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Don't Quit Your Day Job: What the Famous Did That Wasn't

Price: $34.00 Now $19.95 Save 41%
Item: RB1395
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION
Read Steve's blog about the book—click here
Click here to read some excerpts

50 famously productive people and what they did for love

If you've ever worked at a job you never dreamed you'd do, you're in good company—historically speaking. Isaac Newton created counterfeit-proof coins, Daniel Defoe made bricks, William Faulkner sold stamps, Hedy Lamarr conquered random radio-frequency signals. They are among the 50 luminaries spanning 22 centuries that Jack Lynch profiles in our Levenger Press book, Don't Quit Your Day Job. The takeaway? Doing what you must can often make you better at doing what you love. And doing what you can is sometimes the path to doing what you dream you can. As one of the famous 50 said, “Medicine is my lawful wife, literature is my mistress.” (Dr. Anton Chekhov.) With very cool illustrations and a treasury of “who knew?”

Take our Day Job quiz

Match the famous with their not-so-famous other job.

1. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson         a. stockbroker
2. Vladimir Nabokov                         b.mycologist
3. Beatrix Potter                               c. bookkeeper
4. Nathaniel Hawthorne                   d. mathematician
5. Jules Verne                                 e. lepidopterist

Answers:
1d, 2e, 3b, 4c, 5a. (Charles Lutwidge Dodgson was also known as Lewis Carroll.)

