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What Should I Do with My Life?

I've just finished reading "What Should I Do with My Life?" by Po Bronson. I bought this book at the same time I bought "Urban Tribes" which I'm planning on reading next after finishing "Religion Explained". Po Bronson was quoted on the back of "Urban Tribes" and the title of the book intrigued me. I can't claim that I've thought about the question at any great length or focus. Which makes me wonder why I bought and read it at all?

I don't think I'm really struggling with the question, but then I might also be deluding myself. Because I haven't resolved that fundamental issue I didn't get as much out of the book as I had hoped. Saying that I had hope for someone means that I was looking to the book for something, but now looking back I have no idea what that was when I bought it.

It is a well written book. The people and stories that are covered are varied across age, race, religion, stage of life, married, children, etc. Some stories are fleshed out much better than others and in general those are the better ones to read. The shorter stories while offering a variation on the theme of a section, the details of the person behind the story are lacking and I found it much harder to empathize and draw meaning. I found the interweaving of his own journey enhanced the book since it gave a clear base from which you could see how he evaluated other people's stories.

I'd definitely recommend this book to anyone that has thought about the question or has a long term vision and isn't sure if the sacrifices or compromises they are making today will ever pay off. Not every story in the book is a success and I found that to be a good grounding otherwise the continual happy ending of all the other stories made it read too much like a fairy tale.

While it doesn't do the depth of the book justice, the summary of thoughts on page 391-392 capped the book well. These are some that spoke to me:

  • Work shouldn't just be fun. Work should be like life--sometimes fun, sometimes moving, and defined by meaningful events.

  • Don't mistake intensity of passion.

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

  • Nothing helps like knowing you're not alone. There's powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people.

  • Thing you work hardest for are the things you will most treasure.


On Po's behalf, I just wanted to thank you for your kind, elegantly written post. Also, I wanted to let you know that Po's put downloadable chapters of his book, and his new one, on his website www.pobronson.com which you can forward, post, etc. So please come check it out. (And since I'm here, Ethan's a friend of mine as well, so I hope you enjoy Urban Tribes, too!) Thanks again, Ashley Merryman