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Finding Livelihood: A Progress of Work and Leisure
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Finding Livelihood: A Progress of Work and Leisure

4.41  ·  Rating details ·  29 ratings  ·  12 reviews
When we were young, they asked us what we wanted to be when we grew up. Those answers were our childhood dreams. The reality of adulthood is that what we are and do now is what we became.

Finding Livelihood is a book about work for grown-ups. It’s about not just the work we thought we wanted but about the work we found and the work that found us. It’s also about the work w
Paperback, 258 pages
Published April 15th 2015 by Kalos Press
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Mark Oppenlander
I have a confession to make: People give me books. Lots of books. I have a number of acquaintances who are writers, and they often send me copies of their books. Also, those friends and family members who know that I am an avid reader (i.e. almost all of them) sometimes send me books. And through my day job, which involves networking and community outreach, I meet more people who send me their novels and poetry and research and self-help tomes. These books often pile up, and it can take me a whi ...more
Nov 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
When I decided to write a review of Nancy J. Nordenson's Finding Livelihood: A Progress of Work and Leisure, the first word that came to mind was "impressionist". And indeed, her book on calling and vocation does not so much state her perspective directly as it leaves the reader, through vignettes of her own life and through other illustrations, with a distinct impression of what she is conveying. So subtle can the distinctions between her stories be, often interweaving two or more in a chapter, ...more
Elizabeth Andrew
Oct 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: spirituality
Marvelously crafted lyrical essays on the search for meaning, satisfaction, and joy in the gritty realities of work.
Aug 08, 2021 rated it really liked it
The number of books telling you how to find your dream job, how to break the code to find the work you were made to do, are many. This is not one of those books. It is for those who have moved beyond their late teens and twenties and have found that work is far more complicated than they realized. Nordenson’s writing reminds me of Annie Dillards—she weaves in metaphors and images from “the sciences”, literature, and Christianity, respecting the mystery that remains while grasping towards more un ...more
Ruth Everhart
Dec 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Finding Livelihood is a book of essays for people in midlife who are grappling with their livelihood. The essays are both lyrical and gritty -- lyrical in language and gritty in context. The essays are not chronological, but overlapping. Certain metaphors reappear. For instance, airplanes are prominent, as are plants and soil and earth. The world of medical terminology is almost constantly present because that is how the author makes HER livelihood. How often do we see inside the reality of anot ...more
Jun 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I found Nancy's witness to what work means and its implications for livelihood inspiring and thoughtful. I work in the human resources field in recruiting. I have a great impact on the lives of others through this work. Nancy helped me consider the many facets of work in our lives-- to satisfy basic needs for sustenance, and to fill a deeper longing for meaning. Nancy makes known her personal struggle with many of these issues surrounding work. The career path is definitely not straight, and it ...more
Karen Miedrich-Luo
An exceptionally well-written meditation on work with an eye on both the ideals and realities of what we do. Nordenson's reflections pull from her life and her research to draw out the reader's own contemplation of why we do what we do and how we are defined by our work, or the loss of it.

I read it almost devotionally, meditatively, searchingly; it elevated work to its proper place as a spiritual practice which daily affects us all.

Frederick Buechner, in his book, Wishful Thinking (1973), says, “The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” This must be the most quoted definition of vocation in contemporary literature on calling and work, the only problem being that it isn’t really true. It’s a good line, and it sounds good when you’re 19 (it did to me), but easy acceptance of this phrase is quickly challenged by the question of “what happens when the world’s hunger re ...more
Tamara Murphy
Jan 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
I wanted this book to tell me -- artfully -- what to do when I grow up. I am in a floundering season and this title looked promising. Instead Nancy Nordenson validated -- artfully -- the pain of not quite knowing one's own vocation. And, if suspecting, trudging up hill to make one's livelihood from that vocation. Each chapter works together, but can also stand alone as an essay, tying together seemingly mundane daily observations into themes of desire, doubt and calling. Woven throughout are the ...more
Dec 24, 2015 rated it really liked it
I love this book! Here it is on the morning of Christmas Eve when I need to start some cinnamon rolls and run to the drug store before family arrives with a toddler whom I love and whom will keep me very busy, but I've sat down to reread parts and a new chapter and I feel myself newly inspired to plunge into my work of cooking and tidying with zest. Before you read further, It is a book for adults who have already experienced the world of work. It is a book for those who love the beauty of langu ...more
Carrie Lahain
Work as necessity.

Work as vocation.

Work as expression of our deepest selves.

In a series of lyrical essays, author Nancy J. Nordenson explores the nature of work as a place of intersection between the practical and the spiritual. She does this in language so gorgeous, it’s tempting to linger over each image and turn of phrase. Luckily the subject matter pulls the reader through.

“Work” in Nordenson’s view, is a mutable concept, a series of competing imperatives that exert a constant push-pull betw
Apr 24, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: books-owned
This book is a book I obtained for free from goodreads giveaway. It makes you look I side your inner self to decipher what truly is good for you and fulfilling, making one weigh physical and spiritual side of decisions.
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Nancy J. Nordenson is the author of Finding Livelihood: A Progress of Work and Leisure and Just Think: Nourish Your Mind to Feed Your Soul. Her writing has appeared in Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Indiana Review, Comment, Under the Sun, Relief, and other publications and anthologies, including Becoming: What Makes a Woman (University of Nebraska Gender Studies) and The Spirit of Food: 34 Writers on ...more

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