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Callings: A Celebration of Lives of Purpose and Passion

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  1,094 ratings  ·  165 reviews
Stories of passion, courage, and commitment, following individuals as they pursue the work they were born to do, from StoryCorps founder Dave Isay

In Callings, StoryCorps founder Dave Isay presents unforgettable stories from people doing what they love. Some are paid well for their work, others not at all; some found their paths at a very young age, others later in life; ma
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Hardcover, 266 pages
Published April 19th 2016 by Penguin Press
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Average rating 3.97  · 
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 ·  1,094 ratings  ·  165 reviews


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Jenny (Reading Envy)
Jul 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you love StoryCorps, you will love this as its condensed versions of some of the stories told to them over the years, dealing with various elements of work and calling.

My favorites are the bridgetender and the tattoo removal artist.
Cheri
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016, arc, netgalley

Last month I read my first StoryCorps book, Listening is an Act of Love, and I couldn’t help but be affected by all of those stories. The stories in Callings: The Purpose and Passion of Work are similar.

I grew up in a house with a father who loved his job every minute of every day, even the bad days he would never have traded one day of flying for any other job in the world. I have great respect and admiration for those people who manage to find a job that pays well enough to survive on, and fe
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Tamara
May 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
I cannot get enough of these compilations. They make me fall back in love with humanity every single time.
Millie
Jun 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
StoryCorps gives you a glimpse into other peoples lives-- how they live, what motivates them, their challenges, and their joys. It's a burst of inspiration and a reminder of what makes us human. I recently listened to an interview with the creator of StoryCops, Dave Isay, on OnBeing. During that interview there was mention of his new book, Callings. Being such a fan of StoryCorps, I purchased the book right away and boy am I glad that I did.

Callings is a book about people, work, and finding wha
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Marie Corbitt
Oct 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
What a fantastic book! Full of people's life stories. I love reading them and feeling inspired. StoryCorps for the win again!
Jeri Rowe
Aug 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I had read Dave Isay's "Listening Is An Act of Love" a few years back during my days as a newspaper columnist, and I got much out of that book. So, with my new gig as a senior writer at a local university, a job that has me digging for stories that tell a universal truth for the many things I write, I figured I could find those here. I did.

"Callings" reminds me of Studs Terkel's "Working" because it's full of these colorful characters far from the headlines of the day. Every person comes from th
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Mark Joyce
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
With the worst of America on grotesque display on an almost daily basis at the moment, it’s refreshing to read something that showcases some of that country’s best characteristics. In addition to its core focus on professional pride and fulfilment there are stories here of dramatic social mobility and quiet, dignified heroism in the face of racism, sexism, homophobia and depravation. An anthology of everyday Americans talking about their jobs and personal philosophies is the kind of thing I woul ...more
Lizzy
Apr 29, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love StoryCorps and was hoping for a quick, uplifting read when I chose this one. This collection is truly meant for the audiobook format, since each person’s story was read by the individual author (which gave their words all the more meaning).

Some of the stories were entertaining, some were heartbreaking, but all of them left me with food for thought and something new to consider. Although I was expecting more of a focus on how different people came to find their “callings” and what makes t
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Michelle
Jul 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"...an inspiring tribute to rewarding work and the American pursuit of happiness."
Everyone has a story to tell, and I love hearing/reading them. I'm a fan of StoryCorps, and this collection of stories is "dedicated to everyone working to find and follow their callings. May you live with courage always." The unforgettable stories are of dreamers, generations, healers, philosophers and groundbreakers. I found them inspiring and motivational. Studs Terkel wrote that work is about the search "for da
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Kimberly
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed these personal stories on finding (sometime reluctantly) and working in your calling. It ended on such a sad note - working as a death row guard, spiritual counselor, and clinical staff. I wish I could I hear that part, but maybe I just need more time to process.

Reading this in conjunction with The Good Girls Revolt, which documents the barriers the women of Newsweek faced in the 60’s trying to work in their calling as reporters and writers.
Patricia
Jun 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
An interesting and inspirational book for all. I think the range of jobs presented and the ways people came to them would be especially useful reading for those who are trying to decide on their next career step.
Charlotte McKinney
I read this book as a part of the Summer Reading Program at Meredith College. I really enjoyed all the different stories and how people arrive at their Calling. Very inspirational!
Matt
Jan 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This beautiful book has much to teach. The stories told are lives in miniature. Each piece provides its own particular sense of wonder through the voice of the teller. There is much to love and savor about this rather astonishing little book. A true gem!
Laura
Mar 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
A collection of StoryCorps interviews with people who share what they do (or have done) for a living. Many tell how they fell into the profession, others tell stories about how someone whose life they touched reached out to find them and tell them. I found many of them moving and found was wiping tears on several occasions. The book is divided into the following sections:

