Financial journalist Davidson explores the new economy of pursuing one’s dreams instead of plodding through a thankless career.
Do what you love, and the money will follow. Davidson, a New Yorker staff writer and creator of NPR’s Planet Money podcast, takes that idea and runs with it, his book predicated on the thrilling idea that a new economy is right around the corner, one in which “our work lives and our deepest passions can merge, happily, in ways that make us better off financially and personally.” Think of a place like a certain well-known fast-food chain, one that makes it “immediately clear that you are not in a place of joy,” a place where workers are replaceable and know it. Then contrast that with someone with a rare skill set, someone who, as with one of his examples, took training as a naval aviator and retail consultant and turned that into a delicious, much-sought-after candy bar, successful even though the candy giants had a lock on the distribution chain. Another example is a woman who grew up around the people who, with callused hands and dirty boots, did the hard work of harvesting grapes, and she converted her in-depth knowledge into a marketing business positioning wines before discerning audiences of drinkers. There’s a new paradigm at work here, one that defies the old laws of supply and demand and that instead posits that price, for instance, is one of those things that a customer understands is a token of “the benefits they hope to receive: benefits based on very specialized knowledge.” Technology and interlocked global markets bring this specialized knowledge to the world in ways that could only have been dreamed of in the past. Davidson’s case studies are excellent, but the heart of the book is a set of rules worthy of committing to memory—e.g., “Pursue intimacy at scale”; “Know what business you’re in, and it’s probably not what you think.”
Fine inspiration for entrepreneurs that should be required reading in any business school curriculum.