My Audiobook Discovery

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I had never really been into audiobooks like some people. Sure a few were fun to listen to on long trips, but they didn’t seem the same as reading. Besides on my commutes I’d rather write (if I’m not driving) or listen to podcasts. Also hey, it wasn’t the same as reading – or so I thought.

However, a friend kept suggesting the books Indistractable and Atomic Habits, which you’re probably going to be tired of me praising. He mentioned he listened to audiobooks while exercising.

Eventually that settled into my head. I’ve been keeping healthy during the pandemic with a 60 minute walk early each morning (90 minutes on weekends). I also do 10 minutes of intense cardio each day (a mix of weight lift and high step and chair climbs as FAST as possible). Needless to say I couldn’t listen to podcasts all the time, and as some were serious content, they weren’t all realxing.

But books on productivity and cool stuff? Helpful and very relaxing!

So I tried it. Which is how I listened to both books – and it worked! I retained the information and enjoyed the experience. Sure for some books I buy paper copies for reference, but that’s a different thing.

A few insights.

First, I think though audibooks are worth exploring, each of us may have different experiences. I’m not sure if I’d enjoy fiction, but I definitely retained a lot from these productivity books. We may each have different experiences.

Secondly, I think there’s some books just not fit for audiobooks, like say a programming language book. You gotta be hands on obviously.

Third, I think some of this is great for people like me who maintain certifications. We can process vital information and useful books as part of our continuing education.

Fourth, there are a lot of ways to get audibooks, including libraries. Well worth exploring them to save money. Check out things like Libby (which does audio and ebook) and others!

So I guess audiobooks are part of my life now. And you’re probably going to get a lot more reccomendations . . .

Steven Savage

Do What You Love: When It Works


And so here we are, at the end of a multicolumn, multiweek rant on why the idea of “Do What You Love” ends up confusing us, distracting us, and screwing us over. Special thanks to Rowan Atkinson, Dave Barry, and Dennis Leary for your inspirations in being sarcastic.

So at the end of it all, let’s face it “Do What You Love” has become a trite, distracting, and in many cases elitist phrase. Yet, despite my criticisms, why haven’t I suggested abandoning it? Why do I use it, albeit cautiously? Why don’t I just say “screw it?”

Because there is something to it.

The problem is the value of saying “Do What You Love” has been lost. Maybe we never knew what it was very well, so I’m going to spell it out.

This is the part where I talk about what matters in “Do What You Love.” Here’s why, sometimes, it is good advice – because if we know when it’s useful, we can make it work without turning it into a problem.

It Makes You Think

First of all, advising people to “do what they love” can and should make people ask what they value and they love. What are they good at, what do they care about, what matters?

If someone gets the answer right away, the answer is probably (but not always) wrong. The value in this statement “Do What You Love” is to make people think.

My personal story here is that I never realized until I became a Project Manager of what my loves meant. Oh I had some ideas, inklings, half-baked ideas. But really I’m a person who Makes Things Happen. Arranger, fixer, coder, manager. I just never had good words for it.

So use this question to make you think.

It Makes You Consider What’s Important

Here’s the tricky thing – doing what you love also involves figuring out what’s important.

Maybe what you love is getting out of a bad situation and working your way up – so you have to take jobs and even do a profession you hate. Maybe you do that for two, three, five, or ten years.

Maybe what you love involves changing the world. So you have to consider what you’ll give up to work for charity, join the ministry, get a difficult degree. Maybe do do some things you love you have to give up others.

It makes you ask what you really love.

It Should Encourage The Next Stage

So when you say “Do What You Love” the next question when people find what they care about is to ask “What’s The Next Stage?”

So, fine, you want to find what to do with your life. You want a career beneficial financially and psychologically. Then you have to figure how to make it pay the bills.

See if this is so important, you have to figure how you’re going to make a living at it. This is where a lot of dreams fall apart.

When your dream doesn’t fall apart when you ask what’s going to put your bank account together, then you’re getting there.

It’s A Beacon

And here’s the big one. The real big one.

When you “Do What You Love” you have a goal. There’s things you care about and want to achieve. Really thinking about this, really considering it helps you set an idea of an end goal.

And that operates as your beacon, your guiding star, to getting there.

Just having a dream of a dream job can be nothing more than mental masturbation. It’s that creative visualization B.S. we hear about – well you can visualize it, but that’s at best imagining an end state. It’s when you navigate towards it that you succeed.

Thinking about doing what you love means finding the place to go.

Me, as I go into my late 40’s my goal is to have a great career so I can teach people, and to help do more for the geek community. That boils down into assorted goals and actions – and this essay is one of those actions.

It Tells You What To Give Up

And here’s the hard part – sometimes you have to give things up. Doing what you love also means asking what doesn’t fit in that picture. Once you know what belongs – you know what doesn’t.

Maybe you have to move. Maybe you can’t get that degree. Maybe you give up dating for a year while you work at a startup. Maybe some things aren’t in the picture.

When you can look at doing what you love and know what you have to give up, then you’ve really got it going.


Finally, it can be a driver.

This is also powerful. When we care, really care, we’re motivated. When we are really motivated we work hard. Sometimes we work hard even though we’re awful at things, and then get better at it.

Knowing what you love lets you know why you’re motivated. Indeed it lets you be motivated.


“Do What You Love” is valuable – as long as we get beyond the B.S. and use it as a call to understand ourselves and our goals and our situations. It’s best when it helps us get real.

So, I’m not ready to give up on it.

But as noted, I am ready to call out how it’s misused. Let’s forget namby-pamby fluffy advice. Let’s use “Do What you Love” to take a hard look at what’s important, to get deep, get motivated, and get real.

Dreams are best, at times, when they become reality. Reality has hard, but oh-so-real edges.

– Steven Savage

Steven Savage is a Geek 2.0 writer, speaker, blogger, and job coach.  He blogs on careers at, publishes books on career and culture at, and does a site of creative tools at He can be reached at

The Dark Side Of “Do What You Love” – Psychology

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So the series continues, where I take a break from my usual positive approach to look at why the job advice of “Do What You Love” is probably going to crash and burn for you. Sure, I think that’s a good piece of advice, but it’s only a piece and that’s the problem. It’s not the big picture.

So it’s time to stick our faces up to the problems of the idea of “Doing What You Love” for a living, take a deep whiff, and acknowledge how much the situation stinks.

Last time I looked at how the circumstances of your birth and situations outside of your usual control could destroy your dreams from the get go. There was also the added bonus of realizing how a-holes may be biased against you just for how you were born to top it off. Extra frosting for the depression cake as it were.

But let’s get away from situations and look at what is probably wrong with you when it comes to “Do What You Love.” Though there’s the added advantage of admitting you just may be deluding yourself with your dreams, so you can fix that.

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