Dreamers - those who were able to do what they had always wanted to from a young age or in spite of odds against them or lack
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Joanne
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Disclosure: I didn't read all of this; probably half the essays / stories. They're good. A variety of jobs and experiences, and several examples of how people started with one job and ended up in another that they really loved. Also lots of examples from women and people of color who were pioneers in their field, becoming experts not only in the knowledge and skills they need, but also against societal and professional skepticism about their abilities.
Gil
I first heard of David Isay in the On Being podcast, where he was interviewed by the host Ms. Krista Tippett in "Listening as an Act of Love". I discovered that Isay is the founder of StoryCorps, an organization dedicated to recording and sharing the stories of people from all walks of life. (I don't live in the U.S., and I'm a bit of a hermit from social media, so it's still pretty new to me.) I was moved by the podcast, so after I listened to the episode, I checked out StoryCorps and their ava ...more
Melyssa
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I enjoy StoryCorps books because they prove everyone has a story to tell. It was fun and inspiring to read how different people found their professional callings. It is an easy read because each story is only a few pages long, so you can dip in and out of the book. I think everyone could find someone to relate to in this.
Rachel
Feb 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully inspirational collection of essays. I'm really looking forward to my book club discussion of this one.
Melissa
May 14, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: listened
3.5 stars.

I love the concept of StoryCorps: compiling a history of the human experience by collecting interviews of any person.

This book features interviews of people talking about their life's work. The beginning was a compilation of stories from garbage collectors to oncology nurse and the end was a collection of stories from military service members and penitentiary workers.

The audiobook was interesting since it was a recording of the interviews themselves.

Worth the listen. Good stories.
...more
Stephanie
Apr 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love watching the Story Corps animations on PBS. This book is a collection of different Story Corps stories. Each story is about a different person's job. The jobs range from OB/GYN to a beer vendor at a professional baseball park. The passion the individuals had for their job no matter how humble was amazing. One of the stories was about a retired garbageman. He treated the people on his route like they were his friends and neighbors. He elevated a simple but necessary job into lifelong conne ...more
Tanya
May 22, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you believe every person's story matters, you should fall in love with storycorps, if you haven't already. And if you do, or have, buy this book, to support the storycorps project. Buy one for yourself, and buy a bunch more to give away as gifts. And then take someone you love to the storycorps booth, and record them. And if there's no booth in your town, use the storycorps app.
Do it. seriously.
Deb (Readerbuzz) Nance
Jun 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I've read several of the StoryCorps books and I've been taken with them all. This collection of stories centers on people who love their work. Given that I've always been a huge fan of Studs Terkel's book, Working, and given that I've loved the other StoryCorps books, I was pretty sure I'd like this one, too. And I did. It's full of powerful, moving stories about the work life of people in America. Fabulous.
Rick
Jun 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, memoir, 2016
I wish the interviews were longer. I'd start getting engaged then they are on to the next interview. They felt more like promos. I liked that the people they interviewed worked in careers you don't hear much about (prison guards) or people who have faced opposition in their pursuit of a career (Wendell Scott, the first Black NASCAR driver).
Madhusree
May 22, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a wonderful book- in the tradition of Studs Terkel. I have always loved StoryCorp and the wonder and wisdom that can be found in a simple heartfelt conversation has struck me as priceless. It is such a wonderful book to read before I drift off to sleep.
Lorraine
Sep 28, 2016 rated it liked it
3.5 Stars
Sarah
Dec 22, 2016 rated it really liked it
A quick read and easy to pick back up if some time has passed. Unique stories told from unique perspectives, all of which are inspiring.
Paul
Nov 28, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'd never heard of StoryCorps, which is evidently a regular feature on NPR, and I don't know why I bought this book, but it is a gem. It comprises narrative vignettes of (mostly) unheralded people of color who overcame hatred or resistance to become successful in a wide variety of fields, such as the man who established the first grocery store in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. These people are unknown heroes, and each brief narrative consists of a person being interviewed ...more
Stacey
Mar 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
There's an episode of Ally McBeal that has always stuck with me, where Ally is being unintentionally snobbish and pitying when she says something to the effect of her secretary, Elaine, being so smart but ending up being "just a secretary." And Elaine responds that not everyone wants to be a lawyer or something others might consider important, and she likes her job, thank you very much.
Reading Callings reminded me of that, and surprised me in ways I didn't expect. When you think of someone findi
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Erick Corona
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Patty
”The following pages are filled with the stories of everyday people who have found – and often fought – their way to doing exactly what they were meant to do with their lives.”

Apparently there are five books connected to the StoryCorps project. This is the second one I have read. I am so grateful to Isay for both the project and the books. I don’t know exactly how Isay took the ideas of the Works Progress Administration and updated them for this era, but he deserves even more recognition than h
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