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I could do anything if I only knew what it was

3.82  ·  Rating Details ·  4,241 Ratings  ·  151 Reviews
If you suspect there could be more to life than what you're getting...if you always knew you could do anything if you only knew what it was, this extraordinary book is about to prove you right!

A life without direction is a life without passion.The dynamic follow-up to the phenomenal best-seller Wishcraft, I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was (the New York Times B
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Published 1999 by Hodder Headline Australia (first published 1994)
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Zarya Rubin
Mar 30, 2007 Zarya Rubin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-help
Proceed with caution: this book helped me to quit my job and change my career! Seriously, it is a very powerful, insightful, honest analysis of what might be holding you back from finding true career satisfaction. Through detailed breakdown of different personality types, you can be on a very enjoyable road to self-discovery and a brighter, happier, more fulfilling future! A great book!
Mar 07, 2008 Amy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone who needs a motivational boost
Shelves: about-writing
I am one of those people who always thinks I'm not doing what I should be doing--that I have a bigger, better life out there I haven't grasped yet.
This book doesn't say anything groundbreaking BUT it totally organizes your ability to think more clearly on the topic. It actually gives you the mindset to be able to fix your situation.
The author has a ton of exercises for the reader to write out; one of them is writing down everything that made you happy when you were 5 years old; another one is w
Avel Rudenko
The book begins by suggesting our career indecisiveness stems from childhood, and assumes we were all bombarded with messages from our family & friends as to what we should do in life -- and that all along we've simply been trying to be what others want us to be. That may be true to some degree, but the author seems too adamant that that is the root cause. The other thing I found off-putting is that that author uses one exercise, early in the book, in which the reader imagines his/her dream ...more
Manal Saad
Apr 22, 2012 Manal Saad rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: psychology
I got the chance to listen to the audio version of this book last week. It was the perfect timing as I have been going through a lot of questioning about the future of my career and considering a drastic change. It was insightful and very helpful. Unlike most of self-help authors, Barbara Sher says it like it is. There's no sugar coating here or fake-it-until-you-make-it talk. It has a realistic approach towards finding one's goals and dreams. We lose sight of our original goals with our hectic ...more
Apr 22, 2013 Gwen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gwen by: comment section on The Billfold
Shelves: well-being
Started off incredibly strong--I read 2/3 of it in one sitting (2am on a weekday at a 24-hour McDonalds when I was mourning over a rescinded job offer and felt doomed to a life of unemployment and living with my parents) and was encouraged by its message.

Very meaningful during a 2am bout of unemployment-related depression: "Allowing bad feelings to hang around too long can cloud your judgement. When we're depressed, happiness looks stupidly short-sighted. We take the long view, think the long t
Nov 16, 2012 Stephanie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up on a whim, since I still, at the age of 39, haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. It was the perfect choice! I loved the no-nonsense, plain talking way she wrote this book. She's an actual career counselor, and you can just HEAR her debunking all your internal resistance strategies! There are lots of practical exercises, and if you do them, you can't help but feel like you have a better understanding of yourself, your likes and dislikes, and a different way ...more
Jun 23, 2007 Anna rated it liked it
Recommends it for: People who really want to start living their dreams
Wow! I had to read this book for a course and had no idea just what nuggets of truth it contained. If there was a 3.5 I would give it to this book. I can't give it 4 or more as the layout made it so hard to read.

This book is one of the things responsible for deciding to take a risk and live my dreams and it's really happening! I wanted to start a book group and I did it! I wanted to have my own classes and teach in a school part-time and I do! I wanted to make friends with people who I usually w
Jan 19, 2012 Nina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering this is something I really struggle with right now, and have for the last few years, this book was right up my alley. While it told me exactly what professional career advice I had already received, that of "just go and do something because that is the best way to figure it out", the added value came of helping me understand how and why.

It also helped me understand where this uncertainty and being stuck came from, some things I already had gotten explained to me, others which were n
I decided this is a bad time in my life to read this book. It's a fine enough book with lots of words of encouragement and motivation. See, the thing is, I need a book right now called "I could do anything if only I wasn't pregnant." or "if only I didn't have 3 little kids," or, "if only I had the energy," etc. You get the idea. I actually do know what I want to do, now just isn't the right time for me.
This book put me through a range of emotions. First I was irritated because the author was try
Sep 13, 2011 Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I checked this book out of the library, and would love to add a copy to my personal collection. I did not read the whole thing word for word, so I feel a little guilty saying that I've "read" it; but then, it's not meant to be read from cover to cover. The suggestion is to read the first three chapters, and then choose to read the chapters that you think will help you the most. It's designed to help you discover and acknowledge your dreams and then to act upon them. It is full of ideas, usually ...more
Apr 15, 2015 Rebecca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most likely, you're only going to be able to use two, maybe three, sections of this book at most. But that's kind of by design.

