Master Amateurs by Kira Asatryan [7/10]

I don’t read as many self-help books as I used to, possibly for the benign reason that I’ve ended up in a relatively happy space in terms of “helping” my “self.” But “Master Amateurs: How Nonprofessionals are Poised to Dominate the Future of Work,” which lauds and talks to those who don’t follow a single line of work or activity, seemed to fit my current situation. I have multiple projects in hand in which I am a complete, total amateur, and I find such a life to be almost unbearably tough and exhilarating. “Master Amateurs” pays less heed to its subtitle (it doesn’t really prognosticate) than to survey a huge, diverse array of amateurs, both current and historical, through a typology of motivations, from a need for imperfection, through greed, through compulsion by personality, to innate curiosity. Astryan’s interviews are fascinating and easily relatable to this or that aspect of oneself, and she writes with an approachable fluency that welcomes involvement. Two of her many observations have lodged with me and altered my work habits, and any book that does that is a most worthwhile read. If you can see the labels brave or amateurish (they go together according to this book) apply to any aspect of your lives, this book is for you.

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