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When to Jump: If the job you have isn’t the life you want

By Mike Lewis

Published by Hachette, NZ$29.99

Reviewed by Sarah Ell

If anyone can tell you when to ‘jump’ – when it’s a good time to leave your job and pursue your passion – it’s American Mike Lewis.

Lewis was a 23-year-old university graduate working for a US venture capital firm when he went to his friend, explained what he really wanted to do with his life and asked, ‘Is this crazy?’

His friend replied: ‘What you have in mind is absolutely crazy… but there’s a difference between crazy and stupid.’

Lewis wanted to become a pro squash player, so he decided to make the jump and turn his dream into a reality.

He started researching and interviewing people who had successfully made ‘the jump’ – leaving their existing careers and taking a non-traditional or unexpected step in another direction.

He started to see patterns and similarities, and developed the idea of a ‘jump curve’, an arc which maps out a successful jump.

This book looks at those stages, and uses case studies of ‘jumpers’, including a karate instructor who became a Hollywood screenwriter, and people who left high-paying jobs to run
non-profit organisations.

The stories in this book are inspirational and heart-warming. Not all the jumps are successful, and Lewis says that’s an important lesson. But he does say the jumpers don’t regret acting.

He says: “A jump is a jump. If you can’t do it now, write it down for later. And if you can do it now? Go.”