Jun 3, 2007

Book Review: The Brazen Careerist

I was quite honored that Penelope Trunk, one of my favourite bloggers said she'd like me to receive an early copy of her book Brazen Careerist, and although it took some time and effort from her and her publicist's end to mail the book I finally got it last week.

First of all, I'd like to talk about the cover. It reminds me of the superhero comic books, and I think that's what Penelope is hinting towards, that we have to shed our mild mannered Clark Kent personas and become the Superman we were destined to be :-) I am a big fan of comics and therefore the cover appealed to me a lot. There's an incredible urgency and dynamism conveyed by it too. Hats off to whoever thought of it :-)

The book is actually a series of 45 'rules' that Penelope sets out for the Gen X and Y to be successful in one's career as well as in life. That's one truth. Careers and Life are not two-watertight compartments. They are integral to one's identity and impact each other. For that reason alone, read the book.

For me the biggest comfort that Penelope saying that in the start of your career give yourself the freedom of discovering and exploring. One does not really have the answers all the time of what one wishes to do with one's career. However, if you give yourself the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them, not look at money as the sole criteria for changing jobs, then maybe you will find what you are looking for.

There a quite a few rules that might not translate to readers not in the US, as business realities might differ from country to country. However, my advice to people, specially in India is to take the book and read it. It is a forecast also on how organizations and careers will evolve and we stand to gain from advice in it, before the reality dawns on us. For managers and leaders in organizations this book is a must-read. It would tell them what's important for their workforce are Gens X and Y.

My favorite rule? Rule No. 42- The New Workforce Currency is Training. I hope this book forces many employees to ask for training and therefore drives the need for relevant training from the organization's end :-)

As usual, Penelope's writing is as natural and as funny as on her blog, but this book does not feel like a series of blog posts strung together. It shows that it has a lot of research behind each rule, with thoughts and insights from a lot of university and career counselors as well as psychologists.

Do yourself and your career a favor - read the book.