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The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do Paperback

On his thirtieth birthday, Jeff Goins quit his job and began his pursuit of becoming a full-time writer. While certainly that was a milestone day, it was still less significant than the ones that lead to that memorable moment. The journey he took leading up to that daring decision involved twists, turns, and surprises he never expected. In the end, he found his life’s purpose, his calling; and in The Art of Work, he wants to share his journey with you and help you, too, discover your life’s work, along with the invaluable treasure that comes with doing so.As writer, keynote speaker, and award-winning blogger Jeff Goins explains, our search for discovering the task we were born to do begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, as Jeff discovered along the journey he shares in this one-of-a-kind book, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try. Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find the vocation they were meant for and what to expect during the long, arduous journey to discovering and pursuing it.


Jeff Goins, a brilliant new voice counting Seth Godin and Jon Acuff among his fans, explains how to abandon the status quo and live a life that matters with true passion and purpose.

The path to your life’s work is difficult and risky, even scary, which is why few finish the journey. This is a book about discovering your life’s work, that treasure of immeasurable worth we all long for. It’s about the task you were born to do.

As Jeff Goins explains, the search begins with passion but does not end there. Only when our interests connect with the needs of the world do we begin living for a larger purpose. Those who experience this intersection experience something exceptional and enviable. Though it is rare, such a life is attainable by anyone brave enough to try.

Through personal experience, compelling case studies, and current research on the mysteries of motivation and talent, Jeff shows readers how to find their vocation and what to expect along the way.

Editorial Reviews


“This is one of the most honest, direct, and generous books about you and your life that you will read this year. It took guts to write and it will take guts to read. Leap.”

Seth Godin, best-selling author of What to Do When It’s Your Turn

“The Art of Work will make you think differently about what you do and how you do it. Jeff Goins is a fresh young voice in a field full of copycats. He challenges us to approach our work the way we would a canvas–both delicately and with furious discipline. People will be reading this book, and profiting from it, for a long time.”
Steven Pressfield, best-selling author of The War of Art

“Today, unlike any previous time in history, we have options about the work we do and the role it plays in our lives. But it is precisely here that so many of us get stuck. With so many choices, we struggle to figure out what we really want or where to start once we do. In The Art of Work, Jeff Goins provides a clear framework for discerning our calling, developing our mastery, and maximizing our impact. This is the plan we’ve been waiting for–from a guide we can trust.”
Michael Hyatt, New York Times best-selling author and former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers

“I used to think hating your job was just a normal part of every adult’s life–that is until I discovered I could build a job I actually loved. Thank goodness for Jeff and thank goodness for this book. Here’s to not waiting one more day to find, build, and engage in work you love!”
Allison Vesterfelt, author of Packing Light

“This is the real stuff. The Art of Work is a powerful dive into what matters, how to connect with that inside yourself, and then how to bring it out into the world in a useful way. This book will push some buttons you want pushed, and from there, it will guide you toward a new level. Dig in.”
Chris Brogan, New York Times best-selling author of The Freaks Shall Inherit the Earth

“At times, The Art of Work felt like I was reading my diary. Jeff has such a knack for clearly articulating the thoughts we’ve all quietly wondered!”
Jon Acuff, New York Times best- selling author of Do over and Start

“How would it feel to go to work each day because you wanted to—not because you had to? In The Art of Work, Jeff Goins shows you how. This is a real-life treasure map that can lead you to the life you were meant to live.”
Chris Guillebeau, New York Times best-selling author of The Happiness of Pursuit and The $100 Startup

“Our hearts crave connection to a meaningful calling. The Art of Work shares the process for hearing that calling and then doing the work that feels like ‘slipping into an old pair of shoes.’ A must-read for anyone wanting to live a life that matters—fully alive.”
Dan Miller, New York Times best-selling author of 48 Days To The Work You Love

“The Art of Work accomplishes the next to impossible, providing clear, relevant, useful guidance on finding your calling while being enormously enjoyable to read. It is required reading for anyone who is asking, ‘What should I do with my life?’”
Pamela Slim, author of Body of Work

From the Author

“What’s happened to you is rare,” my friend Mark said to me just before I made one of the most important decisions of my life–the decision to quit my job and become a full-time writer. My last day at work also happened to be my thirtieth birthday, which made it a milestone in many respects. The truth, though, is the day itself was less significant than the process it took to get there.

When asked how I got to this point, I struggle to give an intelligent answer. The experience of finding your calling can be both mysterious and practical. It takes effort but also seems to happen to you at times. What I’ve come to understand is that finding your purpose is more of a path than a plan: it involves twists and turns that you never expected. Ultimately these surprises lead you to your destiny. And once you arrive at what you thought was the destination, you realize it’s only another leg in the journey.

This book is a description of that path, as well as the steps it takes to navigate it.

Everyone, it seems, is searching for a purpose, for something to satisfy their deepest desires. I believe that “something” is a calling.

What is a calling? You will hear me use the word interchangeably with the terms vocation and life’s work, but quite simply, it is the reason you were born.

When I began working on this project, I thought I knew what the process of pursuing a dream looked like, but what I found surprised me. Discovering your calling, it turns out, isn’t quite so simple. The journey looks different for each person, but there are common themes that consistently emerge. If we look at those themes, we can identify a pattern that will help us understand our own vocations a little better.

What if what happened to me wasn’t so rare? What if everyone has a calling? That was the question that sent me on my journey. The people whose stories appear in this book, many of whom I personally interviewed, are not extraordinary, in the sense that you’ve heard their stories before.

They are not typical case studies for success, and that was intentional. In these seemingly ordinary accounts, I think we understand our own stories, which often feel far too ordinary for our liking, a little better. Some readers might be disappointed with the subjectivity of such a book. But this is the way we live our lives–not as research projects and book reports–but as anecdotes and emotions. And in each experience, we find certain truths we might otherwise miss. My hope is these stories connect with you in ways that plain facts cannot, and in reading them, you too are changed.

The Art of Work was not the book I intended to write but ended up being the one I was supposed to write. A calling is like that too, I suppose. It is the thing that you never thought would be, the twist in the plot that makes everything else come together, and somehow in the end you cannot imagine otherwise.

Writing this book illuminated my own understanding of how purpose and vocation work together, and I hope it does the same for you.

From the Back Cover


Life seldom unfolds the way we hope or plan. The twists, surprises, and setbacks leave us feeling stuck with no options left by to play it safe–to conform to what’s expected of us. But what if there was more to life than this?

Jeff Goins envisions a better way, a daring journey to discover your life’s work. The Art of Work recaptures the ancient understanding of vocation as more than a job, or even a career, but as a passion-fueled calling that makes each day an exciting adventure.

A calling is not some special opportunity reserved for an elite class of people. Meaningful work is available to anyone who dares to find it. The path before you is a perilous one, full of difficulty and challenges, but it leads to a legacy the world will not soon forget.

About the Author

Jeff Goins is a full-time writer who lives just outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, son, and border collie. He has authored three other books: The In-BetweenWrecked, and You Are a Writer. His website,, has been visited by more than four million people from all over the world. He humbly considers himself the world’s foremost expert on guacamole.


Jeff Goins is a writer, keynote speaker, and award-winning blogger with a reputation for challenging the status quo. He is the best-selling author of five books, including The Art of Work, which landed on the best­ seller lists of USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, and the Washington Post. He lives with his family near Nashville, Tennessee. His website is visited by millions of people every year.


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A limitless number of things are possible, but your time and resources are limited. Choose one, and don’t look back.