Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It” as Want to Read:
I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It

3.78  ·  Rating details ·  6,750 ratings  ·  228 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
Paperback, 322 pages
Published August 5th 1995 by Dell (first published 1994)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.78  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,750 ratings  ·  228 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of I Could Do Anything If I Only Knew What It Was: How to Discover What You Really Want and How to Get It
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 job ...more
Zarya Rubin
Mar 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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!
Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Mar 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
Sara Sherzad
Oct 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved the book, I loved Barbara Sher. The book and the author are on my favorite list from now on.

The book is for those whom can't find their passion in life, it's so practical and fun to read and soooo informative. It includes an amazing introduction followed by 14 fun and informative chapters nothing repetitive.

She had creative ideas and the way of writing the book is funny and smooth and simple but since it contained so many new information for me I took a lot of time reading it.

What's wron
Manal Saad
Apr 22, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 23, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 16, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 22, 2011 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
Oct 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I found this not only easy and enjoyable to read but very beneficial! The exercises, though at times tough, were fun and enlightening. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone feeling stuck in their careers, or in decision making about a career, and to anyone who has been putting off doing what they really love out of fear.
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was ok
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
Deb in UT
Sep 13, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was written in the early nineties. It feels a little outdated. The first few chapters are amazing and helpful. The rest of the book is a little harder to read (boring) because it addresses specific kinds of resistance. I'm sure some relate to the particulars in those chapters. I had to slog through them. However, from those later chapters I got some ideas of how to help someone else. So they can be worthwhile.

In the book, there's a lot about how childhood and other experiences can impa
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 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 08, 2011 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
Diana Pinchuk
Feb 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book helped me a lot, I couldn't even imagine how much ...more
Jun 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I didn't think much reading would help me find a career path I love— I thought that was what college was for. But after graduating college with no sense of direction, I picked up this book with new hope. This book has not only helped me discover what I want to pursue in life, but given me a new sense of direction, a better understanding of me and my past, and a hope for the future.
I loved this book because it was very practical and had logical, thought-out steps on how to get where I wanted to g
May 22, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought that this was a good take on being stuck. There were exercises in it I hadn’t done before and I’m excited to out the lessons to practice. I borrowed this book from the library, but I may need to buy my own copy in case I need a refresher.
Mary Beth
Mar 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I love Barbara’s voice and compassion. A lot of the scenarios she walks through in this book really resonated with me as someone whose previous career sort of imploded due to industry, uh, implosion.
Alex Ankarr
Feb 01, 2021 rated it did not like it
Shelves: classics
Loved the book, but in my limited experience with her Sher is not a pleasant person. Put me right off.

Gotta say, the book's still great, though.
Nov 15, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 13, 2012 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.
Nov 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
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
Feb 04, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Barbara Sher is definitely in the top five of my favorite non fiction authors. Her books are easy to read and promote active participation in figuring things out for yourself. I keep coming back to her work whenever I’m at a crossroad or feeling stuck.

I love her enthusiasm about all the possibilities one could explore in life. And I love her disdain for positive thinking. I can really get behind a life coach who promotes whinging and ranting and even throwing tantrums (and then getting sh*t done
Mar 26, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
May 22, 2009 rated it did not like it
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
inspiring 2 20 Aug 18, 2011 01:42AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Let's Talk: ...About Making Your Life Exciting, Easier, And Exceptional
  • Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love
  • Grace: More Than We Deserve, Greater Than We Imagine
  • Now, Discover Your Strengths: The revolutionary Gallup program that shows you how to develop your unique talents and strengths
  • What Should I Do with My Life?: The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question
  • The Procrastination Cure: 21 Proven Tactics For Conquering Your Inner Procrastinator, Mastering Your Time, And Boosting Your Productivity!
  • Write It Down, Make It Happen: Knowing What You Want And Getting It
  • Master Your Emotions: A Practical Guide to Overcome Negativity and Better Manage Your Feelings
  • The Highly Sensitive Person: How to Thrive When the World Overwhelms You
  • Tiny Habits: The Small Changes That Change Everything
  • Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters
  • Excuses Begone!: How to Change Lifelong, Self-Defeating Thinking Habits
  • The Personality Code
  • Do What You Are : Discover the Perfect Career for You Through the Secrets of Personality Type
  • Rising Strong
  • Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World
  • Никогда-нибудь. Как выйти из тупика и найти себя
  • Madame Moneypenny: Wie Frauen ihre Finanzen selbst in die Hand nehmen können
See similar books…
See top shelves…
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

News & Interviews

Need another excuse to treat yourself to a new book this week? We've got you covered with the buzziest new releases of the day. To create our...
17 likes · 2 comments
“What you're really supposed to be doing is whatever makes your heart sing.” 48 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.” 31 likes
More quotes…