Customer Reviews for

What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question

Average Rating 3.5
( 53 )
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(20)

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(11)

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(9)

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(12)

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(1)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Inspiring book about finding yourself...

Po Bronson has written quite the inspirational book. It's not like traditional self-help books (which I believe is the section I found it). It doesn't necessarily give you a set of rules or procedures. It tells the story of everyday people and how they found a sense ...
Po Bronson has written quite the inspirational book. It's not like traditional self-help books (which I believe is the section I found it). It doesn't necessarily give you a set of rules or procedures. It tells the story of everyday people and how they found a sense of balance in their lives by trying to do something meaningful while also facing their everyday responsibilities. I found it motivating because it wasn't necessarily about living your dream. It was about people who had dreams, but for one reason or another have been unable to fulfill them in the traditional sense. But while on the journey to their dreams they found other things that were satisfying. It was about living and when you put your whole self into living fully you will lead an incredible life, even if you do not realize your dreams.

posted by NCS on April 13, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

Great book for the wealthy entrepreneur, doesn't include many stories of the middle income searching for the answer to the 'ultimate question'

As I read this book, I began to realize who this work was meant to appeal to. The majority of individuals whose stories were documented happened to be those who have made loads and loads of money, enough to feel comfortable with a major life decision or career change. ...
As I read this book, I began to realize who this work was meant to appeal to. The majority of individuals whose stories were documented happened to be those who have made loads and loads of money, enough to feel comfortable with a major life decision or career change. Doctors, lawyers, Wall Street execs and the like. Most had advanced degrees and experienced things most Americans would never dream of but somehow still felt their lives were missing something. It seemed like the author himself came from privledge and chose to interview individuals who came from similar backgrounds. There may have been one story I could relate to in the entire 300 plus page work. Being a 29 year old, college educated individual attempting to return to business school I had hoped the book would tell at least a few stories of middle income individuals like myself. Unfortunately, there are not. I would not recommend this book.

posted by Anonymous on July 9, 2003

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2005

    No Inspiration Here

    I looked so forward to reading this highly-recommended book, especially finding myself now in a position where, after 25 years, I do not have a choice as to whether or not to make a career change: The choice has already been made for me. What I was hoping for was some sort of blueprint to follow as I find myself facing so many difficult decisions. What I found instead was story after story of somebody simply stumbling upon his perfect match or dream job, rather than a guide as to how someone might find it with deliberation and planning. There seemed to be no starting point from which one might begin his search for the 'ultimate answer,' and I had no more insight as to 'Where do I go from here?' after reading the book than I did before. Definitely disappointing.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2003

    Great book for the wealthy entrepreneur, doesn't include many stories of the middle income searching for the answer to the 'ultimate question'

    As I read this book, I began to realize who this work was meant to appeal to. The majority of individuals whose stories were documented happened to be those who have made loads and loads of money, enough to feel comfortable with a major life decision or career change. Doctors, lawyers, Wall Street execs and the like. Most had advanced degrees and experienced things most Americans would never dream of but somehow still felt their lives were missing something. It seemed like the author himself came from privledge and chose to interview individuals who came from similar backgrounds. There may have been one story I could relate to in the entire 300 plus page work. Being a 29 year old, college educated individual attempting to return to business school I had hoped the book would tell at least a few stories of middle income individuals like myself. Unfortunately, there are not. I would not recommend this book.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 13, 2009

    Inspiring book about finding yourself...

    Po Bronson has written quite the inspirational book. It's not like traditional self-help books (which I believe is the section I found it). It doesn't necessarily give you a set of rules or procedures. It tells the story of everyday people and how they found a sense of balance in their lives by trying to do something meaningful while also facing their everyday responsibilities. I found it motivating because it wasn't necessarily about living your dream. It was about people who had dreams, but for one reason or another have been unable to fulfill them in the traditional sense. But while on the journey to their dreams they found other things that were satisfying. It was about living and when you put your whole self into living fully you will lead an incredible life, even if you do not realize your dreams.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 1, 2005

    Very deep and incisive

    While this book may have a somewhat narrow audience, as mentioned in the above reviews, I found it to be very good at getting right to the core of what holds us back. This book does not spoon feed the reader answers to the question posed by the title. But it does give one many things to think about some of which may be questions the reader is has avoided.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2004

    So Uh¿ What Should The Rest Of Us Do With Our Lives?

