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The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do it so Well
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The Art of Doing: How Superachievers Do What They Do and How They Do it so Well

3.37  ·  Rating details ·  407 Ratings  ·  58 Reviews
What really separates the best from the rest?

We all know that it takes hard work, dedication, and the occasional dose of luck for someone to make it to the top of their chosen field. Yet, we also suspect that it takes a little something more—but what?
The Art of Doing asks today’s most successful celebrities, businessmen, and iconoclastic achievers, “How do you succeed a
Paperback, 272 pages
Published January 29th 2013 by Penguin USA (first published December 25th 2012)
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Derek Neighbors
Mar 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
I was surprised by this one. I expected it to be a bunch of science around how to get more done. Instead it was a collection of thoughts from successful people about what made them successful. The variety of people, all at the top of their field, was inspiring.

The interviews give a taste of experience, wisdom and perspective about what makes the best tick. It was inspirational to hear many of the stories. I really enjoyed Tony Hsieh, Yogi Berra and Martina Navratilova (I mentioned the diversity
Jul 23, 2013 rated it really liked it
Fun book, loaded with brilliant ideas, methodology and common sense. Each chapter was written by an expert of sorts who gave us trade secrets to their success. I certainly didn't read all the chapters - let's face it, I don't care about being a game show prodigy or finding aliens, but my favorite chapters were about creating a company culture (the amazing Tony Hsieh of Zappo's), how to be a bestselling writer (Steven Dubner of Freakonomics), how to create crossword puzzles (Will Shortz, NY Times ...more
Mar 16, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If you're expecting life-changing advice, this is not the book you seek. FInd another Yoda. There are interesting tidbits about the life and times of high achievers and they will outline 10 key points to success in whatever they are known for, be it growing good weed or sailing around the world. It's uneven and random. Mind candy for the bathroom reader.
Jack Goodstein
Jan 30, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Short chapters in which so-called superachievers tell how they managed to super achieve--put it on the table next to the commode.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Quick notes: someone recommended this book to me, but I can't remember who now. I thought the title was a bit eye-rolly but its format was intriguing: each chapter covers a person who has achieved high success in their field, and shows you what they think are the reasons for said success. In many cases this is interesting, but after a while the patterns emerge and it feels repetitious. It was an ok book for light reading. No surprises: be lucky, work hard, keep going, stick to your passion, be a ...more
Dec 20, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: business, audiobook
This came across like a series of articles on achievers in different walks of life that would have been at home in a general readership magazine, like the AARP magazine, or Parade. The book starts with a chapter introducing the cast of achievers, but with a level of detail that I thought when I read the actual article about the achiever I already knew a big part of their story. This was a little too repetitive. The articles themselves consisted of a brief bio, some points about either how the ac ...more
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
A fun series of articles by people in a variety of field who excel at what they do. There's something for everyone in this book, that's how varied the articles are. There's also some articles that might offend readers, which is why this is a well balanced collection of wisdom regarding success.

