The end of Work: Why your Passion Can Become your Job
John Tamny (Gateway Editions, $28.99)
Everyone, regardless of age, income and occupation, will find this short, pithy and wisdom-rich book inspiring and instructive.
Its thesis is simple yet profound: Greater prosperity gives more and more people the opportunity to match work with
passion, the kind of work that “has you excited on Sunday nights.” Critical to this “luxury” is a growing economy. “The freer people are to earn as much as they can and keep it, the more likely it is that everyone will have the opportunity to make a living from his own unique skills and intelligence.”
The way the author—a longtime and valued contributor to both Forbes magazine and forbes.com—illustrates this optimistic viewpoint is exciting and original. Sports is one area that’s been expanding as we’ve become more affluent, with vastly greater needs at all levels of play for coaches, assistants, training specialists, scouts and nerdy number crunchers to better evaluate players and prospects (the fascinating subject of
Moneyball, both the book and the movie), as well as for agents, lawyers, marketers, publicists and broadcasters—not to mention the simultaneous explosion in infrastructure, such as ever better and more sophisticated equipment, player-monitoring devices, playing fields and stadiums.
Many people still regard football as a game of lumbering semi-Neanderthals. The NFL and serious college football are both tough and cerebral. “Few of us have the intelligence to play football on the professional level,” Tamny notes. “Players have to memorize a playbook the size of the Yellow Pages.” Great football players— or those great at any sport—are intense students of the game. Athleticism isn’t enough. In fact, given the hard work and the immense physical and cerebral discipline necessary to master high-level college football, the sport, says the author, should be a major.
Tamny entertainingly discusses the creation of numerous new kinds of jobs, such as coaches for teams of video game players (one competition can attract tens of thousands of fans) and dog walkers, as well as the rising remuneration (often in six figures) and sophistication of traditional, once seemingly simple tasks such as caddying (pro golf caddies are trusted and crucial advisors to players).
With affluence, people’s tastes for finer things expands. Costco is today the biggest importer of French wine in the world.
Tamny closes his enjoyable work with this thought: “In an economy of individuals, we’re all better off when each person gets to pursue what most amplifies his unique skills and intelligence.”