Review: Ben Arment’s Dream Year – Make the leap from a job you hate to a life you love

book-coverThis review first ran in the Sept. 15 edition of The Hamilton Spectator.

Dream Year: Make The Leap From a Job You Hate to a Life You Love

By Ben Arment

Portfolio Penguin


Sorry to disappoint but there’s no such thing as a dream job.

It doesn’t matter how much you make or what it says on your business card. You’re not living the dream if you’re doing a job.

If you’re not writing your own paycheque, you’re making someone else’s dream a reality.

From the first to our last day of school, most of us are conditioned to believe our personal value rests on what we can do for someone else, says author and entrepreneur Ben Arment. We hit the books and study hard to get a good job rather than create jobs.

“No one ever asks you what you can bring to the world but whether you can fill a position,” says Arment.

According to Arment, a job interview is all about convincing an employer that your square peg of talent fits into their round hole of a position.

“One of the remarkable outcomes of pursuing your dream is discovering what you were born to do – your great gift. It’s not to be a cog in someone else’s machine but to align what you do with who you are. When you figure this out, you’ll find more satisfaction and make a bigger contribution to the world than any job could provide.”

So what if you don’t know or can’t remember what you were born to do? Dreams have a history, says Arment who runs a coaching business that helps people rediscover their gifts and passions.

“Your dream existed long before you were aware of it. It was always there waiting for you. If you look back over the experiences of your life, I’ll bet you can see traces of it.”

Maybe you were the entrepreunerial kid who cut lawns in the summer and shoveled driveways in the winter. You were the budding artist who plastered the family refrigerator with art. You were the performer who shone on the stage or the director in the wings who made the show happen. You were the fledgling activist who donated your birthday money, joined the annual park clean-up and started a social justice club at school.

“Your dream is not about starting something new. It’s about rediscovering a passion that was abandoned in favour of societal expectations, false security, ill-conceived motives or more comfortable standards of living.”

Discovering your dream is about finding your sweet spot, where passion, demand, platform and giftedness converge.

With no passion, you’ll run out of steam. With no demand, there’s no one to buy what you’re selling.  With no platform, you can’t build an audience. And with no giftedness, what you’re selling won’t be worth buying.

Having an idea is only step one, says Arment. Everyone has ideas and many people will have the exact same idea as you.

The key is to reinvent your idea and shake up the industry you’re looking to join. “An idea model takes a concept and turns it on its head. It changes how people engage with the idea and challenges the practices of its industry. It creates an idea that is not only uncommon but also more compelling.”

You also need a financial model. A dream that doesn’t make money is a hobby. A dream that fails to bring in enough revenues to cover expenses quickly becomes a nightmare.

Dream Year is a must read if you’re thinking of opening a store on James North, a restaurant on Locke, a consulting business for local nonprofits or dreaming of hitting the speakers’ circuit and writing the next great Canadian novel. Arment will show how to rediscover your dream and do the heavy lifting required to make your big idea a reality within a year.

Published by

Jay Robb

I've reviewed more than 500 business books for the Hamilton Spectator since 1999 and worked in public relations since 1993.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s