The first time I read Po Bronson’s What Should I Do With My Life?, I didn’t quite like it. I liked the Oprah special, such stories interest me, and thought the book would just be as interesting. However, I got fed up with Bronson continually inserting himself in the story and put the book away in the bookstore aisle where I found it.
About a year later I see the book again in Los Angeles airport, just before my flight back to Malaysia (from Denver). Somehow the book attracted me again. I picked it up, read a few pages…then bought it and read it all the way through the waiting time and through the flight. And read it again and again.
Why the sudden change in opinion? Did I change that much in that year? Was it because I was going through a strong case of figuring out what to do with my own life? Was it a sign? Was it just a different perspective?
I don’t know. What I do know is, this book takes a different perspective on how people tackle that question. Most other books dealing with the same topic (life changes) make it sound fairy tale like; they had a downtrodden life, suddenly their fairy godmother appears to make a change, and they live happily ever after.
The stories in this book, however, aren’t always ended with happiness. Many are struggling with the choices they have made. Some are still looking for their life calling. Some know their life calling but are afraid to pursue it. Some taint their life calling with the desire o prove yourself to somebody, to be better than someone else, to do it for someone else’s standards rather than yours. All the stories are lessons of learning; of learning from your circumstances, learning how to make the best of it, learning how to adapt, learning how to make your own opportunity.
Bronson’s self-insertions can be slightly annoying; sometimes you’re wondering whose story is he actually telling. It’s great when he’s relating a personal experience, not so much when it’s someone else’s story he’s telling. The ironic thing is, in the book he makes a point of not wanting to interfere with anyone’s decision. Besides that, though, the stories are thought-provoking; they make you reconsider your own life, and ultimately answer the question:
What should you do with your life?
What Should I Do With My Life? by Po Bronson (ISBN: 0375758984) is available in stores and on Amazon.