What I most appreciated is that there is wisdom to be gained from an article that is far removed from what a reader may do for a living or for sport everyday. My favorite pieces were about building basebal
Jan 22, 2013 rated it liked it
This turned out to be pretty uneven. I first heard about it from an excerpt (or it might have been an independent piece by the authors) in the New York Times a couple of months ago; I don't remember any more what that piece consisted of, but I was intrigued. This isn't what I expected--it's a series of vignettes of author-proclaimed superachievers. Some of them are interesting and admirable, and have learned or stumbled upon life lessons that are broadly applicable. Others are too specific to th ...more
Dec 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
Nice vignettes from 36 highly accomplished individuals of eclectic backgrounds: athlete (Martina Navratilova), chef (David Chang), teacher (Erin Gruwell), neuropyschologist (Richard Restak), erotic film maker (Candida Royalle), activist (Constance Rice, who is totally unlike her sister Condi), entrepreneurs (Tony Hsieh of Zappos and Bill Gross of Idealab) and many more. I felt as if the book did not hold together as a whole, since the path to success is always meandering and the 36 people dispen ...more
May 05, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a book of 36 interviews with selected successful people from various background. Each of them shares their ups and downs and how they became good and successful at what they are doing. There's definitely a set of patterns as to what made them successful and Persistence is one of them.
Mar 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: self-improvement
Fun to see differing perspectives but not very practically helpful for me.
Matt Heavner
Nov 14, 2014 rated it did not like it
This was a collection of the stories of a diverse set of interesting/successful people. Unfortunately, it was completely unintegrated and didn't provide any real major insights. A few interesting stories and a few totally uninteresting ones (and I'm sure that because of the very diverse group of 30+ stories, you wouldn't pick the same set of interesting ones that I did). Each chapter was a brief narrative, then a set of ten self-reflective "how I succeeded" "tips" and then a set of interesting r ...more
Apr 14, 2015 rated it did not like it
Lately I've been more interested in business books, and in general thoughts on career and accomplishment, and what it takes to "gets shit done." Probably one trick would be to spend less time finishing seductive but pointless books like this one.

In part I was interested in this book because it includes a profile of the opera singer, Anna Netrebko. But I must say, but the profile had nothing I was not extremely aware of. I suspect to those familiar with the other subjects in the book would seem
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The authors of the book are so acutely passionate about exploring the techniques, approaches, pursuits, obstacles, and ultimately keys to success that it ultimately feels as if it was penned by Superachievers. The in depth interviews and unique detailing of personal hardships and triumphs is utterly relatable and equally inspiring. I bought the book and it was such a page-turner that I finished it the day I bought it. Surprisingly though, I feel as if I could reread the book down the line and ga ...more
Jan 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
These short chapters summarize what I call mini biographies/interviews with the "super-achievers" outlined in this book.
There are a handful of chapters that I found to be truly inspiring, but the rest seems pretty common-sense to me.
If I consider the entire book and put some weight behind what the title implies, I would say that in summary, this book gives examples of how anyone with a deep passion for a particular hobby, craft, gift, ect can be "super achiever", and the book uses some famous
May 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
"The Art of Doing" is filled with inspirational stories and advice for anyone who has struggled to find the keys to success. No matter your career or goal in life, this book will energize you to keep going. Each chapter reveals intimate stories about remarkable individuals' trials and achievements. The authors display the same hard work and perseverance as the people they interview in that they have tracked down such amazing individuals. When you are in the mood to laugh, check out Chapter 7 and ...more
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013
This book just kicked titanic ass. It was so fun to read, and every chapter except the one about the wine guy was so interesting. Who'd know that tightrope walkers, dog trainers, and women porn producers could be such interesting people?

This book is basically set up to let other people talk about themselves and what they do in 10 sections each. I think there are about 50 people. The author of the book is basically an editor that writes short introductions for each of the superachievers (I love
Feb 08, 2013 rated it really liked it
This ended up being a very fun read. Great easy-to-read format. The authors interviewed everyone from George Clinton to the man who walked on a tight rope across the Twin Towers - and everyone in between. Each person shared the 10 keys to success in whatever their field is. The reader begins to see patterns about what defines success. There are great facts, tons of personality, and many common threads - take risks, don't over think, disrupt conventions, believe in yourself. The juxtaposition of ...more
Kent Winward
Aug 02, 2013 rated it it was ok
Anecdotal mind candy that helps you not achieve anything, but be slightly entertained. You have to focus to try and find the little nuggets:

From OK Go: Ignore the false line between promotion and art.

