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Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design
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Zen and the Art of Making a Living: A Practical Guide to Creative Career Design

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  641 ratings  ·  49 reviews
Zen and the Art of Making a Living is the life-changing book that revolutionized the career planning field by offering a new vision of work. This new edition has been updated throughout with up-to-the-minute contact information and hundreds of new bibliographical and Internet resources. It includes all-new sections on developing a successful home-based business and creatin ...more
Paperback, 704 pages
Published May 1st 1999 by Penguin Books (first published 1992)
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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  641 ratings  ·  49 reviews

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Dec 06, 2007 rated it it was amazing
This one is really good, and the book I always want to give (and sometimes have) to some young seeker mulling over their options and how they plan to earn their crust and/(or?) fulfill their aspirations. Very much a workbooky, participatory sort of thing - a tool for living the examined life. In fact, I should return to it again myself, on the proposition that it is never too late.
Jeff Lampson
I've owned this book for over 15 years and at least annually I continue to soak in it's wisdom and inspiration. ...more
Jan 30, 2012 rated it really liked it
Quite unexpectedly, this book resonated with me. It was not full of the new-agey aphorisms I was expecting but rather a subtle examination of archetype as a guide for living - a critiqued life as it were. Joseph Campbell features prominently but also Nietzsche, CG Jung, and a host of other thinkers whose work could easily be twisted to fit a shallow self-help book, but wasn't here. I really found the first part of the book, with it's explanation of myth and zen, interesting. Especially because I ...more
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is just an amazing book. I found it very affirmative of my life path. I wish I'd found it earlier as it would have been helpful. The funny thing about this book was that I actually found the practical information in it less helpful than the vast amount of inspirational information it contained. Laurence Boldt knows what he is talking about it. ...more
Jul 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This book took me a very long time to finish, but I read it intermittently and really took the time to savor it. It is a very dense book with so many wise quotes, lessons and a very comprehensive overview of choosing a career and then finding a way to make it happen. The author approaches the career process the way an artist sees a blank canvas. He encourages us to approach the process with reverence and to honor our best self. He encourages us to think about more than money and success--he want ...more
Nov 13, 2017 rated it did not like it
Spectacularly bad. 700 pages of stream-of-consciousness new age babble, with JUST ENOUGH practical advice that you continue reading hoping that your patience will pay off eventually.

First of all, there is no way that you need 700 pages to basically say "Find work that aligns with your values, and if you can't find that work, make it yourself" - Someone really needs to find meaningful work as the editor of this gigantic tome.

If you are committed to reading this book, do yourself a favor and skip
Graciela Guzmán
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Graciela by: Kerrie Kephart
I receive this book from my Dearest Friend Kerrie Kephart, in a moment I loose my job and I felt hopeless. I remembered what she wrote to me: "and fly your wings my batterflie". It was like a light in a dark room for me. It helps me to discover that I love to work with people, that somehow I need the contention of a institution, the lessons from the warriors, the sage, the students and... Get into too many philosofal ideas mixed with a recipes of looking for a job, was a cool breeze in a hot sum ...more
Jul 15, 2012 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 16, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I learned about this book from a freshman seminar I took a few years ago. It has some wonderful insights & some great tools for making you more aware of what it is you want to do "when I grow up"... unfortunately I still do not know what I want to be when I grow up. ...more
Aug 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
I read 100% of the book until page 392... then i skimmed over sections i thought were interesting and read the quotes. This book didnt tell me anything i didnt already know.
Paiman Chen
Mar 22, 2021 rated it liked it
Change is not easy, even if you're motivated. Transformation is the action of both spiritual liberation and art.
Human beings often are uncomfortable with change even if it improves the situation. And yet if you resist change, you cannot advance. You're stuck in place, inactive and unable to transform. To change, recognize that you have more to learn, that knowledge is always expanding. Look at the world as an infant does - with eyes wide open, amazed by sights and sounds.

To be authentic, the pla
D.M. Dutcher
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
It's a normal career book with a bunch of zen babble. You have the "philosophy" aspects which take up most of the book, but the actual career advice is just the usual "discover your values, make a list of your talents, etc" that you get in these books.

