The reassuring message of Great Work Great Career by Stephen R. Covey and Jennifer Colosimo (FranklinCovey Publishing) is that anyone can have a great career, irrespective of the line of work.

Defining great career: Much depends, however, on how you define ‘great career,' the authors clarify. To them, a great career is all about solving great problems, meeting great challenges, and making great contributions, rather than aiming for fame or fortune.

“A great career does not rise from a need for outside affirmation, but from within you, from your own curiosity, from your own unique mix of talents and passion. It also rises from your conscience — from the whispers deep inside that point you to what you should do.”

Knowledge era vs industrial economy: Today's knowledge era requires workers to ask questions, challenge old assumptions, and look at the old intractable problems of the world and come up with unique answers — unlike the industrial economy wherein one could do a job with one's body even when the brain and heart weren't committed to the job — the authors argue.

The authors also emphasise that knowledge workers are free to design their own life's work, and to unleash their highest and best talents and passions. The book, therefore, elaborately discusses two questions, viz. ‘What will be your contribution?' and ‘How will you make your contribution?'

The answer to the ‘what' question is all about finding work that taps your talent, fuels your passion, and satisfies your conscience, the authors explain.

Sum up the best you have to offer: Urging you to get the picture clear in the mind before it can become real, Covey and Colosimo recommend a straightforward exercise: Prepare your ‘contribution statement' summing up the best you have to offer to the challenges that excite you.

D. Murali