    Would you give up a salary of $300,000 a year to find yourself? Po Bronson seems to think that after reading his latest book, What Should I Do With My Life?, you will feel compelled to do just that. He seems to think he has the power to influence the masses. To be fair: events surrounding the publication of Bronson¿s last book, The Nudist On The Late Shift, would seem to back him up. Published just before the dot-com industry collapsed, the book ¿ an enticing account of all things great within that industry inspired many of its readers to jump on the dot-com boat. When the industry sank these poor suckers went down with it. Bronson felt so guilty he published an apology in The New York Times Magazine. Because of these events the author emphasizes that this book, is meant only to help people find what¿s best for them. In other words, reader beware ¿ he¿s done apologizing. He doesn¿t have to worry. What Should I Do With My Life? simply isn¿t that convincing. Most of us twenty and thirty-something BA wielding working saps aren¿t making $300,000 a year. Though we¿re the ones most likely to be intrigued by such a title, we shouldn¿t be fooled: This book isn¿t about us. The author¿s passion is most ignited when he¿s detailing the stories of people who were financially successful and who, for their own reasons, turned away from that success. He seems so intrigued by these stories that he fails to realize they are essentially one story -- retold forty times. In the introduction to What Should I Do With My Life, Bronson claims to have interviewed some 900 people for this book. Supposedly, one of his goals is to show that his question is one with which people of all classes struggle. Yet of the 50 people whose stories make it into the book, all but about 10 began as highly paid professionals who found themselves asking this question in spite of their six digit incomes. Where are the high school drop outs, housewives, editorial assistants, bar tenders and others who have struggled with this question? Bronson begins the book with the story of a spiritualist who finds peace only after he leaves the monastery. He later profiles a blue collar worker who goes off to college and starts his own business and a self-proclaimed loser who invents golf equipment. But his treatment of these stories feels forced ¿ as if he is aware of the need for diversity among his subjects but isn¿t all that interested in creating it. This is unfortunate, as these are the stories that could turn this dull, repetitive book into an engaging read. If you¿re confused, frustrated and lacking direction you may feel inclined, after reading this book, toward a little late night soul searching. Just don¿t lay awake waiting for any revelations ¿ What Should I Do With My Life isn¿t likely to help you identify or live your dreams.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2014

    This book tells biographical sketches of other people who found

    This book tells biographical sketches of other people who found their passion in life. What the book does not do is provide any useful guidelines for how to figure it out yourself. The book mostly seemed to be the author's answer to what to do with his own life. I found it lacking in insight or encouragement. Skip this one.
     

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2014

    recommend it highly

    It is filled with inspirational stories and is a great read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2013

    The idea of the book is good,but disappointed after reading a fe

    The idea of the book is good,but disappointed after reading a few chapters.definitely not what I expected  ,is one story after story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Reader

    Here

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2013

    Lightnings journey

    Keep going for part 9. Next page i think

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    The idea for the book was good, but the stories chosen were dull

    The idea for the book was good, but the stories chosen were dull.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2008

    Great for those considering making a big change

    I really enjoyed the stories and it reminded me of people to contact about some similar changes to my own path and decisions. I think this is a good guide to thumb thru and see if Ia few of the people touch your own concerns and goals.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 18, 2006

    Not just any book!