  • The famous 50 include writers, musicians, philosophers, scientists, and the occasional politician and sportsman
  • See the full list of the famous 50 when you click the PDF link below
  • Bonus: the book is also a collection of bite-size bios that are authoritative yet entertaining
  • Jack Lynch, the author of The Lexicographer's Dilemma and the editor of Samuel Johnson's Dictionary, is a professor of English at Rutgers University and a marvelous storyteller
  • Indexes by both name and professions
  • Bibliography with suggested reading for each luminary
  • Hardcover with ribbon marker
  • Archival-quality paper
  • Cleverly illustrated in a stylized black-and-white
  • 320 pages, 5 1/2 x 8
  • Not in the bookstores—only at Levenger
  • To view table of contents, please click here (PDF)
Dont Quit Your Day Job 4.9 5 11 11
Great book I love this book! I keep it on my desk and pick it up to read a story every now and then when I am slogging through a tough day at work. The book is nicely laid out and easy to read a single story in just a few minutes. I may grab one of these for some friends. August 14, 2014
Not only recommend... bought for a friend Although I hope to borrow it back to read myself when she is through! A great Christmas gift that will stand out in a sea of gift cards...perfect for my entrepreneurial friend who will relate. November 24, 2013
Get inspired! I don't think Jack Lynch meant to write Don't Quit Your Day Job as an inspirational book but that's just what it became for me! I loved learning about the double lives of these famous folks and was impressed with their dedication to whole new careers (like Julia Child...from spy to gourmet chef!). I happen to love my day job, but I also care deeply about another passion - writing. When fretting to a mentor once about how to divide my time and thinking it had to be an either/or type decision, she graciously and wisely said, "Why not do both?" I smiled and took her advice to heart. Read Don't Quit Your Day Job for many reasons. It will make you smile at all the possibilities this one life of ours holds. October 8, 2010
Accessible Scholarship Amazes "Jack Lynch has produced a simply flawless new book." These words to my circle of bibliophiles led to a rugby scrum to claim the next spot on the reading list. "Day Job" combines the keen scholarship of Lynch's more academic tomes with broad and ready wit which must surely enliven his his own day job, teaching at Rutgers. I expected a quick "bathroom reader" sort of book, with a few surprises here or there. Instead I found and endlessly readable, laugh out loud funny look with through its depth and breadth adds real insight to the characters who pursued such diverse careers while becoming famous doing whatever else. There are no fillers and no favorites- the book is shockingly solid from well-deigned cover to cover. My 13-year old daughter giggled and nodded in appreciation of Lynch's humor and his insights all through it, as did my fellow SMU grad students. I cannot imagine a more completely realized book of this sort, nor can I recommend it more highly. Purchase this book immediately, and get one for the friends who will be hanging over your shoulder sneaking peeks as well. September 14, 2010
Witty and informative This book is delightful. It's a really lovely combination of sprightliness and scholarship. You can read it in chronological order, and that's rewarding, because some themes and jokes get developed through the course of the book, and it's interesting to see the amount of available information increasing as one nears one's own time. But it's most entertaining to just dip into at random, or to choose a career or personage from the useful lists at the back, depending on one's mood. The author is scrupulous about missing information -- there's a strong tradition that Socrates was a stonemason, but no evidence; Lynch uses what evidence there is, in the Socratic dialogues, to conclude that Socrates had knowledge of a lot of trades, including but not limited to stonemasonry. There are a lot of lovely nuggets of information in the book. I did not know, for example, that Daniel DeFoe, in addition to his acknowledged fiction, wrote government propaganda, frankly inventing stuff about people the government wanted to discredit. My only complaint is that Shakespeare isn't in here. He was an actor-manager, after all. But his story has been extensively covered elsewhere, and I wouldn't really give up anyone else's story for his. September 12, 2010
I won't quit my day job! I thought I was one of the few people who pulled "double duty" with two very different jobs, one during the day and one at night. This book not only lets me know I'm not alone, but that some real titans have done the same, often being tremendously successful in multiple careers. Reading this book has been truly inspirational. There are so many reasons that I like this book. First, it is simply a fun read. If you’ve read Bill Bryson’s “A Short History of Nearly Everything”, “Don’t Quit” is a great companion piece. Jack Lynch often delves further where Mr. Bryson must leave off. Both were fun and interesting reads, keeping me engaged and often smiling. I also like how Mr. Lynch moves through each story, though I sometimes wish I could read more, but then I can because the references for each chapter give the reader a great jumping off point to gain more about each person. I started reading from front to back but then found I wanted to jump around and read about different people. The flow from chapter to chapter is great but you can jump and read about a favorite and then return to your place thanks to the handy bookmark. The chapters are short and stand on their own so it is easy to spend a few minutes reading about one or two persons and look forward to reengaging later. Mr. Lynch has done his homework and created a very interesting and enjoyable book. It is very well presented with quality construction and complementary artwork. I highly recommend this fun and inspirational work about so many famous multitaskers. September 6, 2010
Encouraging words and really enjoyable read I'm trained in the fine arts but am currently working in finance due to the job situation so I found the underlying message of this book reassuring. And I think it's a great book for young people who are just starting their career paths to know that there may be some twists and turns in the road but you can put it all to good use if you put your mind to it. As an artist who specializes in textiles, I commend you on the way you produce your books. I can't believe you actually do stitch binding - the paper was beautiful and I don't think you find this kind of quality in most books. Keep up the good work. September 6, 2010
A Great Read on an Interesting Subject People often think that the famous are somehow different, that they exist on some isolated plane of existence untouched by mundane concerns such as making a living. This book dispels that myth in the most entertaining way possible, telling the fascinating stories of fifty famous people and the careers that didn’t make them famous. Some of them are surprising (Philip Glass as both a plumber and taxi driver, for example) and some of them just make sense (Franz Kafka was a lawyer for an insurance company, and really what else could he have possibly have been?), but all are presented in short, well-written chapters perfect for dipping into here and there. Be warned, though – Jack Lynch knows how to tell a story and how to stand aside when the story tells itself. You may intend to read only one chapter, but you will find yourself saying, “Just one more!” until you suddenly come to the end and wish the book were longer. Highly recommended. September 5, 2010
Great read and a terrific gift Per the author's advice, I'm keeping my day job, but this enlightening read inspires me to pursue my passions beyond the 9 - 5 world. Lynch's work is encyclopedic in the range of knowledge the author demonstrates, while at the same time the writing is funny and relaxed, as if you were chatting with the author over dinner. What's particularly interesting is how many myths about famous people that the book debunks (or at least calls into question). The short chapters make "Don't Quit Your Day Job" great to pick up and open to any chapter and just read for amusement as well as tidbits to bring up in conversation. I can already think of four people who would love this book as a gift. Lynch may be keeping his day job, but in his spare time here's hoping he also keeps producing wonderful works like this (and his earlier Becoming Shakespeare). September 4, 2010
There is fun to be had! With sections titled “Of escargot and espionage,” “The cartoonist in cubical 45700R” and “A really bitchen’ Grand Unified Theory,” you know there is fun to be had while you lean about Julia Child, the creator of Dilbert, and Dr. Antony Garrett Lisi, a surfing physicist. Don’t Quit Your Day Job is an enjoyable, playful ,and informative read that can be devoured from cover-to-cover (in one sitting as I did while reading aloud bits to my family), or dipped into by whim or interest. When sharing the book with my college students, I let them search the Index of Jobs from which they selected our after-class-hang-out-in-the-quad read. We are still working our way through “Spy”; there are four entries for this job. I recommend this book to folks who like to have fun learning about the unexpected turns life offers us all, including the famous. Next week my class will learn why “Baseball’s best spy never got caught.” This book is a home run. September 2, 2010
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