Po Bronson


American Journalist, Author and Columnist for Newsweek and New York Magazine

Author Quotes

Oprah Interviews Po Bronson on his book, “What should I do with my Life?” A video clip can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKZFeMLWeqE

We've all lost something along the way.

There's a powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Peer pressure is a great thing when it helps you accomplish your goals instead of distracting you from them.

The world is full of incredible, rich opportunities. If you strengthen your curiosity as you would a muscle, by exercising it regularly -- if you can empathize with the lives of others, if you are willing to see a potential friend in the face of every stranger, if you are willing to suffer some embarrassment and discomfort, and if you are patient -- you will not be stuck forever.

The tougher the times, the more clarity you gain about the difference between what really matters and what you only pretend to care about.

The things we really want to do are usually the ones that scare us the most.

Nothing seemed more brave to me than facing up to one's own identity, and filtering out the chatter that tells us to be someone we're not.

Most people who are frustrated with their work can find help in a pragmatic solution - more pay, more flexible hours, or a nicer boss who recognizes their efforts. But many people also have philosophical and existential doubts that rack them. It's a deeper question for them, because they want to relate to their work on a deeper level. Nobody can tell you what you should do with your life. Therefore, counseling is a gentle art. When I counsel people who are in transition, I tell them, "You make good decisions by avoiding the misperceptions, fears, and fallacies that lead people to make bad decisions." And, "If you keep these misperceptions from clouding your perspective, your path to insight will be clear."

It's not easy. It's not supposed to be easy. Most people make mistakes. Most people have to learn the hardest lessons more than once.

It’s a real disconnect to assume that the way to a better life is something that happens only in good times.

Interests evolve into hobbies or volunteer work, which grow into passions. It takes time, more time than anyone imagines.

I'm convinced that business success in the future starts with the question, What should I do with my life? Yes, that's right.... People don't succeed by migrating to a "hot" industry (one word: dotcom) or by adopting a particular career-guiding mantra (remember "horizontal careers"?). They thrive by focusing on the question of who they really are--and connecting that to work that they truly love (and, in so doing, unleashing a productive and creative power that they never imagined).

I used to want to change the world. Now I'm open to letting it change me.

I used to use business to make money. But I've learned that business is a tool. You can use it to support what you believe in.

I think when a reader reads a whole book - which takes six to ten hours – that’s kind of a gift to the author. The gift of close, undivided attention. To who else do we listen so closely for eight straight hours? And when readers give that gift to me, I’m grateful for it.

I found that it's not what you do that defines you nearly as much as what you overcame to get there that shapes you. This is a journey of infinite variety that we all share… I am making a statement, taking a stand: your life counts. Regular, unknown, unheralded people count. The first step to breaking the ice grip of hesitancy is feeling that this life counts, that you count, that you are not meaningless.

Holding onto fear and other assorted emotional baggage is much like holding onto a 20-pound watermelon; you can’t get close enough to someone to give them a good hug.

Failure is hard, but success is far more dangerous. If you're successful at the wrong thing, the mix of praise and money and opportunity can lock you in forever.

Educational television had a dramatic effect on relational aggression. The more the kids watched, the crueler they’d be to their classmates. This correlation was 2.5 times higher than the correlation between violent media and physical aggression.

Don't start with "What am I good at?" People mature and change over the course of their lives. Traditional career analysis begins with the question "what am I good at?," but that's a moving target as you age. You can get good at whatever you need to serve what you believe in. You can learn Spanish. You can learn budgets. You can learn to listen.

Don't ask "Could I be happy doing that?" You could be happy doing any number of things. People are looking not for happiness, but fulfillment. Ask a tougher question - a narrower filter. Ask "Would I find that fulfilling?"

But I'd rather help than watch. I'd rather have a heart than a mind. I'd rather expose too much than too little. I'd rather say hello to strangers than be afraid of them. I would rather know all this about myself than have more money than I need. I'd rather have something to love than a way to impress you.

Books have been my classroom and my confidant. Books have widened my horizons. Books have comforted me in my hardest times. Books have changed my life.

As I get older, I’ve learned to listen to people rather than accuse them of things.

Addressing the question, “What should I do with my life?” isn’t just a productivity issue. It’s a moral imperative.

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American Journalist, Author and Columnist for Newsweek and New York Magazine