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Book Review: The Art of Work

by Lisa Manning on March 23, 2015


About the Author:  Jeff Goins is a full-time writer who lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, son, and border collie. He has authored three other books: The In-Between, Wrecked, and You Are a Writer. His website, Goinswriter.com, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world. He humbly considers himself the world’s foremost expert on guacamole.

What the Book Is About: “The Art of Work is about discovering your true calling, that one thing you were born to do.  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.”

Why Did I Read The Book?  Last year, I became a part of the author’s private Facebook group to inspire writers.  Within the group, he asked who wanted to be a part of launching this book.  In exchange for the book, we would be asked to give Jeff feedback, write reviews and help him with the launch.  Never one to turn down a free book…I was in!

What I Loved:  Have you ever read a book that encapsulates so many things you already know but says them perfectly, in a way you didn’t quite know how to say?  The Art of Work weaves a ribbon through your life and ties it together with motivation and purpose.  Jeff Goins has crafted the words in this book to inspire you to do better, to be better.  He reminds you to see the imperfections of your past as opportunities instead of failure.  Most importantly, he encourages you that it is never too late to find your calling or for those of you who have a notion of what your calling is, to take a leap of faith to make it happen.

Woven throughout the book are many fascinating stories of people who have found their calling and difficulties on their journeys.  I hope that Jeff will feature these people on his website so that we will have the chance to see their faces and connect even further. J You will be moved by the circumstances that brought many of these people to their own calling in life.

While this isn’t an overtly “Christian” book with lots of scriptures or references to God, it is obvious to the reader that Jeff believes in God and every word of the book fits in well with Biblical principles.  As you read, I implore you to ask the Holy Spirit to remind you of the happenings in your own life that relate to your own calling. 

I. Loved. This .Book!  It was easy to read (sort of…see my note under “Things You May Need to Know” below). Jeff is an excellent writer…not too wordy but presented concepts in an easy to understand format.  It was almost as if I was having a cup of tea across the table and he was talking to me. 

While I received this book for free, I can say it was worth every penny!  (Wink!)  Seriously, I have already asked Jeff if I can buy a case of these to give away.  There are so many people I see floundering and trying to figure out what they “want to be when they grow up.”  This book gives hope that while you may already be grown up, you can begin making a difference today. 

Quotes that Rocked:   I am not even sure how to pick these!  About half of my book is underlined or highlighted.  There are a zillion “A-HA” moments as you read, especially if you allow the Holy Spirit to bring to remembrance things about your own life that have brought you to your own calling.  But…here is my feeble attempt at trying to narrow it down to a few of my favorite. 

Introduction: “We can’t control what life throws our way, but we can control how we react to it. As we do, maybe we come closer to a meaningful life than any plan could ever take us.  To do this, though, we have to let go of what we think we deserve and embrace what is, which just might lead to something better than we ever could have imagined.”

Chapter 1: “As you avail yourself to how your life may be speaking, you too must decide. Will you wallow in regret, wondering why such a thing has befallen you, or will you choose to act, making the most of your obstacle, and allow it to evolve into an opportunity?”

Chapter 2: “Life is the classroom, and if you are paying attention, you can recoginize the daily lessons available.  Each day is a new page in a textbook you never complete, and as you sit in the student’s seat, you realize the apprenticeship has already begun.”

Chapter 3: “In an era of human history in which we prize comfort above nearly every other virtue, we have overlooked an important truth; comfort never leads to excellence.”

Chapter 4:  “Don’t stand still.  Don’t squander your time, holding out for someone else to give you permission to start…No one is going to give you a map. You will have to step out into the unknown, listening to direction as you go…You can always change directions once you get in the car.”

Chapter 5: “Pivoting isn’t plan B; it’s part of the process.  Unexpected things will happen. Setbacks do occur.  Whether or not you’re prepared to pivot will affect how well you weather those storms and find a way to survive.”

Chapter 7:  “Work, it seems, was never meant to be something we do just to make a living.  It was meant to be a means of making a difference—in our own lives and in the lives of others.”

Table of Contents:

  1. Listening to Your life: The Call to Something Old, Not New
  2. Accidental Apprecnticeships: The Teacher Appears When the Studen Least Expects
  3. Painful Practice: When Trying Isn’t Good Enough
  4. Building Bridges: The Leap That Wasn’t a Leap
  5. Pivot Points: Why Failure if Your Friend
  6. The Portfolio Life: A New Kind of Mastery
  7. Your Magnum Opus: What Legacy Looks Like

Conclusion: The Work is Never Done

Appendix: Your First Steps Down the Path

Things You May Need to Know:  This book was amazing…and yet hard to read.  I would read a few chapters, be totally enthralled with the content and yet, I would have to put it down.  I needed contemplate the words; let them permeate my brain.  I spent time evaluating my own life…the good, the bad and the ugly…all of the things that brought me to my own calling in life.  This book may cause you to reflect on some events in your own life that aren’t “pretty” so you can figure out what you learned and how they fit with where you are going.

Where Can You Buy It: The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do




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