Stephen Baker

The Numerati
Home - Viewing one post

Pursuing other people's dreams

December 10, 2009General

Julien Smith has a thoughtful post on ambition and passion. The idea is that we often pursue goals set for us by others, instead of digging into our own minds and figuring out what we really want. This has always been an issue. In fact, it was a key theme in the movie I saw last night, An Education. Things grow even more confusing when you wade into social media:

Smith writes:

...Channels are so filled with hype, telling us what we need to care about and where to direct our attention that we can’t help but believe them. The people in this space are charismatic and smart, and everything they say makes sense. But they aren’t you or me.

The confusion comes not only from other people, but also from our younger selves. I think that many of us establish who we are and what we like in our 20s. Then we get jobs that appear to carry us away from those things. (I liked literature, for example, and the closest I could come to it in the work world was journalism.) So much of life is filled with this longing for this unfulfilled identity. And yet the journey itself changes us. If given a chance to do what we might have chosen earlier, would we? Or were we really more comfortable following one path and merely talking about the other?

I'm facing a bit of this issue now. I have a full year of severance and a chance to start something new. So I have to sort through not only what others think I should do (my book editor, for example, my wife, even people reading this post...) but also what I've always thought I wanted to do, whether I still do--and even if I ever did.

add comment share:






©2021 Stephen Baker Media, All rights reserved.     Site by Infinet Design







Kirkus Reviews - https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/stephen-baker/the-boost/

LibraryJournal - Library Journal

Booklist Reviews - David Pitt

Locus - Paul di Filippo

read more reviews



Prequel to The Boost: Dark Site
- December 3, 2014


The Boost: an excerpt
- April 15, 2014


My horrible Superbowl weekend, in perspective
- February 3, 2014


My coming novel: Boosting human cognition
- May 30, 2013


Why Nate Silver is never wrong
- November 8, 2012


The psychology behind bankers' hatred for Obama
- September 10, 2012


"Corporations are People": an op-ed
- August 16, 2011


Wall Street Journal excerpt: Final Jeopardy
- February 4, 2011


Why IBM's Watson is Smarter than Google
- January 9, 2011


Rethinking books
- October 3, 2010


The coming privacy boom
- August 17, 2010


The appeal of virtual
- May 18, 2010