Category Archives: Cal Newport

Cal Newport

The author Timothy Ferris, who coined the term “lifestyle design,” is a fantastic example of the good things this approach to life can generate (Ferris has more than enough career capital to back up his adventurous existence). But if you spend time browsing the blogs of lesser-known lifestyle designers, you’ll begin to notice the same red flags again and again: A distresingly large fraction of these contrarians […] skipped over the part where they build a stable means to support their unconvetional lifestyle. They assume that generating the courage to pursue control is what matters, while everything else is just a detail that is easily worked out.

One such blogger I found, to give another example from among many, quit his job at the age of twenty-five, explaining, “I was fed up with living a ‘normal’ conventional life, working 9-5 for the man [and] having no time and little money to pursue my true passions… so I’ve embarked on a crusade to show you and the rest of the world how an average Joe… can build a business from scratch to support a life devoted to living ‘The Dream.'” The “business” he referenced, as is the case with many lifestyle designers, was his blog about being a lifestyle designer. In other words, his only product was his enthusiasm about no having a “normal” life. It doesn’t take an economist to point out there’s not much real value lurking there.

Cal Newport, So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, New York, 2012, pp. 119-120