What Should I Do with My Life?

What Should I Do with My Life?

3.67 (6,078 ratings by Goodreads)
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Po Bronson tackles the biggest, most threatening, most obvious question that anyone has to face, 'what should I do with my life?' Bronson's book is a fascinating account of finding and following the people who have taken the ultimate challenge of self-discovery by uprooting their lives and starting all over again. From the investment banker who gave it all up to become a catfish farmer in Mississippi, to the chemical engineer from Walthamstow who decided to become a lawyer in his sixties. These stories of individual dilemmas and dramatic - sometimes unsuccessful - gambles are bound up with Bronson's account of his own search for a calling.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 432 pages
  • 132 x 194 x 38mm | 421.84g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • ports.
  • 0099437996
  • 9780099437994
  • 247,111

Review quote

"Inspirational... This book fascinates because of the broad spectrum of testimonies" Financial Times "Something more than the usual self-help guff. What Should I Do with My Life? is closer to the oral histories of Studs Terkel or This American Life than to Tony Robbins" Time "The 'ultimate question' is a topic always in season, worthy of Bronson's skillful probing and careful anecdote selection. Brimming with stories of sacrifice, courage, commitment and, sometimes, failure, the book will support anyone pondering a major life choice or risk without force-feeding them pat solutions" Publishers Weekly "A remarkable social document, raised to the level of literature by Bronson's own deep level of involvement, his candour and compassion-as a work of research, the book is wide-ranging and impressive" Evening Standard "A superior self-help book... Very readable" Guardianshow more

Flap copy

In "What Should I Do with My Life? Po Bronson tells the inspirational true stories of people who have found the most meaningful answers to that great question. With humor, empathy, and insight, Bronson writes of remarkable individuals--from young to old, from those just starting out to those in a second career--who have overcome fear and confusion to find a larger truth about their lives and, in doing so, have been transformed by the experience. "What Should I Do with My Life? struck a powerful, resonant chord on publication, causing a multitude of people to rethink their vocations and priorities and start on the path to finding their true place in the world. For this edition, Bronson has added nine new profiles, to further reflect the range and diversity of those who broke away from the chorus to learn the sound of their own voice. "From the Trade Paperback edition.show more

About Po Bronson

Po Bronson has written for Wired, Rolling Stone and the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of What Should I do With My Life?, Why Do I Love These People? and the novel The Nudist on the Late Shift.show more

Review Text

Bronson has an uncanny knack of capturing the zeitgeist, both in his fiction and non-fiction. His previous non-fiction book, The Nudist on the Late Shift, evoked perfectly the creative chaos and self-indulgence of the new-media gold rush that hit Silicon Valley - a world of ambitious start-ups, venture capitalists and sleepless programmers surviving on black coffee and junk food. This reflective collection of other people's stories is primarily a book for the disillusioned post-dotcom generation, despite a smattering of case studies of those both older and younger. The idea has particular resonance for Bronson himself, and he intersperses the tales of his interviewees with anecdotes from his own life and his struggle to find purpose. As he points out to one of his subjects, the title he has chosen is particularly important: she repeatedly refers to it as 'What Do I Want From My Life?', whereas Bronson emphasizes the element of compulsion that draws us towards a life that will fulfil us, rather than merely pay the rent. Hence we meet an English public-relations executive who became a gardener; an investment banker who became a catfish farmer; a chemical engineer who became a teacher... and then changed her mind; a diplomat who became a teacher at a rough East End school and didn't change his mind; and, most inspirational of all, a retired chemist who overcame ageism to become a barrister. Before anyone dismisses this as yet another self-help book, that is not its point. Bronson does not take each of his case studies as a 'how-to' example, but instead truly gets under the skin of his interviewees, to present all their hopes, fears and inner conflicts, even deeply buried psychological reasons for their actions. He interviewed more than 900 people for the book, ending up with 50 individuals whose tales will evoke admiration, envy or empathy. (Kirkus UK)show more

Rating details

6,078 ratings
3.67 out of 5 stars
5 26% (1,594)
4 32% (1,922)
3 29% (1,776)
2 10% (581)
1 3% (205)
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