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Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life
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Callings: Finding and Following an Authentic Life

4.06 of 5 stars 4.06  ·  rating details  ·  446 ratings  ·  63 reviews
How do we know if we're following our true callings? How do we sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday reality and hear the calls that are beckoning us?
is the first book to examine the many kinds of calls we receive and the great variety of channels through which they come to us. A calling may be to do something (change careers, go back to school, h
Paperback, 352 pages
Published September 8th 1998 by Three Rivers Press (CA) (first published January 1st 1997)
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I first read this book back in the late '90s and have proceeded to read it at least once a year annually since then. I am now on my fourth copy, having read two copies to tatters and loaned out a third to a good friend (who is undoubtedly affected enough by the material for me to not warrant asking for its return).

In paradoxically light yet profound way, "Callings" trolls the collective human consciousness for familiar and foreign concepts interwoven in history through such vehicles as fable, pa
This book has a special place in my heart and it's impacted my life in a signficant way. It all started when I met the author "by chance" in Asheville, NC last year.

At the time I was searching in my life and had travelled for a vacation to Asheville (my first time in Asheville actually). One evening I was in downtown and saw a group of people playing drums outside in the open air. One of the men playing seemed to stick out to me - somehow you could tell he had great passion for what he was doing
Brenda Brown
I wasn't "looking" for this book but saw it on a table many years ago at a large bookstore in Atlanta. This is simply one of the most influential and lovely non-fiction books I have read in my 46 years; I have recommended it to many others who have told me how special it was to them. Thank you Gregg Levoy.
Michael D
Beginning a new venture? This may be the next 'right' book for you. Gregg is a Master of metaphor, and his writing is an immense pleasure to take in. Poetic. Poignant. Insightful. I've pulled more quotable statements out of this book than any other to date.
Use this book often with clients. Return to its poetry and clarity myself from time to time when moving into a new project.
Nov 23, 2014 Becky rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in defining what their personal calling in life may be.
This is an excellent book on identifying and acting (or not) on personal callings. I had begun this book several times since I got it back in the late 90s but never finished it - obviously because I wasn't ready for it. But this time I relished it from cover to cover and gained much from it's words. Levoy helps the reader identify what a calling looks like and feels like and then provides the pros and cons of both accepting and denying a calling. This is not a book of magical thinking. It is a b ...more
Len Edgerly
I am one of the people profiled in this book, which makes me know the author did a very careful job of listening and getting it right concerning people who have made big leaps in their lives, based on a sense of calling. In my case, it was leaving a natural gas company to become a poet. This is a great book for finding tools to discern what's next in your heart and soul. ...more
Sandy  Kemp
Just did not find this book very accessible for some reason :(
Excellent for those of us looking at our next step.
Update: just read for the second time and still just as helpful as the first time. This time through I noticed more the emphasis on (Joseph Campbell-esque) personal (individual) authenticity as having priority, which some could critique, but this is grounded for Levoy in the belief that this leads back to better contribution to the community and the world as a whole, not as an end in itself. This is written in such a word-careful, image-laden way that it's hard to pick quotes. He talks about sel ...more
Nick Scott
I found Callings to be a well-written, eye opening book, about following callings in life. The book prepares you to listen to calls, to know the price of following or not following the call, and how to deal with doing so within yourself and around others. It made me feel more confident about staying true to what I want to do, and better equipped me to deal with the fear of not being good enough as well as the less thought about but even more dangerous fear of succeeding. For everyone who isn't s ...more
I give up. As much as some of the content in this book is great, other parts are torture. The author takes 5 pages to describe ideas that only need a paragraph. He also has that habit of referring to experts and quotes when it's just not necessary.

He also seems a little credulous when it comes to ideas that are WAY out there.

"I cured my cancer with drawing and dance!" to paraphrase and oversimplify one of his anecdotes.

As much a I would like to think that's true, or even possible, I just can't.
Barbara P
Here I am at 75y/o and reflecting on calls I have had in my life. Yet at every age my desire has been to be participating in areas where I have felt called and in the perfect place for relationships, family, mission, every day "work", etc. This does not change as I am growing older but the desires of vocation/volunteer places/etc. lessen, tighten up but continue to be significant.
I came upon Callings: Finding and following an authentic life. It has been sitting on my book shelf for years and I
Like many of the other reviewers here I read this back in the 90s and was quite impressed by it. It's probably time to read it again.
This was a surprise. I knew Gregg Levoy had a new book coming out, and decided to read his first one from the late 90s. Several times I laughed out loud, but mostly I felt his commitment to telling the story, or the story's story, and the nuggets of wisdom to be found therein. This is the kind of book you reread occasionally, because there is so much in it you can't absorb in one sitting. Looking forward to the newest book.
How do we know if we're following our true callings? How do we sharpen our senses to cut through the distractions of everyday reality and hear the calls that are beckoning us?

