Born for This by Chris Guillebeau [Book Summary – Review]

We all want to be lucky when choosing our jobs. We all want to earn our money while doing something that we love.  

But you have either to be an extraordinarily skilled artist or a scientist who conducts revolutionary experiments, right? Well, not necessarily. Anyone can live a life with a great job, including you –the greatest job for you is the one that you were born to do. What you need to do is find out what it is. However, old-fashioned career advice might hinder you from finding your dream job.

This summary is exactly what you need to find your destined job. The chapters will aid you in your career roadmap and show you where to start.

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Chapter 1 – The path to your destined job is not a straightforward one, what works for others may not work for you.

Some people are lucky enough to follow a pre-established path for their career. But the majority of people will have to try harder to find their path to the career that they were destined to do.

If you have no idea what to do with your life, it is perfectly fine. You just need to start experimenting. Experimenting will help you tremendously as careers may develop in unimaginable ways. Any job or project that attracts you might take you closer to your true calling.

Suppose that you decide to do what you wish to do and join the circus. But within months, you understand that cleaning up after elephants is not appealing to you at all. You change to the box office. But then you realize that selling tickets, despite being pleasurable and clean, is too boring for you.

After the tedious box office job, you land yourself an office job, away from the turbulent life of the circus. Soon enough, you start getting annoyed by your office job. One day you stumble upon a customer who owns a clothing line. Suddenly you found what you were looking for: your destiny was to make circus-themed T-shirts!

The important point here is that you don’t have to conform to an established career path. Some may believe that careers should be chosen based on a strict set of rules, but these are just assumptions from their own distinct experiences.

A well-known rule is that if you come across a new opportunity, you should give it a chance. You might not find another chance like that, after all. But being stuck to a strict set of notions will hinder your sense of creativity and distract you from your journey to finding your dream job. What worked for others might not work for you, as career paths are not one-size-fits-all.

That is why you should pull the strings and recreate the traditional career paths to be compatible with your needs. You can cross out the rule about seizing the chance at your first job opportunity and create a new rule for yourself that advises you to pass the job if you do not feel like it is the one for you. After all, you can always find other options.

Chapter 2 – The recipe for your dream job should be a harmonious mix of joy, money, and flow, including desirable working conditions.

Suppose that you were granted one wish to choose anything you want, and you decided to use it for the job lottery. But you still need to specify what you want. What is your ideal job like?

First off, your ideal job should be a perfect combination of joy, money, and flow. It makes sense since the ideal job means that you get paid for doing something you love. Let’s say you love being with children along with explaining things to others. Your ideal job would be a school teacher in this case.

Of course, there is one more thing to keep in mind when choosing your job: money. You might not want to be super-rich, but you need to earn enough to live a stress-free life.

Lastly, you need to experience flow with your ideal job. What is meant by flow is the mental state in which you feel thoroughly interested in one activity. You start not caring about time and begin doing your best. These three elements are essential for everyone, but the difference is how much you prioritize one against another. 

Joy, money, and flow are fundamental when choosing your ideal career, but you need to think about working conditions as well. Despite being in love with your work, you might end up getting stressed and unhappy if the working conditions are lower than what you would have wanted.

To prevent such a situation, you must first decide on the conditions that will be perfect for you. For instance, would you like to be in charge of your own schedule? Or would you be happy with a 9-to-5 job?

The next step is deciding on which social environment feels better for you—do you prefer working solo or with a team? Do you want to find an office job or work from home?

And finally, there’s reporting and accountability. Would you like to be your own boss or would you prefer to be managed? How do you feel when you are monitored?

After finding your answers to these questions, you will more or less have an idea of what kind of job you want to do. Now, the next step is implementing a strategy to aid you on your journey to your ideal job.

Chapter 3 – Get over your fear, take risks, and develop back-up plans.

Fear might be what is holding you back from chasing your dreams.

