The Career Playbook: Essential ‘Advice For Today’s Aspiring Young Professional by James M. Citrin
[Note: This book was provided free of charge by Blogging For Books/Crown Business in exchange for an honest review.]
Although as I am in my early 30’s I am a bit older than the target audience of this book, I must say that there is a lot of information included in these pages that is immensely practical and ‘actionable’ as is the current term in use. This book was written in order to encourage and advise young professionals who are ambitious for advancement and also desirous of making a contribution to businesses and other institutions, and it succeeds in its mission, largely by combining the insights of the author (heavily driven by both quantitative and qualitative research, including a very large study), the writings of other noted contemporary business thinkers like Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg , and the personal comments of both seasoned business leaders and young professionals, pointing out the differences between the two perspectives but showing respect to all.
This remarkable achievement, in blending wise and at times even cynical advice with a generally humane and respectful approach, is what sets this book above many of its peers. Much of the advise for success this book gives is sound and not particularly difficult to implement if one has the will–treat everyone with genuine friendliness, work hard, have a good attitude, work well with others, focus on building up others, develop lasting friendships and mentorships, write down one’s goals and wishes, be restrained in one’s communication, and so on. These are not always easy to do, but if one has a goal in mind to live well, and to treat others well, then out of that commitment a lot of beneficial actions spring that, over time, bear fruit. This is not a book of instant solutions, but rather a book with a focus on the long-term, the legacy of a lifetime of excellent service and hard work and strong relationships. Of particular interest as well to many readers will be the way this book seeks to encourage strength in written and spoken communication, in interview skills and general personal skills, as well as present a case for the enduring worth of liberal arts and humanities degrees.
In terms of its contents, this book manages to cover a solid amount of material well in just over 200 pages. It has a long acknowledgements section, which is the sign of someone who does not mind thanking a lot of people who have helped him out. In terms of its main content, there are three parts: a general introduction to how careers work, a focus on interview and resume-building skills, and advice on how to thrive in jobs by building good relationships with others. Besides these materials, there are chapters on happiness (at the conclusion) and a great deal of material taken from interviews and research that point to how the perspective of people changes from the beginning of their career to the end when one looks back on a lifetime of effort, and that also demonstrates a wide variety of paths to success, all of them requiring hard work, patience, and the encouragement and assistance of others. Here’s hoping that this book hits its target.
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