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Nonprofit HR’s Blog

One of the great things about our society and culture is how things sometimes become useful tools even though they were never meant to be used in that particular way. Think about Arm & Hammer Baking Soda. Do you have an open box of it in your fridge to eliminate odors? Ever sprinkled it on a rug to get rid of pet odors?

Similarly, a welcome consequence of the digitalization of our lives is the creation of streams of data from the book passages most highlighted by users of Amazon.com’s Kindle e-reader software.

It’s become a new practice to observe which selections of writing that most moved readers across Amazon’s huge catalog to make note of with their digital highlighters. According to Amazon, millions of passages are highlighted each month.

Recently Vault took a look at the most highlighted passages in books that can be applied as career advice from a top 100 list that Amazon has pulled together.

Find Your Calling

“Those three things—autonomy, complexity, and a connection between effort and reward—are, most people agree, the three qualities that work has to have if it is to be satisfying.”—Outliers: The Story of Success (Malcolm Gladwell – #39 on the list).

“‘Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume that you are.’”—Steve Jobs (Walter Isaacson, #51 on the list).

Be Open to New Opportunities

“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts.”—The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Conan Doyle – #19 on the list). Conan Doyle ‘s most famous creation sounds like he’d be right and home in the internet age—maybe he’d have gravitated towards a career in big analytics.

Know Your Limits

“We’re fickle, stupid beings with poor memories and a great gift for self-destruction.”

“It takes ten times as long to put yourself back together as it does to fall apart.” –both from Mockingjay (The Final Book of the Hunger Games)—#12 and #4 on the list, respectively.

“Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”—The Picture of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wilde – #47 on the list).

Dealing with Workplace Issues

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.”—Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte—#95 on the list)

“Life in District 12 isn’t really so different from life in the arena. At some point, you have to stop running and turn around and face whoever wants you dead.”—Catching Fire (The Second Book of the Hunger Games)—#8 on the list

“When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity.”—How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie—#54 on the list).

“Parkinson’s Law dictates that a task will swell in (perceived) importance and complexity in relation to the time allotted for its completion.”—The 4-Hour Workweek (Timothy Ferriss, #63 on the list)


“EXPERIENCE IS what you get when you didn’t get what you wanted.”—The Last Lecture (Randy Pausch–#85 on the list).

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