If that is true for you, then you can be sure that getting over your fears will help you to feel more confident and eventually help you take more risks. To overcome your fears, list everything that might cause a problem and think about how likely they are to happen. You will soon find out that most of your fears are harmless or improbable. So there is nothing to worry about, you can continue your plans without feeling stressed about improbable chances.

The following step is to be sure that the fear of missing out will not affect your career plans. It is a misleading feeling which will distract you from your actual desires.

Suppose that you will be interviewed at a company’s headquarters. After arriving at the company, you notice people looking stressed and unhappy. Your interview, however, went amazing and you are offered a position.

If you feel like you have no other options, you may end up feeling obligated to accept the offer. It might start to feel like the company is your only choice, despite its gloomy environment. If you give in to the fear of missing out and accept the offer, you may end up feeling miserable with your job.

The last step is being ready to take risks, planning back-up plans, and creating a safety net.


While deciding on something important to you, make a list of all potential outcomes, and make back-up plans for each one, in case they come true. For instance, imagine that you are a marketing specialist and wish to send bold e-mails in order to promote your business. You can make a potential outcome list, which is similar to this:

If the first people to receive your advertisements accept your offer, then just celebrate your success! If they are hesitant, write a tame mailer with a printable coupon to the next recipients. Be sure that your backup plans are specific enough to aid you when implementing them.

Besides, the three measures which create your career insurance policy are going to aid you to overcome potential negative outcomes, like losing your job.

First, make sure that you have a network of supporters, meaning that you have people who can aid you build a career, find your clients. Second, have a secondary source of income to feel secure that losing one will not make your life miserable. And lastly, never overspend so that you maintain a financial buffer.

Chapter 4 – Find your skills and weaknesses, think about how they can meet demand, and show your ideas to people. 

While thinking about which jobs suit them, people become inclined to only focus on things they’ve studied. For example, a data scientist may only search jobs that are focused on statistical computations. In order to expand your range of options, list all of your skills and weaknesses.

For starters, you need to create two lists. One should be focused on the things you are skilled at –and that means all of them, not only the ones related to your college degree. The second list should detail things that you dislike. This part is essential to find your biggest weaknesses which you will avoid. 

Upon finishing these lists, you will be able to differentiate what kinds of jobs were made for you. Now what you have to do is to find out how you can earn your living by putting your skills out there in a way that meets the demand, and to search for your prospective clients.

This step may be easier than you think. If your acquaintances are already telling you what you should do to help them, you can be sure that you are on the right path. You might have some friends coming to you for relationship advice or to repair their laptops, you can use these things as a guide to determine if you can provide something in those areas and if people would be willing to pay for your services.

After identifying this, you can now start your 100 People Project, which goes roughly like this:

Imagine that you are praised for giving weight loss tips. The next step for you is to find 100 acquaintances and contact them to provide free 15-minute consultations. You can improve your skills in addition to gathering potential clients for your future job.

Keep in mind to polish your writing and speaking skills as you go. No matter what talents you have, these two will always come in handy when offering your services or products to your potential clients in a way that will attract them.

Chapter 5 – Create your business while maintaining your day job.

Beginning a new business may be thrilling, especially when you feel as if it encompasses your interests and skills completely. What’s more, you can start your dream business while keeping your day job. You can start building a small business during your free time if you put a schedule for it.

Indeed, the majority of people who make a living from their areas of interest started by creating their business plan in their spare time. A single hour a day for a few weeks will be more than enough to launch a small business. Of course, you should still be cautious not to waste your time.

Trying to find a great business idea is futile and you do not need it. Try to find answers to those questions instead: What will you provide? Will it be a product or a service? What is your target customer profile? What problems will you solve with your business? What is your budget? What are your marketing strategies?

You can start by answering these questions in the first weeks. After the planning sessions, you can start putting your plans into practice, one step at a time. For example, you can start with simple advertisements for your service on social networking platforms.

