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The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in…
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The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work

by Jon Gordon

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I’m always up for reading a book on one’s purpose in life. What spiritual reader isn’t? The problem is the topic has been overdone and the market flooded with such books. Purpose-inspired titles that I’ve read include: The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose by Eckhart Tolle and who can forget The Secret by Rhonda Byrne? But I’m left to wonder how the latest book on the topic can add anything new?

The Seed: Finding Purpose and Happiness in Life and Work by Jon Gordon was just published this year. This little nutshell of a book—a mere 143 pages—reminded me of Henry David Thoreau’s book Faith in a Seed, where he writes, “I have great faith in a seed. Convince me you have a seed there and I am prepared to expect wonders.” Though Gordon is not a philosopher or Transcendentalist like Thoreau, rather an author of bestselling business self-help books, he may have found an original twist on this old, well known adage: the be happy in work or in life, you must know your purpose and be aligned with it.

Gordon’s book follows the story of Josh, a midlevel employee of a respected company who finds he has lost his passion for work. Josh’s boss is aware of his burnout, confronts him, and offers him time off to decide whether his job is worth keeping. So off Josh goes to find his purpose. On his journey, he meets several people who guide him along the way, introducing him to the concept of the seed.

There are four stages of the seed: first preparation, second planting, third growth, and finally the forth stage, the harvest. In the preparation stage, Josh learns that anything one has ever done, all of one’s gifts, talents, lessons learned, lead up to finding one’s purpose. Josh meets a farmer at this stage who tells him that one can’t find purpose without adversity and challenges. “Adversity, for many, features a time of drought. Drought might include a time when ideas, money, good fortune, contacts, and success dry up. It might include a job loss or the death of a loved one or a personal illness…During such times, you feel like you are in a desert, isolated from the prosperity, health and success of the world…However when you progress to the other stages of purpose and look back at the preparation stage of your life, you’ll realize it was the drought that made you the person you are today.”

In the planting stage, Josh learns not to go looking around for his purpose, but to plant himself where he is, and give his all in service to others. In turn, his purpose will find him. I found this to be a novel and refreshing concept. Usually, the hero journeys out, sometimes to far away lands, as in Elizabeth Gilbert’s Eat, Pray, Love. Staying put is almost counterintuitive, yet appealing. Following planting is the growth phase where most give up, as it has the greatest resistance. Josh is warned that right before one reaps his or her harvest, one faces the greatest challenges. The closer one gets to his or her goal, the stronger the resistance.

At the end of his journey, Josh makes it through all four stages, and finds his own purpose. He discovers the might of passion and purpose, and seeks to teach others. One of the most touching parts at the end is when Josh shares the story of a loan officer of a mortgage company who told him that her job was to save people’s marriages, because in helping people keep their homes she would be helping to keep families together.

In the end, I found The Seed to be a charming little green book, worth the read for its innovative take on an age-old adage. However, be warned that the writing is simplistic, written for the level of an elementary school student, and ridden with cliché expressions. In my experience, sometimes these kinds of books are not the best written and oversimplified. Still, the concepts of The Seed and its ideas are well organized, well thought out, and stirring enough for a satisfying and thought provoking read. ( )
  yeldabmoers | Aug 25, 2011 |
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"A business fable to help you discover your purpose in work and lifeNew from Jon Gordon, the international and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of The Energy Bus, The Seed takes you on a quest for the meaning and passion behind work. Josh, an up-and-comer at a leading technology company, is disenchanted with his job. Challenged by his boss to take two weeks to decide if he really wants to work there, Josh takes off for the country, where he meets a wise farmer who gives him a seed and a promise: find the right place to plant the seed, and his purpose will be revealed.Through Josh's journey cross-country journey, you'll find surprising new sources of wisdom and inspiration in your own business and life. When he discovers where and how to plant the seed, you'll get a new sense of what it means to live and work with passion and purpose. Offers practical wisdom on discovering your true purpose, professionally and in life in general A business fable by Jon Gordon, the bestselling author of The Energy Bus and Soup Nobody captures the deeper meaning of business like Jon Gordon, and The Seed is his most searching and significant book yet. Whatever your profession, take this insightful look at the purpose behind work, and plant The Seed of inspiration in your life!"--… (more)

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