...

Hi - I've just finished reading Peter Han's book ("Nobodies to Somebodies"), and I thought it was fantastic. It has an amazing number of stories from the different leaders he interviewed. Personally, I liked the fact that he talked to well known, established "successes", as opposed to the anonymous characters in Po Bronson's book. The latter was an entertaining read, but "Nobodies to Somebodies" left me with more real information about structuring my own career.

23 May, 2005 13:55  

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