Do we each have a dream job that we are, by nature or nurture, uniquely meant for? To answer this question, Chris Ballard set out to talk to people who found work they love way off the beaten path. The Butterfly Hunter is a rollicking narrative of what he discovered, and reveals insights the rest of us can use to find passion in our work.
The Butterfly Hunter begins its roundup of quirky characters in unusual professions with Spiderman Mulholland, a former Marine, who rappels to suicidal spots on sheer building faces to assess damage or make repairs. (And yes, that’s his legal name.) Through Spiderman, Ballard learns that one can find a calling by following one’s wildest idiosyncrasies. Along the way he learns the history of window-washing, why it is that some people enter risky professions, and the best way to jump off a 230-foot building.
His adventures continue as he meets America’s top lumberjill, an NFL kicking coach who has never kicked a ball in his life, a MacArthur genius who’s spent his life in remote jungles chasing butterflies, and the movie trailer voice-over artist known as the Voice of God.
These ten characters each reveal an aspect of the search for a life’s work, and reaffirm for Ballard that we, too, can discover a calling if only we look in the right place. As with true love, there aren’t seven steps to finding it, but The Butterfly Hunter teaches us what it looks like when it’s real.
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About the Author
After a string of oddball jobs, CHRIS BALLARD found his calling at Sports Illustrated as a staff writer covering the NBA and writing features. He has written profiles of people with offbeat professions for the New York Times Magazine and is the author of Hoops Nation, which was named one of Booklist’s Top Ten Sports Books of 1998. Ballard recently moved from New York City to Berkeley, California.