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The Passion Economy: The New Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  532 ratings  ·  68 reviews
The brilliant creator of NPR's Planet Money podcast and award-winning New Yorker staff writer explains our current economy: laying out its internal logic and revealing the transformative hope it offers for millions of people to thrive as they never have before.

Contrary to what you may have heard, the middle class is not dying and robots are not stealing our jobs. In fact,
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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Nopadol Rompho
Jan 16, 2021 rated it really liked it
I love the concept of the book and really like the first two chapters a lot. However not that this book is not good, it provides a lot of interesting stories, I just found that it's a bit too lengthy and sometimes it went beyond the concept of the passion economy. Still I would like to encourage everyone who wants to work on things that he/she is passionate about to read this book. ...more
Garrett Haynes
I love the podcast Planet Money that Adam Davidson started and so does my wife. I got tickets to hear him speak in Seattle as part of a SAL Speaker series, but missed seeing him because we ended up going out of town that week instead. As part of the event I got a copy of his book The Passion Economy. In the book Adam says that he has coined the phrase The Passion Economy to describe the new phase we have entered into after going through the widget economy. If you want to start a business, due to ...more
Peter Schmeltzer
Jun 23, 2020 rated it it was ok
Not anything exactly groundbreaking
Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Joe Fox: "And that's why it costs so much?"
George: "No, that's why it's worth so much."

A fascinating discussion of the emerging 21st century economy, distinguished by intimacy at scale rather than production at scale—value vs. volume—that will potentially reshape how you think about business, work, and your goals and purpose within both.
Mar 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
Although overall it feels like it lacks depth, there are some inspiring and insightful sections in The Passion Economy. Davidson has identified companies that embody their founders' passions and thrive because they can offer 'intimacy at scale' that multinational bohemoths cannot. It's hard to say if his examples are exceptions or the rule, but they're a welcome dose of optimism nevertheless. ...more
Kausar Mukadam
Jan 06, 2022 rated it really liked it
Passion economy starts off a little slowly, narrating the journeys of (mostly unrelated) entrepreneurs who embolden their lives by finding their passion which came across as a bit haphazard to me. In the later chapters, author does a great job in explaining how the world is steadily moving towards a passion economy - our eating habits are tending towards more niche products, capital is more easily accessible to inventors and even widget companies are realising the power of a passionate workforce ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: economics, nonfiction
The Passion Economy : The New Rules for Thriving in the Twenty-First Century (2020) by Adam Davidson looks at various businesses that are meant to show how people have found their 'passion' and created a company. As someone whose passion is riding a bike a bit for exercise and then reading on the couch with some wine and a cat I was pretty interested to see how this could be monitised. Alas, this book didn't deliver.

Adam Davidson is one of the founders of Planet Money, which is a really good pod
Greg Janicki
Mar 13, 2020 rated it really liked it
4.5. For someone looking to validate passion as a purpose, this a inspiring read. Clear examples that show it can work... but you still need to know your value. Passion with no direction is a fun but short-lived.
Cory Pavicich
Jan 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
An early candidate for one of my favorite books of the year. It's like one long, thoughtful episode of Planet Money, read on audio by the author. ...more
Leo Cerda
Feb 04, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring yet action oriented.
Lots of great stories and practical examples to put his findings into place
Great read!!
Dominic Sagar
Feb 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Great way to look at the products and opportunities available in the world today. I must admit I’m off to find an OCHO bar. I would recommend reading this before you start a new job search rather than falling into your next job.
Logan Spader
Oct 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I stumbled upon "The Passion Economy" at my local library and...


I incorrectly blame massive school debt for preventing me from getting very far with my small business ideas. So instead of pursuing a career working for myself I am stuck giving 60 hours a week to a job that I hate for pay that is too little. I choose to sacrifice time with my family for a false security of a paycheck from my employer. I have tried 3 times now to start a business with varying degrees of success
This is about middle-upper-class Americans who would:

(a) avoid being shunted into a passionless office job
(b) keep the family business alive by going upmarket
(c) specialize a professional services or luxury good business

They "follow their passion", hence the book title. The author says this is the outcome:

"every person in this book finds that their business brings them something far richer and more existentially satisfying than just a paycheck. For some, that means they are more connected to Go
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
The Passion Economy... this book won't help you quit your day job, but will certainly inspire you to consider upgrading your hobbies and interests into a better career instead of a side hustle. Descriptive stories of entrepreneurs the author researched and interviewed reveal knowing what you're good at and what consumers want will consistently improve your brand. Supply and demand, essentially. ...more
ōē ā
Nov 17, 2021 rated it liked it
Not `the` kind of passion economy book that I am looking for.

I quickly scanned thought the book. There are a few good spoons of good chicken soups such as Eudaemonic happiness.

The effectiveness of content nudging.

and The dilemma of making employee irreplaceable.
Pablo María Fernández
I’ve read many articles and books related to what’s called “The Passion Economy”. I’ve always been interested in this tension between vocation -our true spirit- and our daily job, usually pretty distant from it.

Unfortunately this book uses the term in a vague sense: it tells stories about family businesses and big corporations accompanied by basic suggestions. I skipped through its pages because 90% of its stories didn’t seem interesting to me. Despite that I like a couple of them: how a US com
Y.S. Stephen
Feb 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The Passion Economy is a clichéd title for a book. However, there is nothing clichéd in its contents. This is a book that points out a shift in thinking with regards to how we work and conduct business in today's technological age. It explains how this shift can benefit anyone trying to make a living.

