Chris Guillebeau’s ‘Born For This: How to Find the Work You Were Meant to Do’

Born For This book cover
Chris Guillebeau is one of the best-known voices in the 'do what you love' conversation. So when he writes a book on how to find work that doesn't feel like work, it's probably worth checking out. Louise FitzBaxter reviews this action-focused, down-to-earth guide.

The world is suffering a pandemic of people in unfulfilling, badly fitting careers, says Chris Guillebeau.

When you're trapped in a situation like this, it can seem like there are only two options:

  1. Give up and settle for what you've got stuck with, or
  2. Make a trade-off (chase more money, for example, to make the misery worthwhile).

In Born For This, Guillebeau offers a third potential option:

  1. Create your own career and "a job or vocation that doesn't feel like work".

Chris Guillebeau has visited every country in the world, written four best-selling books, created the World Domination Summit, and built his blog, The Art of Non-Conformity, into one of the most successful of its kind.

He's had plenty of personal experience in experimentation and creating his own path.

And from the path he's created, he has a unique insight into the new world of work: one where a 'career' is not a linear progression, but rather a lifelong project of trial and error.

His winning formula for such a career is work that:

  • Makes you happy (joy),
  • Is financially viable (money) and
  • Maximises your unique skills (flow).

In Part One of Born For This, Guillebeau offers a series of lessons to help you understand what you want and how to get it.

Then, in Part Two, you'll explore strategies and tactics to help you implement what you've learned.

This isn't one of those tick-box books that will ask you lots of questions and spit out a few career suggestions for you to try at the end. Instead, Guillebeau recommends a much more active approach of experimenting, lots of side projects, and more than one source of income. Keep trying stuff out and eventually, he promises, you'll end up where you're meant to be.

Alongside the practical lessons and techniques, the book is packed with real-life examples from Guillebeau's own life and people he's encountered along the way. This approach makes it an interesting and inspiring read.

It also makes it hard to draw out the key points, because there's just so much information to process, and so many possibilities to explore.

Ultimately, that's the whole point. There is no one path:

"Remember, there's no set formula for what a career should look like, and we're all making it up as we go along."

So, if you're asking "What should I do with my life?", this book won't give you an answer.

Instead, it will give you ways to start actively exploring the question – which, if you're trapped running circles inside your head, is probably exactly what you need.

Top takeaways

  1. You're self-employed. In the new world of work you're your own boss, whether you work for yourself or for someone else. It's your responsibility to find the mix of joy, money and flow that works for you. Start by deciding the job title you want and work back from there. If the job you want doesn't exist already, how can you create it?

  2. Create a 'side hustle'. Do you have a means of earning money apart from your job? If not, create your first side hustle as a way to explore other passions and ambitions out of hours. Start selling those T-shirts you've designed, try running those cooking classes. This is a "low-risk, low-commitment way to test the waters for something bigger – and earn extra money at the same time".

  3. Quit your job every year. Even if you've found your dream job, it doesn't mean it's for life. Once a year, review whether what you're doing is truly right for you. Is it the best option for you to continue for another year? If it's not, commit to looking for something better immediately.

  4. Someone you know holds your winning ticket. The answer to your career search is most likely to come from the people you interact with every day. What questions do they ask you? What favours do they ask from you? What books or articles do they send you because they think you'd be interested? These are all clues to what could bring you joy, money and flow.

Have you read Born For This? Let us know what you thought of the book in the comments below.