Following this strategy will be safer for you. You can use the income from your day job while building your business and you will always have an option in case your business doesn’t succeed. As a result, you will be free to experiment and learn from your mistakes while being able to pay your bills.

If your business does succeed, then you will get a second source of income that will help you to feel more stable. But if you want to quit your office job and start working on your business full time, then do it. Just be sure that your business helps you get enough income to pay your bills. 

Chapter 6 – Start your own job and be your own employer.

Many good job-finding plans appear to be good ideas at first but turn out to be a waste of time later. Indeed, most of them are in fact futile. So, if the pre-established ways of finding a job don’t provide you the success you deserve, create your own job.

After all, consider all the hours and energy you can invest in updating your LinkedIn profile or attending job fairs, only to come up empty-handed. These strategies simply aren’t very effective because thousands of smart, qualified applicants are also using the very same ones. This means lots of competitors, some of whom might be a better fit for any given position.

So, a better idea is to invent the position that fits your skills perfectly and find a company that’s willing to create it. Some people even create their own titles. For instance, Tony Bacigalupo nominated himself to be the Mayor of New Work Cities, his coworking space. Just remember, this strategy is best used to search for a job within a company.

But maybe you want to make a living from your creative practice. If so, just become your own manager and promoter.

If you hide in your basement and paint all day, people won’t know who you are, regardless of how amazing your work is. That’s not to say you shouldn’t harness your inspiration to build a compelling body of work, but the art world has changed, and now you need to do much more than that.

Writers, musicians, and visual artists used to rely on a publisher, record label, or patron to distribute their art and would pay them a share for the service. But today, you can represent your work easily.

Start by reaching out to your fans and building an audience. Just do so through the best platform for socializing with people who appreciate your work; it might be through social media, by attending conferences, or any other preferred method of putting yourself out there.

And finally, it’s essential to figure out how to get paid. You might make money by selling paintings, through crowdfunding or even blog ads.

Chapter 7 – There’s nothing wrong with pursuing multiple passions.

Are you struggling with the question of what to do with your life? Well, if you are, it might be because you think you need to decide on a single, focused pursuit once and for all.

In reality, you don’t need to pick a niche and stick with it for your whole life; instead, you can adapt your career to your changing needs and interests.

After all, you never signed a contract saying you’ll do the same thing for the rest of your life. And that’s a good thing because life is seasonal – your needs and interests will change as you do. If you’re raising a child, you might appreciate the regular schedule and steady income of a 9-to-5 job. But during other phases, you might prefer the nomadic lifestyle of a travel writer.

A happy life is based on the ability to choose, but you also might want to focus on more than one skill over the course of your career. It’s not necessarily to the detriment of your career to pursue multiple interests.

So how can you best transition between multiple jobs?

One good way is to use work shifting, which is deliberately switching your complete attention back and forth between different projects. For instance, someone might focus on his landscaping business during the spring and summer while spending the winter months writing screenplays. Another person might work as a boxing trainer during the afternoons while offering relationship coaching in the evenings.

And these combinations aren’t difficult to attain; these people have simply integrated change into their regular work schedule, allowing them to switch quickly and efficiently from one job to another.

Just remember, there are lots of ways to live a fulfilling life, so find your passions and devote yourself to every one of them.

Born for This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do by Chris Guillebeau Book Review

Finding the work you were made to do is never a straightforward journey. So, keep an open mind, use all the skills at your disposal, and follow all your passions no matter where they might take you.

Do something different.

The next time you make a New Year’s resolution, promise yourself that, at least once a year, you’ll break free from routine and do something different. It might be to take that yoga teacher training course you’ve always wanted to or sell some special treat of yours at the park on a weekend. Regardless of whether it’s the beginning of a new business or not, chances are you’ll meet interesting new people, have new experiences and build your confidence – all while having lots of fun along the way.

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Savaş Ateş

I'm a software engineer. I like reading books and writing summaries. I like to play soccer too :) Good Reads Profile:

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