More than 40 career-changers tell their stories.
Introduced by Facebook executive and founder of Leanin.org Sheryl Sandberg, Lewis’ second cousin, the book offers exuberant advice for people who want to make a leap—daring or modest—from one career path to another, just as he did. At the age of 24, working for the investment firm Bain Capital, the author felt restless and dissatisfied. “I began to realize,” he writes, “that I wanted this life mostly because I thought I should,” but he heard “a very distinct if faint voice” urging him to try something “very different.” As he considered following his passion to become a professional squash player, Lewis sought advice from others who made similar jumps: a banker-turned-cyclist, for example, and a journalist-turned-politician. From them, and the others whose stories fill the book, he came up with the idea of the Jump Curve, a process of four key phases: listening to your inner voice, making a practical plan, believing in your own good luck, and rejecting regret. “You will come out stronger,” Lewis insists, even if your initial plan fails. “I keep coming back to the idea of agency,” said a man who made a move from corporate hospitality service to restaurant ownership: “the difference between life happening to you versus you making life happen.” Among the individuals profiled are a nurse who, at the age of 50, became a doctor; a football player–turned-writer; an investment professional who became coxswain of the U.S. Paralympic Rowing Team; a PR executive who found her calling as an Episcopal bishop; and a lawyer who sued the New York fire department to admit women firefighters—and then became the first woman hired. “Harassment, discrimination, death threats,” and physical abuse dogged her 25-year career. But, she says, “this was a jump worth fighting for,” a sentiment that Lewis underscores. Changing careers is risky, but “there is a risk to not taking a jump at all.”
An easy reading book of supportive encouragement to follow one’s dreams.