    When I first glanced at this book, I thought it would be any normal self-help book. I thought there would be a little quiz here and there, places to journal, and a few predominant questions to answer for yourself. I was pleasantly surprised that the focus of this novel was more based on the examples of other people, rather than most books, which tend to be solely about you. I appreciated his creativity and originality while I read. I am a high school senior and I believed that by reading this I could finally answer life¿s toughest question we must all ask ourselves. Unfortunately, I have not answered that question after reading. I am somewhat disappointed because I was depending on the book to tell me what my future held. The stories taught me that no one else could decide for you, you must be strong enough to figure it out on your own. It was refreshing that real people just like me have been successful with their lives and happy with where they are. I loved that Po Bronson told stories of people through out all walks of life. It gave me reassurance because I realized that I don¿t need to be so urgent and anxious for my future. The major themes of this book are to over come fear and confusion to find a larger truth in their lives. This truth differs from person to person but moving past your animosities will help to find out how to live your life. Read this book with no expectations and no dependence, and then it will be enjoyable.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 23, 2006

    'What not to do with your life'

    Po Bronson has written a unique book. Like a good anthropologist, without providing a synthesized set of lessons, he lays out the story of 50 individuals allowing the insights to emerge for the reader. While Po has been able to commit to his own dreams and be successful, the characters profiled in his book are different. Most of them do not care about anything, make career changes that are triggered by feelings of unhappiness or some abstract romantic notion in their heads or just pure randomness, and eventually fail to find fulfillment in a meaningful way. So it seems that one must do exactly the opposite of what these individuals did i.e. introspect deeply and understand one self, and find what one is passionate about before making big changes. Even if one fails to find a passion, one might attempt to live life with a bit of lightness and gratitude for one¿s good fortune relative to most people. Also, the pursuit of one¿s dreams and being practical are not mutually exclusive ideas. Charles Ives, the music composer, worked in the insurance business and T.S. Eliot was a banker. Making successful transitions requires talent, effort, passion and good fortune, and one must assess decisions on each of these factors with humility and honesty. I don¿t think these ideas are inconsistent with Po¿s, but are not exemplified by these 50 people. Po has clearly thought about this topic deeply, and that is reflected in both the questions he raises and his commentary.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2006

    Not a quick fix sort of book

    This book offers insight into why we are not happy and are often yearning for meaning in our lives. It is not a career tool, it goes much deeper. There are many other books of that nature on the market. This one is unique.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2005

    This book will motivate you IF you LET it!

    If the path you've chosen no longer satisfies you like you thought it would. If you're feeling like there's no way out of your dead-end job, but KNOW you can't go on doing what you currently do day in and day out for the rest of your life--then this is the book FOR YOU! It helped me SEE and ENVISION that my situation can CHANGE if I truly want it to--that it's NOT too late. Change is not easy, but I now am proud to be halfway through medical school and know that I am where I am meant to be. The book will not physically pick you up and place you in a fun and exciting new job--what it will do is enable you to SEE the possibilities and the fulfillment you deserve in your life.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2004

    Good... but not Excellent!

    I picked up this book looking for inspiration on how I could narrow down all the things I want to do with my life. I came not lacking inspiration or motivation, but feeling called to do too many things. This book didn't help. It tried to focus too much on the average person, trying to market itself to the Wal-mart crowd. A lot of people were interviewed but what they found seemed to be lacking somehow. Maybe the truth is one can never find what EXACTLY you want to do OR be ESTATIC about one's life, but that's why I picked up the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 16, 2003

    'This is sooo good!'

    That's what I've said to more than one person about this book. While I'm only about halfway through, I could probably stop reading at this point and have a ton of things to think about (however, I will finish it, since the stories and people are so interesting) Being in career flux myself, I am comforted in the knowledge that other people have had/are having the same kind of problems with this question. I'm at a point in my life where I've given a large amount of thought to what I would like to do next. However, like many in this book, there is a tinge of fear in making a move just to make a move or settling for something just to make ends meet. All in all, a very interesting, revealing and inspirational read. Enjoy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2003

    See Yourself in this book

    If you are struggling with this question, you will be comforted by others why have been in the same boat. The best self-help book I have read for finding your supreme purpose in life and making the most of every moment is Optimal Thinking by Rosalene Glickman. You won't go wrong when you read these books.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2003

    Bait and Switch!

    The title really captures your attention as well as the subect and the hope that you might get something meaningful out of this read. It was really boring and not well written. I would have put it down but I thought that there must be SOMETHING I am missing .... NOT! Don't waste your time or money on this drab stab at life's important question.

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