The Clarity of the Craftsman

My main issue with Newport’s idea of ‘the craftsman’s mindset’ is that it assumes that people have work that they are passionate about doing. It assumes that we all have a great idea, and that it just needs work, work, work in order to be a great product. For myself, this isn’t true. I can’t think of one creative idea that I’m passionate about at the moment. Yes, if I find one, the craftsman’s mindset may work for me as a creator, but until then, the theory has no standing in my professional life.

My second issue with Newman’s theory is that it assumes that all creative people are creators. I think it is entirely possible to be a creative person who simply likes to work with, or under, or for, other people. I find that helping someone else finish a passion project of theirs can be just as rewarding as working on my own. I get to be given direction, I don’t have the pressure of being the creator, but I get to see great ideas come to fruition, and this probably comes under Newman’s idea of the passion mindset.

On another, more positive note, I loved that this reading mentioned Steve Martin’s brilliant memoir, Born Standing Up. I read Born Standing Up in my first semester of uni, and it really did help me realise that I wasn’t going to get anywhere unless I applier myself completely to getting better. I’d recommend the book to any creative type, any fan of Steve Martin’s, or pretty much any person. It’s safe to say I love it, and it’s one of my favourite books.



Cal Newport, 2012, ‘The Clarity of the Craftsman’ in So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work, NY Business Plus, ch.4.

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