Po Bronson tackles the biggest, most threatening, most obvious question that anyone has to face, 'what should I do with my life?' Bronson's book is a fascinating account of finding and following the people who have taken the ultimate challenge of self-discovery by uprooting their lives and starting all over again. From the investment banker who gave it all up to become a catfish farmer in Mississippi, to the chemical engineer from Walthamstow who decided to become a lawyer in his sixties. These stories of individual dilemmas and dramatic - sometimes unsuccessful - gambles are bound up with Bronson's account of his own search for a calling.
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(198mm x 129mm x 31mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
UK Kirkus Review »
Bronson has an uncanny knack of capturing the zeitgeist, both in his fiction and non-fiction. His previous non-fiction book, The Nudist on the Late Shift, evoked perfectly the creative chaos and self-indulgence of the new-media gold rush that hit Silicon Valley - a world of ambitious start-ups, venture capitalists and sleepless programmers surviving on black coffee and junk food. This reflective collection of other people's stories is primarily a book for the disillusioned post-dotcom generation, despite a smattering of case studies of those both older and younger. The idea has particular resonance for Bronson himself, and he intersperses the tales of his interviewees with anecdotes from his own life and his struggle to find purpose. As he points out to one of his subjects, the title he has chosen is particularly important: she repeatedly refers to it as 'What Do I Want From My Life?', whereas Bronson emphasizes the element of compulsion that draws us towards a life that will fulfil us, rather than merely pay the rent. Hence we meet an English public-relations executive who became a gardener; an investment banker who became a catfish farmer; a chemical engineer who became a teacher... and then changed her mind; a diplomat who became a teacher at a rough East End school and didn't change his mind; and, most inspirational of all, a retired chemist who overcame ageism to become a barrister. Before anyone dismisses this as yet another self-help book, that is not its point. Bronson does not take each of his case studies as a 'how-to' example, but instead truly gets under the skin of his interviewees, to present all their hopes, fears and inner conflicts, even deeply buried psychological reasons for their actions. He interviewed more than 900 people for the book, ending up with 50 individuals whose tales will evoke admiration, envy or empathy. (Kirkus UK)
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Author Biography - Po Bronson
Po Bronson has written for Wired, Rolling Stone and the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of What Should I do With My Life?, Why Do I Love These People? and the novel The Nudist on the Late Shift.