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Posted September 1, 2011 in Career Management, Communication, What We're Reading

By: Penelope Trunk

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Penelope Trunk wears the brand “the world’s most influential guidance counselor” and her best seller, The Brazen Careerist, is a manifesto of sorts for anyone looking to bust archaic career myths. Recently, Trunk bundled years’ worth of her blog posts into a hand numbered limited edition book. With post titles like: The Connection between a Good Job and Happiness is Overrated, Don’t Wait Until You Bottom Out to Make a Change, and Forget the Soul Search, Just Do Something, Trunk dishes out straight forward advice that comes from her no-holds-barred point of view. Covering everything from first careers to the myths of entrepreneurship, Trunk covers the gambit of career thoughts that any 20, 30 or 40-something is probably facing on a regular basis. The writing is quick and conversational and each “chapter” is about 3 pages long making this a very fast read.

The Bottom-line: Personally, I like anyone who can write a blog post titled: 5 Time Management Tricks I Learned from Hating Tim Ferriss (for those unfamiliar, Ferriss wrote a greatly hyped book called the 4 hour work week). Trunk draws on her own experience heavily as she writes about topics that most new and mid-career types struggle with. For example, many people hit their early thirties (especially if they’re high achievers) with a sudden feeling of dissatisfaction. I know I did. I started wondering who I was supposed to be when I grew up. (Which is a little disconcerting when you’re supposedly already at the top of your game). One of the chapters is titled “how to figure out what you should be doing with your life”. In it, she spells out a very simple idea to help you connect with what you should be doing. Essentially, go back to your childhood and remember the stuff you loved to do. I’ve done that exercise… it works. And, that’s what I like about Trunk’s book (and her blog). With the exception of her occasional bitter rants (like the Ferriss one), Trunk provides some really concrete suggestions that you can use to explore your career dilemmas on your own. It’s a bit like having a career coach asking you all the good self-reflective questions without having to fork out hundreds of dollars an hour. And who doesn’t like saving money and figuring out how to get paid to do what they love?

Recommendation: Definitely worth a hop around Penelope’s blog for anyone feeling stuck or needing a good career kick in the pants.

Check out the blog and Penelope’s first release, The Brazen Careerist.


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