The authors go through a number of ways in which people get stuck in their careers. While only a couple at most could apply to you, it sometimes takes doing a couple of the exercises to figure out that something doesn't apply to you. Which is useful in and of itself.

Some of the exercises are not particularly helpful. But some of them did click for me. While the rah-rah t
Sep 10, 2015 Elena rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am one of those people who used to had great career or at least that's what I thought. But in the last two years some weird dissatisfaction thoughts started showing its ugly face, so the first thing I did was change the company. I wrongly assumed the problem was that the position in that particular company was no longer good for me. Being an ENFP I needed to constantly learn new things and develop myself or I would die from boredom. But this company had nothing new to offer anymore.

Moving fro
Nov 15, 2011 Gini rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really liked this book! Would definitely recommend to the Quarter Life Crisis crowd or anyone really struggling with their jobs, job identities, or places in the working world.

Also love the psychologist. I wish she could be my personal therapist and life coach, I thought her treatments of this subject were great.
She articulated my thoughts that you can’t change your life through “positive thinking,” that is is false and if you could change your life that way, you wouldn’t have these problems
Theo Karner
Dec 02, 2012 Theo Karner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-non-fiction
I really liked this book. It is not a typical 'what career do you want' type book that has you look at what skills you have, what skills your good at etc. etc. It focuses more on the self and has an excellent way of guiding you through the process of discovering what you want out of life and what may be holding you back.

The real gem is the structure of the book and the exercises that you are taken through. I was initially skeptical about the many exercises and tempted to either skip them, or do
Apr 07, 2016 Mel rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mel-4-star-reads
I really enjoyed this book, and am reading it side by side with Sher's other book for "scanners" like me, Refuse to Choose! In some ways, Barbara Sher seemed to spearhead a school of thought around career counseling that heavily influenced another author, Margaret Lobenstine, who wrote my all-time, 5-star favourite career exploration book, The Renaissance Soul. Both of these authors are a great comfort to me, in my own incoherent (or as one friend called it "circuitous") career path. This is par ...more
Nov 02, 2013 Eman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i didn't imagine such a book exists, when i saw it at the book store i got hooked it was as if it was there for me at the right time.

I loved the classifications and the exercises in this book,the idea that everything we do as adults is rooted from childhood is really true though it's annoying, we think we have passed childhood long time a go and grew up and become strong adults, but it's not true, there are a lot of unsettled issues that tend to hunt us in different ways and forms,it could effec
May 07, 2012 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: self-improvement
Ah what a funny and embarrassing title! On my quest to figure out what I want, I saw a blogger mention this book by title and I was instantly intrigued.

First three chapters are written to everyone and after that it's divided by personality. Chapter 6, written for people who don't know what they want because they want too many things had me pegged. (I double majored in biology and philosophy and minored in computer science.) I'm scanning through the other chapters since it doesn't pertain to me.
Oct 07, 2011 Yvonne rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What makes this book stand out is that the author focuses on the source of what is preventing you from finding the right career or fulfilling your dreams, rather than just telling you to change your attitude or environment as many other self-help books do. The author does not offer a quick fix but instead helps you to identify and remove obstacles in the way of your goals, which can lead to long-term solutions in various areas of your life, not just your career. It's unlikely that you're going t ...more
Steven Veach
Nov 13, 2011 Steven Veach rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-ve-read
This was a tremendous book and should be given as required reading for every senior about to graduate. God I wish my high school years could have been different. This book has helped me work through may of my issues pertaining to launching and sustaining a writing career. Before I read this book I was convinced that there was no chance I could write for a vocation, but here I am looking head-long into my next three or four books with very little apprehension or doubt. The book is great and the a ...more
Nov 08, 2015 Saura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-hold
I'm removing this from my currently reading list, because it isn't a book you just read. You need to work your way through it at your own pace while doing the excersises and thinking about your choices and past and everything that has led you here, where you are now.