I actually liked the philosophy at start, which posits that currently we are in a "little king" model of control and deny, and we are conditioned that being good means following society's rules as opposed to creating the life we mean to live. But
Dec 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful book about the art of making a living with zen philosophy. I can see very clearly the tremendous effort from the Author by putting his thoughts and understanding together to make this book. He is passionate and has been patient enough to have consistently working on this book for 4 years to complete writting the book. Thank you for his effort.

I recommend those young people to read this book before they embark on the career life. This is also good book for those who are intereste
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the one, definitive book that helped me get where I am today. It totally forever changed my way of thinking and gave me practical step-by-step instructions on how to get to where I wanted to go. I’ve gifted this book more times over the past two years than I’ve gifted books in my life. I can’t recommend it enough to people serious about making a change in their life, both in terms of career and perspective. I continue to go back to this book for myself and in counseling others.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
This book was recommended to me and I really, really wanted to try to get through it. It is 608 pages, by the way. I purchased this book when I was in between jobs and looking for a job that would fulfill my passion. Unfortunately, it did not create Zen for me or help me realize my passion as it translates into the workplace. Reading it made me feel frustrated and hopeless.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Only the last chapter was worth a look. The rest of the overly large and endlessly boring book was full of ethnic stereotypes and worthless suggestions. Do not waste your time with this culturally tone-deaf paperweight.
Seema Rao
Jan 17, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: could-not-finish
This book is full of quotes and ink-drawings. It has the tone of a Zen monk writing a leadership tome. I don't know if I was deep enough to appreciate its lessons (read 1/2). ...more
Alia Makki
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Love the mediation between the ideal and the real.
Apr 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: philosophy, how-to
A good guide and workbook. I picked up this book because I wanted to discover what is my true passion in life, and this book looked to promise that if I were willing to do the work. I made it through only half the workbook, but I read the entire thing. The workbook parts are a little reductive, but I found that working through the ones I did helped me to see myself in a new perspective. Even the ones that I didn't do asked good questions that got me thinking about my life's mission. Figuring out ...more
Feb 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing
"Zen tells us that if we want to be free to play, we must be done with the agitation of envy and shame. otherwise, we can be triggered, through prize and ridicule, into performing like trained monkeys -- without ever knowing how or why"

"For good thoughts... towards men, are little better than dreams, except they be put into action; and that cannot be, without power and place." -- Francis Bacon

This book to me is about how to choose and play the "games" that's right for me.
Kelli Pearson
Nov 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: business
Actually, I have not finished this book, because it's really the kind of book one takes in smaller bites. It's got a lot of stuff, and you might not need all of it at the same time. Parts of it have hit me as exactly what I need. Other parts probably would be great if I had the time to work through them. Still others, I'm just not there. I'll likely be getting it periodically from the library as needed, or I'll just buy myself a copy and carve out space on my limited shelves... ...more
Jun 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this is a big one and i will be referencing it for a while. really great follow up/ companion to Sark's book making your creative dreams a reality. The beginning of this book really sounds a lot like Ishmael which is what drew me into it. ...more
Feb 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first part of this book is about looking at work philosophically. The rest of the book is pretty much like most career guides, but the approach taken here resonated a little more with me than most of the others I"ve read. ...more
In my late 20s, I got partway through the very extensive writing and reflecting that this workbook calls for, and that's it. There's only so much soul-searching that I can do.
Maybe this book would be better for people with more life/work experience -- and thus more to reflect on...?
Feb 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone in the midst of a job search and is feeling overwhelmed.
Recommended to Adriana by:
Shelves: business
I remember reading this book and thinking, "Why were we not taught this before?" It made the job search, career search, more palatable. Took the stress of it and gave me a new perspective to job searching. ...more
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best career, self-help books I have read. Whether you are a career launcher, looking for an encore role or considering what to do in retirement, this book provides useful dialog and activities to give you focus.
May 30, 2007 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone wondering what to do with their life
A good workbook for those wondering what else they can do that allows their creativity free-reign while
getting them some money.
Oct 08, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: self-help
a lot of reading material. not simply a book
on finding a job or career. raises a lot of questions
about what we value as a society.
Steev Hise
Nov 01, 2007 rated it really liked it
good and interesting to some extent but like with most job-self-help books, ultimately not something i was ever able to follow through on.
Jan 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I've been reading this book for several years--a little at a time. It calms and directs me and makes me think. ...more
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