How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric

A mere 160 pages. What I learnt -“Act first, reflect later”. The homework section at the end of the book is useful for readers who want more on the topic, with some tried and tested recommendations.

“The thought once occurred to me that if I wanted to crush and destroy a man entirely, to mete out to him the most terrible punishment, one at which the most fearsome murderer would tremble, shrinking from it in advance, all one would have to do would be to make him do work that was completely and utterly devoid of usefulness and meaning.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

“Open Samuel Johnson’s celebrated Dictionary, published in 1755, and you will discover that the word ‘fulfillment’ does not even appear.”

“Work is a necessary evil to be avoided.” – Mark Twain

“The Russian for work, robota, comes from the word for slave, rab. The Latin labor means drudgery or toil, while the French travail derives from the tripalium, an ancient Roman instrument of torture made of three sticks.”

“A master in the art of living draws no sharp distinction between his work and his play; his labor and his leisure; his mind and his body; his education and his recreation. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence through whatever he is doing, and leaves others to determine whether he is working or playing. To himself, he always appears to be doing both.” (the book misattributed the quote to François-René de Chateaubriand but it’s from L. P. Jacks in Education through Recreation, 1932)

Note: read more about the play ethic here:

Interesting: In Belgium, anyone with over 12 months work experience is entitled to free career guidance services.

“By far, the biggest mistake people make when trying to change careers is to delay taking the first step until they have settled on a destination… The only way to create change is to put our possible identities into practice, working and crafting them until they are sufficiently grounded in experience to guide more decisive steps… We learn who we are by testing reality, not by looking inside…
Reflection best comes later, when we have some momentum and when there is something to reflect on.” – Herminia Ibarra

“I don’t want to join the rat race.
Not be enslaved by machines, bureaucracies, boredom, ugliness.
I don’t want to become a moron, robot, commuter.
I don’t want to become a fragment of a person.

I want to do my own thing.
I want to live (relatively) simply.
I want to deal with people, not masks.
People matter. Nature matters. Beauty matters. Wholeness matters. I want to be able to care.”

– E.F. Schumacher

“Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” – Benjamin Franklin

“For the first time in human experience, we have a chance to shape our work to suit the way we live instead of our lives to fit our work… We would be mad to miss the chance.” – Charles Handy

“Art is the elimination of the unnecessary.” –  Pablo Picasso


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