My thoughts in general so far: The author comes with great excersises thoughout that really helps readers identify the the things they find imortant, and elliminate all the negativity and pressure they have been bombarded with all t
Apr 23, 2013 Angelica rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This book is incredibly insightful and goes beyond the typical "help me figure out my career" type of books. It goes on a deeper level, including exercises to help understand ourselves and behaviors, and its chapters are divided by different personality types (I recommend reading them all!).

For anyone who feels lost and just not sure what to do with his/her life, I highly recommend this book! It gave me so much insight on myself, and also made me feel like I am okay right where I am, and underst
Oct 07, 2014 Ashley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can't believe I'm saying this about what is essentially a self-help book, but this was absolutely amazing.

I honestly can't even begin to touch on how helpful it was just to read it. I read it through my library's ebook program and I found myself saving big chunks of text so I can go back to it later and do the exercises.

Books like this are supposed to be terrible. I figured it would just have some quizzes on how to figure out what you like, tell the readers that we're just afraid of success a
Oxana Bondarenko
This book is really helpful and inspiring. I've just finished reading it superficially, which is the way I always work with self-help books and other kinds of active reading: first to the end, then start again, this time going thoroughly through the exercises. So, the work of Barbara Sher is a kind guide to your inner dreams and aspirations, even if you buried them under the daily routine, false expectations and the burden of liabilities. Each chapter features a separate problem and each method ...more
Aug 29, 2009 nicole rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
ugh, i know. i am embarassed to admit i read this. i am just desperatly searching for a clue as to what i should be doing with my life (career wise).
this is a great book if youre looking for excuses for why you are lazy and unambitious. it lets you blame all your shortcomings on your parents or upbringing. i, on the other hand, am fully aware no one is to blame but myself. therfore this book and i didnt jive.
Dec 25, 2015 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't yet know if this book will really change my life or not. Having just finished it, and expecting a long road ahead of me, I can't say, "After I read this book, I became a full-time ___ and have never been happier."

What I can say is that the book helped me more clearly define what it is I want in life, particularly (but not exclusively) in my career. The exercises are illuminating, and I found that even the chapters that don't apply to my situation were worth reading.

I'm not sure if I rea
Apr 20, 2015 Ling rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
there was a lot of eye opening exercises and they tapped into your emotions, your childhood, and your interests. Some of them were really helpful; there were chapters dedicated to certain types of people which I found very useful and she encourages letting your emotions out to get to the bottom of the real problem of suppressed desire.
Feb 19, 2015 Adeline rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is not for the faint-hearted. If you are unable to identify what your passion is and willing to explore the excuses holding you back from pursuing this as your career this book is a must-read. In particular, Sher highlights that our society values career specialisation opposed to 'scanners', communicators and writers; with the ability to develop and articulate knowledge across multiple disciplines. Compounded by schooling which requires selection of your career path/profession at an ea ...more
Apr 21, 2014 Ulrika rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent book with many exercises that supported me in getting clarity around what I really wanted to do in my life! I keep referring back to this book and use multiple exercises from this book with my clients.
Barry Davis
Feb 16, 2016 Barry Davis rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Exceptional book on discovering your “life work” by the author of Wishcraft, pretty heavy on self-discovery exercises, but a disarming and nontraditional approach to discovering what is holding you back and from what. Sher says the book is about “buried desire.” Notable chapters include “How to Get Lucky,” “I’m Not Ready to Be Born Yet” (for the new graduate), “Nothing Ever Interests Me,” and “A Rage Against the Ordinary.” Sher reluctantly determines that you cannot go it alone, need to develop ...more
Jun 20, 2012 Wanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Positive advice for understanding what blocks you and what to do about it if you are ready to face it.
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inspiring 2 19 Aug 18, 2011 01:42AM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Barbara Sher is a speaker, career/lifestyle coach, and best-selling author of seven books on goal achievement. Her books have sold millions of copies and been translated into many languages. She has appeared on Oprah, The Today Show, 60 Minutes, CNN, and Good Morning America and her public television specials ai
More about Barbara Sher...

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“What you're really supposed to be doing is whatever makes your heart sing.” 41 likes
“Every time you have to make a choice about anything, think "Does this go toward or away from what I want?" Always choose what goes toward what you want.” 24 likes
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