The Passion Economy documents the successes of multiple entrepreneurs who stopped thinking about their product as a commodity but instead, narrowed their focus and created a service for a few custom
Thomas Sedkowski
Jun 11, 2022 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nalin Savara
Aug 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Some brilliant ideas and awesome stories - which are marred by the authors tedious story telling - it’s as if the author is a good speaker but one who likes the sound of his own voice and his self important desire for attention means he will tell and tell and in a minuscule paragraph or two at the end of a chapter or section he will tell the big idea because of which he was doing all the storytelling.

I bought it one day after I binge watched many of the authors videos on YouTube ; as well as sep
Ronald J.
May 09, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We had the honor of interviewing Adam Davidson on this book, at: https://www.thesoulofenterprise.com/t...

Full disclosure: I'm in the book, but wasn't aware I was going to be. Adam tweeted after his appearance on the show: @adamdavidson I think of @ronaldbaker as, perhaps, my most unlikely intellectual influence. I disagree with him on everything politically. But his ideas about business are brilliant and I stole them so shamelessly that I think of them as my own.

The book lays out Adam's Eight Ru
Sagar Desai
The most interesting takeaway for me (and the book’s central argument) was that we are no longer operating in the "widget" economy, wherein the largest corporations with the ability to mass-produce commoditized products thrive and individuals have to climb up the corporate ladder to be financially successful. Instead, we are in the "passion" economy, wherein individuals can seriously pursue their unique passions and express their most authentic selves without compromising on their ability to ear ...more
Natalie Weber
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In this fascinating read author Adam Davidson artfully weaves history and biographical sketches and economic ideas into a colorful tapestry that is more storytelling than business manual. Each chapter uncovered the unique background and characteristics of individuals who are thriving in what Davidson dubs the “passion economy.” Story after story reveals how these individuals responded to the globalization and impersonalization of various industries by pursuing niche markets or meaningful ideals ...more
Wulan Suci Maria
Sep 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Many American companies have been survived in competing against fierce competition from China by shifting their business focus to niche segment. That is the biggest learning I took out of this book, aside from many tiny new information that I just discovered, i.e. ‘passion’ word actually comes from latin word that means suffering. It is interesting on how the author provide case studies from many companies to showcase the idea that focusing in niche segment will eliminate tough competition and h ...more
Aug 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
This is quite different to what I expected. I’d expected a lot about podcasters, bloggers, '1,000 true fans' etc, but it’s much more valuable than that as it is really about people who pursue their passions in other areas including finding niches in manufacturing, accountancy and more. The beginning is very practical, with some rules you need to follow (or at least be aware of), like 'Fewer Passionate Customers Are Better Than a Lot of Indifferent Ones', (which is admittedly very similar to the ...more
Feb 10, 2021 rated it really liked it
Focusing on price is a race to the bottom for all but the highest quantity suppliers. The rest of us should focus on low quantity, high margin products. The book then goes on to provide a handful of examples of companies that made the transition from competing with China on price, to finding low volume niche applications. Overall, a quick and worthwhile read discussing how to position your product, even if the product is you. It gave me a lot of things to think about with regards to career growt ...more
Brandon Jubar
Aug 05, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The Passion Economy by Adam Davidson was a fun read and I thoroughly enjoyed the stories he shared about various people who have followed their passion and created amazing careers and companies that run contrary to today's widgetized economy. Although the stories are inspiring, I would've liked more clear direction on HOW to follow and effectively monetize one's passion. He shares the "rules of the passion economy" in chapter two and then spends 240 pages telling stories that provide interesting ...more
Bob Colwick
Aug 29, 2021 rated it really liked it
Adam Davidson's usual gig is hosting NPR's 'Planet Money' program/podcast: taking a break from those duties, Davidson distills his biggest observations about modern macroeconomic theory into succinct chapters and explains them in bite-sized chunks.

Adam's grandfather was a lifelong employee at a ball bearing factory, his father is a lifelong actor; historically, these careers had little in common and lined up against each other in the "hard work versus passion" struggle. In 'The Passion Economy',
Lukasz Nalepa
Aug 20, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-work
I love vivid stories. In here, they are well-written, engaging, and they illustrate author's points very well. It was such a great read because of that. The downside is, that... this books seems to be only stories, and a couple of thoughts (a good one though) connecting them together. That's no necessarily bad - I don't think there's much more to be said on the topic, and the goal of the book seem to be mainly inspiration, but some folks might be disappointed by this I think. I personally had a ...more
Brian Fife
Dec 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
@AdamDavidson... If you happen to read your reviews, please join me in recording a podcast on your theories and my company Easy Alfred Powered by Local Links. I feel we have similar mindsets on elevating human economy to allow humanity to evolve.
This book speaks to me. It speaks to the idea of local businesses. We can have a great conversation. My company just started podcasting. Feel free to check it out on Spotify. And... Thanks being a bright light on great human potential.
Jan 15, 2022 rated it really liked it
A great book that provides many great stories and examples throughout history and modern history. The main gist is about how in this day and age, people can participate in the Passion Economy by taking something they’re really passionate about, identifying a niche, target set of customers that are willing to pay a premium for that product or service, and making it work from there even amongst large, global players. It provided a fascinating history on random industries from candy, to Amish farme ...more
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