The Art of Work by Jeff Goins

I believe I promised you guys my thoughts on this- so HELLO YES HERE I AM TO DELIVER. Plus I haven't posted a review in forever so now seemed like a good time to fix that. xD




The path to your life's work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life's work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It's about the task you were born to do. 

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. 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. 

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.




Answering a call will sometimes feel that way. It won’t make sense and may even open you up to rejection and criticism, but in your heart you will know it’s right. How? There will be confirmation. You will take a step, and things will happen. Opportunities will reveal themselves. Through the words of others and even in the pit of your stomach, you will know this is the path to take- not because it’s easy or safe, but because it is right.

Hm. Okay. So my question here is: WHAT ON EARTH. 

It’s getting two stars, because I'm tired of political correctness, I'm tired of flowery language, and I'm tired of authors trying to beat around the bush. And I'm not quite harsh enough to give it one star, heh. 

On the one hand, this is filled with inspiring stories of people who rose above difficulties and challenges in their own lives. It’s got some great themes about determination, hard work, and overcoming obstacles. It’s very well written, with a style that’s never choppy or hard to read.

BUT. That’s where the good stuff comes to an abrupt stop. The idea behind this book is actually kinda brilliant- but the execution is fatally flawed.

It’s a book about finding your calling, and it’s from an author who I THINK (don’t quote me on this) claims to be Christian. And yet there’s something conspicuously missing here: God.

Instead of reading the Bible and praying, the author advocates things like ‘listening to your life’ to determine what your calling might be. What does he mean by this statement? I read a whole chapter about it, and between the flowery language and evasive, vague structure, I have no clue. 

Whispers of New Age are strung throughout this. But it’s almost always more implied than direct. Although at one part I got hit with this: 

You have everything you need to be your whole self; it’s already in you. Now you just have to become it.

The statement above is easily the strongest reference to New Age in the entire book- and like I said, it’s still not all that direct. The parallel between this statement and New Age seems clear to me, but then again, it’s hard to tell exactly what the author means by this statement and other statements that are even less clear. 

Plus, author Brennan Manning and his book Ruthless Trust are cited twice (I think) in the extensive list of notes in the back of the book, and since Manning was a well-known Catholic mystic, this says a lot. But at the same time, could Mr. Goins just be citing Manning out of ignorance?

It’s hard to tell anything really. This is just so, so, so incredibly vague and politically correct that it’s near impossible to tell what the author himself believes. 

He seems to advocate some sort of New Age form of Christianity, but there’s nothing explicit in here that advocates the view that he has a belief in EITHER. (He does tell a Bible story at one point, but he avoids mentioning God or pointing out that the story came from the Bible.)

Basically this frustrated me to no end. The question here is: What exactly does this author believe? And what is he trying to say? It's like abstract art- only instead of colors thrown onto a canvas, it's words thrown onto a page. And it left me scratching my head and saying "WHAT DOES IT MEAN??" 

~ Jonathan 

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18 comments:

  1. Great gosh. *makes a mental note to not read this book* Politically correct ugh. I really don't like it when articles or something dodge around a really important topic because 'it's not politically correct' or some such nonsense.

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    1. SAME. Or as the case is with this one- there's not really ANYTHING discussed in any clear, precise terms. xD

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  2. I always love your reviews! So helpful, and I love how honest you are about this stuff. Great job!

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    1. Well thanks, glad you find them helpful! :D

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  3. Thanks for being willing to read this to spare us others. *grins unrepentantly* I really don't like it when you can't tell what the author's worldview actually is. Have you ever read Death by Living by Nathan D. Wilson?

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    1. Hehe well I didn't know it wasn't going to be good when I picked it up. :P NEITHER DO I. It's so annoying. xD Hmm... I think I've read a book by that author but it wasn't that one. :D

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    2. I think you'd like Death by Living. It's really inspiring, it makes you think, and the author includes some really great personal stories. It can be your treat for making it through this one. :)

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    3. *promptly looks it up* xD Oh yeeaaah okay I've seen this one before but never read it.. I'll have to add it to my tbr! :D

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  4. Wow, I'm scratching my head already, and I haven't even read the book. But from what you have said, I think that if someone's going to write a book like that, I should be able to clearly tell what they believe in. One of the things I really don't like is when authors claim to be Christians, but their books make you question that.

    This was a great review, Jonathan! I really enjoy reading your reviews (you're super good at it). You should definitely do more.

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    1. IKR that's pretty accurate, haha. xD I AGREE. I AGREE WHOLEHEARTEDLY. And while I'm not sure if the author would claim to be Christian, the book was published by an imprint of Thomas Nelson, which is a Christian publishing company. So I'm guessing they would only publish Christian authors?? Although unfortunately they have been going a little bit more liberal lately (at least that's the impression I'm getting from some of their books), so perhaps not.

      Thank you! :D Haha yeah I do need to do more on the blog- I'm pretty good with reviews on Goodreads, but then when it comes to the blog I'm like #FAIL. XP

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  5. People who use, in your words, "flowery and evasive, vague structure" really need to not because it's just them trying to sound smart to cover up empty ideas. :P
    Thanks for the review, I totally agree, that must have been an endlessly frustrating read.

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    1. It's truuuue. That wasn't my first immediate impression, but the ideas in this did feel pretty empty, haha. xD
      Glad you liked it! :D Lol yeah it was. :P

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  6. I agree with you. I am sick and tired of people being 'politically correct', because PC is certainly not MORALLY correct! Not everything is happy go lucky and rainbows. As Christians, we are called to not conform of this world.... it can be hard, but God is with us. Thanks for this review!

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  7. Thank you for this! I know of at least on OYANer who highly recommends it, and it's been on my to-read list for a bit. It shall now come off it. Political correctness. *makes face*

    One note, though - you probably shouldn't throw everything Catholics say out the window just because they're Catholic. I'm not saying this guy's right, I have no idea what he said or if he is, but just saying "Oh, he's /Catholic/." shouldn't invalidate anything he says. You might want to weigh it more carefully, but yeah.

    And on an entirely different note, as one of the official judges for the Chapter Elimination Contest I have been tasked with letting you know auditions have started and you might want to get yours in. XD Auditions close at the end of April, but I think they were closed early last year, and there's already been 18 of them.

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    1. No problem! Yeah haha I kept seeing it around so I finally just made the plunge. xD

      TRUTH. I totally agree! :D I actually have a Catholic friend, and while I am most definitely NOT CATHOLIC IN THE LEAST and I don't believe Catholicism is biblical, there's truth to what he says a lot of the time. *nods* For Manning though, I was just trying to draw attention to the fact that he is a Catholic because he's popular in both Christian and Catholic circles. Not to mention that he teaches tons of New Age doctrines which go entirely against biblical principles and come straight from Buddhism. :P

      OHEY COOL. I didn't even realize that was coming up! :D Is the last season over??? WHO WON??? I'm on internet break until the end of April... and I'm not sure if I would have time? Maybe. I might be able to make it work. xP Can you email me the details and stuff? :D

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    2. GOOD I am much relieved. XP Okay, that makes a lot more sense. *nods* I see your point now.

      Yes it's over! I think Leafpool won? I didn't pay too much attention to it. Speaking of Leafpool she's off the forum for good. :( I don't have your email. I was about to suggest a doc but then I'd still need an email for that. Maybe you could make a doc and add me then I could paste all the details from the topic?

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    3. YAAAY GO LEAFPOOL. xD That's too bad she's off the forum though D: D: D: Haha yeah a doc will work- I'll go grab one right now. :D

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