Book Review: Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk

Penelope Trunk’s book Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success is an excellent guidebook for under 30 year-olds who are trying to make sense of what they can and should do with their careers.

She presents quick hitter after quick hitter, every few pages introducing a new pithy "rule" such as "Be a Sponge" or "A Resume is a Sales Tool, Not a Work Summary" or "Hunting for a Job is a Lifestyle" or "The Difference Between Fear and Excitement is Breathing". Most of her advice is spot-on.

Penelope tries to be provocative, and she succeeds. And she does it with the same honest, accessible voice that’s made her a successful columnist online and in the Boston Globe.

The only weakness in the book is its lack of in-depth stories and narrative. For me, longer stories are a fantastic way to really understand the issues at hand, and more, I tend to remember the lessons well beyond 24 hours after reading the book. If you like longer prose where the messages are a tad more subtle and nuanced, I recommend you pair a Po Bronson book with Penelope’s.

All in all, though, Brazen Careerist is an awesome resource for young people thinking about their career. I also recommend Penelope’s blog. She’s a great person.

4 Responses to Book Review: Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk

  1. I love that…
    “The difference between fear and excitement is breathing.”

    That is so true. I remember many times when I was out on the pitchers mound when I was on the edge or fear and excitement…and I would have to tell myself…Take a deep breath….relax…and go after the hitter!

    Thanks for sharing Ben!
    Your Blog Rocks!

    Scott Bradley

    http://scottgbradley.blogspot.com

  2. Alex says:

    I’d be really interested in how you propose that we use the silly platitudes and generic advice that most business advice book contain and apply it to everyday life and business. Frankly, I don’t need somebody telling me I should “Be A Sponge” or “Use My Resume As A Blah Blah Blah” – I need somebody who can help me apply this basic knowledge to my own experiences and my own needs! Can any book do this?

  3. Martha says:

    Scott, I hate to break the news to you, but very few business books have the “meat” that you are looking for.

    Instead, I suggest a trip a different section of the library, the section where the classics are. Read them. Much more substance than the average business book. More wisdom too.

  4. Martha says:

    Scott, I hate to break the news to you, but very few business books have the “meat” that you are looking for.

    Instead, I suggest a trip to a different section of the library, the section where the classics are. Read them. Much more substance than the average business book. More wisdom too.

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