WHAT SHOULD I DO WITH MY LIFE? The True Story of People Who Answered the Ultimate Question

Po Bronson, Author . Random $24.95 (400p) ISBN 978-0-375-50749-6

In this elevated career guide, Bronson (Bombardiers; The Nudist on the Late Shift) poses the titular question to an eclectic mix of "real people in the real world," compiling their experiences and insights about callings, self-acceptance, moral guilt, greed and ambition, and emotional rejuvenation. Bronson crisscrosses the country seeking out remarkable examples of successful and not-so-successful people confronting tough issues, such as differentiating between a curiosity and a passion and deciding whether or not to make money first in order to fund one's dream. Bronson frames the edited responses with witty, down-to-earth commentaries, such as those of John, an engineer whose dream of building an electric car crumbled under his personal weaknesses; and Ashley, a do-gooder burdened by the unlikely combination of self-hatred and a love for humanity. Bronson wants to understand what makes these people—among them a timid college career counselor trapped in his job, a farmer bullish on risk-taking, a financial expert grabbing an opportunity to rebuild her brokerage firm devastated by the World Trade Center tragedy and a scientist who rethinks his lifelong work and becomes a lawyer—tick. He occasionally digresses, musing on his own life too much, and frequently hammers points home longer than necessary, but neither of these drawbacks undercuts the book's potency. The "ultimate question" is a topic always in season, worthy of Bronson's skillful probing and careful anecdote selection. Brimming with stories of sacrifice, courage, commitment and, sometimes, failure, the book will support anyone pondering a major life choice or risk without force-feeding them pat solutions. Photos. Agent, Peter Ginsberg. (Jan. 2)

Forecast:The galley features a hearty endorsement from Random House bigwig Jonathan Karp, and the publisher has announced a national media and print campaign, an eight-city author tour and radio interviews. A veteran of national bestseller lists, Bronson should be prepared for another run at the top, spurred on by buyers' New Year's resolutions.

Reviewed on: 09/09/2002
Release date: 12/01/2002
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-0-09-943799-4
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