Wonderful book about finding and understanding your true calling. And also defending the soul's right to be heard. Sensitively and beautifully written. It's like speaking with a dear friend, guide, mentor and really. I'm reading it again for the wonderful company and deeper insights. I'm enjoying it even much better this ti
Stephen Plank
Read for a counseling class and did not care for it since most of these people had already decided upon a life change and used things like canoeing the rapids to justify leaving husband and kids behind as a result of the adventure. Truthfully, there is no counseling here ... simply justification for making a life change that meant leaving responsibilities behind. Running away is not always the answer to a life challenge unless we are talking about the safety of self and others.
This book was given to me by a good friend of mine. Despite being in somewhat of a turmoil in my life right now, I didn't find this book to motivate me to do anything differently. The book is well written, and has inspirational, thought-provoking anecdotes, but I can't say it has changed my life after reading it. Perhaps I'm not ready to look for my calling, or perhaps I've missed the signs. I wouldn't dissuade anyone from reading it; I speak only for myself.
I think this is the best book I have read on finding your way to what you are called to do. I have given numerous copies to friends when they are struggling with self-worth, why am I here, what am I supposed to be doing - you know, stuff.

This is not an Oprah book that fixes everything. Some places are hard to read because they require honesty with oneself.

I highly recommend!!!!
Mills College Library
158 L6669 1998
Read this a few years ago. My recollection is that it was about "tender mercies," but with a new agey slant. Coincidences are the universe communicating to you. Some of it was interesting, some of it made me roll my eyes. It suggests that you should follow your personal calling, no matter the cost, even telling you to make choices as if there were no consequences. ?????
Julia Atwood
This is a GREAT book! One of the better self help books I've read in a long time. Great analogies and advise and a "way to" find it through examples through others processes.
The title was not exciting to me so had my book club not insisted on it, I would have passed it by. What a surprise!!!! Gregg Levoy is one the most intelligent, well-read, funny and talented writers I have ever come across.
Hey, if it stunned Jean Houston, what else is there to say. An absolute must-read.
We are all aware of callings in our life, but there is so much more.
Kelly Tobin
Aug 18, 2010 Kelly Tobin rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Kelly by: Julie Perez
Callings refer to your inner voice calling to you to do certain things in life. Its all about listening to that inner voice to unlease your greatest potential by living the life you really want to lead. I borrowed this book from a friend who was emailing me scanned pages to read and then, she lent it to me. I need to finish it and get it back to her! It's long!
Hearing a call is a very difficult discernment process. Sometimes the call is clear, but the path is not. Sometimes the path is clear, but the desire is not. Gregg Levoy has done an exceptional job at being an in-print spiritual director for those seeking an entrance into the process of finding a true calling and a more authentic life.
I read this book years ago just after it was published. It provides very clear insight on the challenges one faces to prepare oneself to hear when the need for change arises, as well as how to process that event and prepare for the change. It also deals with the consequences one may encounter if deciding to not make the change.
Amazing, gorgeously elegant writing. Even if you're not interested in spirituality, read it just to sample the word craft. But if you are interested in spirituality you'll enjoy it even more! I felt better just for reading the text.
Meh. Expected a more engaging, thoughtful read of inspiration and ideas. I don't know that I was in the right headspace to appreciate the content of this book. I will potentially give it another read if I feel like I get to a point of transition in my life, but there wasn't anything there that spoke to my soul.
Yeah, yeah, cry me a river. I imagine that's what a lot of readers might think. But no... actually there are some interesting anecdotes worthy of contemplation. It's still a long read without any sense of organization. I might at most skim through and read the sections that jumped out at me.
Read it on a dare by my Political Theory professor. Overly sentimental garbage, soaked in enough poetic nonsense to choke my gag reflex. There are two good things it helped me admit to myself, though - 1, There are no callings. 2, Life rocks because there are no callings.
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