Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thursday Interview - Cal Newport on Why Skills Trump Passion

Join me Thursday, December 13th, for a live conversation with returning guest Cal Newport, to talk about his new book, So Good They Can't Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for the Work Your Love. While not a book about education, it is a attempt to debunk the "long-held belief that 'follow your passions' is good advice," which is increasingly a narrative we hear in education conversations.

I'm interested in comparing this thesis with the experiences of my own children, who have benefited from following their passions, and to see if his advice to "put in the hard work to become excellent at something valuable" is actually the opposite of passion-following, or if the two might not actually drive each other. (Another obvious connection is with marriage, as some argue that arranged marriages are happier than those begat by passion--let's see what he has to say about that!)

My interview with Cal about one of his previous books, How to Be a High School Superstar, has informed my thinking in so many ways--and leads me to recommending the book on a regular basis. Let's see if he can convince me once again!

Date: Thursday, December 13th, 2012
Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern (international times here)
Duration: 1 hour
Location: In Blackboard Collaborate (formerly Elluminate). Log in at The Blackboard Collaborate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Blackboard Collaborate, please visit the support and configuration page.
Recording:  A full Blackboard Collaborate recording is at and an audio mp3 recording is at Other interview recordings are all available at
Mightybell:  A Mightybell space with interview resources and conversation is at

Cal Newport is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University. He previously earned his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT in 2009, and graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College in 2004.

Newport is the author of three books of unconventional advice for students, which have sold a combined total of more than 100,000 copies: How to Be a High School Superstar (Random House, 2010), How to Become a Straight-A Student (Random House, 2006), and How to Win at College (Random House, 2005).

In his role as an author, Newport has appeared on ABC, NBC, and CBS and on over 50 radio networks. His writing and ideas have been featured in major publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, and His Study Hacks blog, which chronicles his attempts to decode "patterns of success," attracts over 100,000 unique visitors a month.

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