The end of Work: Why your Pas­sion Can Be­come your Job

John Tamny (Gate­way Edi­tions, $28.99)

Forbes - - FACT & COMMENT -

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—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.”

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