From Barry Levine of (believe it or not) the National Enquirer:

a. Follow Ernest Hemingway's advice and leave off writing at point where you know just where to pick up writing the next day. I don't know if I could ever do that, but the thought was at least intriguing.

b. A gentle reminder for our d
Apr 20, 2013 rated it liked it
Lots of interesting careers and lives, chronicled in the form of top ten advice - everyone from a Russian opera singer to best-selling authors, with lots of cool people in between. I think my favorite chapter was George Clinton talking about funk. His advice on enjoying the pursuit of happiness rocked my world view a little bit. The chapter with Erin Gruwell teaching a class of kids where some of them had actually been shot was heartbreaking and inspiring; I actually had tears in my eyes by the ...more
Mar 14, 2015 rated it liked it
The book gives brief biographical sketches of prominent professionals from a variety of fields with itemized points of advice. The book is a reflection of formal interviews that the authors had with each person. The list of contextual information about each person and field/industry was an interesting Wikipedia-esque addition. The book is a solid primer for contemporary success stories, especially for some who are less obvious field-specific stars. A good starting place that could lead to future ...more
Jack Oughton
Dec 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A bunch of interviews yielding fascinating insights into fascinating people doing amazing things across a range of different industries - Tony Hsieh, George Clinton, Philippe Petit etc.

More open ended in its exploration of each person, the book doesn't really break down *how* they do what they do into concrete steps you can follow - but the insights into the mindsets, psychology and passion of the various people are really fascinating.

Recommended - humans are extraordinary creatures and this bo
Fidelis Satriastanti
If you want to know the recipe of superachievers then this book might give you a glimpse of what it would take. It's written with simple way and provide takeaways that might inspire readers. From tennis diva to dog whisperer to FBI negotiator to adult movie producer even to Jeopardy winner. They'll throw away the not-so-secrets of their success, which include persistence, determination, ready to fall, and being innovative.

These people are just amazing! ^_^
Enoch Chhabra
The title of the book is misleading. I expected self help format if not a scientific bend study on how people 'do' things. Instead is a loose set of interviews with 36 diverse individuals who are considered successful. The varied people did expand my thinking though each person is given 10 pages or so, amounting to only a surface level treatment of their story. Not bad too bad in the end but lacks depth.
May 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When I picked up this book I wasn't sure I'd like it. Boy was I wrong. There is something in this book for everyone. The authors asked forty-three people who have distinguished themselves in someway how they did it; these are very diverse individuals. Whether or not I liked the person or his or her field of endeavor, I learned something from everyone of these people. It was fascinating to see how each applies the art of doing.
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book delivers. Great interviews with some of the most successful people of our era (Alec Baldwin, Tony Hsieh, Cesar Milan, etc.). You'll learn each superachiever's "process" and what they did to get where they are today. To really drive it home, the authors synthesize all this info and provide the commonalities that you can use to become a superachiever yourself.
Tracy McKibben
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it
Kind of a cross between a self-help book and a motivational book. There is nothing here claiming to be the "secret to success". Instead, the book offers 36 (mostly entertaining) stories of well-known successful people and how they got to where they are. It's a fun read, and you just might find some inspiration buried between its covers.
William Lawrence
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: social-science
I liked the short chapters. Most of the features are good and interesting, but a few were way out there, so I'd question the definition of super achievers in the subtitle. Being a smear master at the Enquirer or a big game animal killer doesn't exactly match my definition of super-achiever. Otherwise, it was a fun and diverse read.
Josh Steimle
Oct 11, 2015 rated it it was ok
While somewhat interesting in terms of biographical content, I found the book quite light on that, and very light on details of how these extraordinary people did what they did. It reads not as an in depth investigation into superachievement, but rather as a series of very brief biographies that include a few quotes. What's there is good, but is about 1/10 what I was expecting.
Hemlet Kiai
Feb 07, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mylibrary
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Camille has known she wanted to be a writer since she was 5. She’s written for The New York Times and other publications. She is a MacDowell Arts Colony Fellow and writes fiction in her spare time.

She wrote "The Art of Doing" with her husband, Josh Gosfield.

Together (and separately!) they have learned a lot from their collaboration and the superachievers they interviewed for their book.

To find out
More about Camille Sweeney...