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Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success Hardcover – May 25, 2007

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Editorial Reviews


"A delightful book, with some edgy advice that made me squirm a bit at times. I agreed with 90% of it, found myself arguing with the other 10%, and was completely engaged from start to finish." -- Robert I. Sutton, Ph.D, author of the New York Times Bestseller The No Asshole Rule

"BRAZEN CAREERIST has the street-smarts you need to make your career and life work for you from the start. Read it now, or you'll wish you had when you're 40!" -- Keith Ferrazzi, bestselling author of Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time

"Penelope Trunk brings considerable savvy and a fresh new perspective to the business of career success. Bold and sometimes unconventional, BRAZEN CAREERIST gives readers much to think about as well as concrete, practical suggestions that will help them know what they want, and know how to get it." -- Paul D. Tieger, author of Do What You Are and CEO of SpeedReading People, LLC

"Take everything you think you 'know' about career strategies, throw them away, and read this book because the rules have changed. 'Brazen,' 'counter-intuitive,' and 'radical' are the best three descriptions of Trunk's work. Life is too short to be stuck in a rat hole..." -- Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start

About the Author

Madison, Wisconsin.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 201 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Business Books; 1st edition (May 25, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446578649
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446578646
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,061,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Penelope Trunk writes career advice for a new generation of workers. She explains why old advice - like pay your dues, climb the ladder, and don't have gaps in your resume - is outdated and irrelevant in today's workplace. She has a reputation for giving advice that is counterintuitive but effective, like take long lunches, ignore people who steal your ideas, and stop vying for a promotion.

Trunk is known for test-driving her advice before spewing it. Her own career choices have been featured by TIME magazine and the London Guardian as examples of the new issues people face at work today. Both the New York Times and Business Week cited Trunk's writing as especially in tune with this new workplace. In her personal life, Trunk routinely (often awkwardly) demonstrates buzzwords before they buzz, like the quarterlife crisis, portfolio career, and shared-care parenting.

Her new book is Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success. It was published by Warner Books in May 2007.

Trunk spent ten years as a marketing executive in the software industry and then she founded two companies of her own. She has endured an IPO, a merger and a bankruptcy. Prior to that she was a professional beach volleyball player.

Trunk started writing business advice when Fortune magazine published an open call for a woman to write about her own life as an executive. Trunk auditioned with a piece about her brother's stupid Internet ideas, and a piece about her boss's appeal, and she won the job. Today, she is a columnist at Yahoo Finance and the Boston Globe, and her syndicated column runs in more than 200 publications worldwide.

Trunk has spent roughly ten years each in Chicago, Boston, Los Angeles and New York City. Recently, taking her own advice about how to leverage scientific data to choose a job and a place to live, she landed in Madison, Wisconsin. The first word her baby learned in Wisconsin was cow.

Trunk is also a popular public speaker. This is true, but not massively true. For example, where she has spoken, she has been popular, but she does not speak all the time. That said, as a career advisor, Trunk realizes that a bio is not so much factual as aspirational, and she feels compelled to put an aspirational paragraph in her own bio. Otherwise, how can she advise other people on setting goals for themselves that are a bit of a reach?

She is dedicated to helping people find success at the intersection of work and life, because that's what she wants for herself. She thinks of career advice as a group effort - the movement for her generation ' so please email her. Or at least check out her blog, where she posts daily tips for making work life and personal life one happy, synchronized adventure.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

181 of 192 people found the following review helpful By GadgetChick on February 14, 2008
Format: Hardcover
From someone who doesn't have one, at least in the regular business world.

Yes, Gen Xers and Yers are moving into the workforce and redefining work, etc. etc. However, in most industries and companies, there are still baseline levels of comportment, behavior, etiquette, etc. that people are expected to maintain. I have worked for two Fortune 1000 companies and what I have found is that in many cases, the younger people moving in to replace Baby Boomers aren't rejecting their values and beliefs wholesale, as Trunk would have you believe, but adopting some and rejecting some others. Overall, I see more people buying into their own corporate culture and carrying on at least the major tenets than rejecting it completely.

Trunk admits on her blog she's been fired many times for a wide variety of offenses, including insubordination, inattention to her work, etc. One of my old bosses, who had an MBA from Stanford, said it best - always beware of people who make a career out of writing about having a career, rather than actually having one. I am not sure what credentials being a professional beach volleyball player gives you in the business world, but I don't necessarily think that being a professional blogger and getting one book published indicates someone is at the pinnacle of their profession, and therefore in a position to be dispensing advice to others. I don't claim to be at the pinnacle of my profession, but I can also say that I've never been fired for blowing off work assignments to work on freelance jobs. I've actually never been fired, period. My best piece of advice to any generation of worker is this: almost any company, big or small, is looking for people who make some attempt to fit themselves into the system, to some degree.
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55 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Read That on November 23, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Here's nothing more than a rehash of terrible advice that you can get for free by reading the author's on-line column. She seems to think that looks and appearance are what count, not skill or experience. Note that the author's career entails not working for corporate America; her thoughts on how to do little with the least could be helpful if Jim "The Cruise" Anchower needs another job to support his beer and weed habit. If you really think this could be interesting or useful (which it isn't) - be smart and just read the free on-line archive of the same.
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44 of 47 people found the following review helpful By A Disciplined Trader on November 30, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book was a disappointment to me, containing significantly more bad advice than good advice. I agree with the reviewer that said the book reads as the product of the experience of an upper middle class kid who never had to worry too much about the consequences of failure or unemployment (and unemployment is where you will probably find yourself if you follow her suggestions). Do yourself a favor and look somewhere else for career advice, because most of what Ms. Roston writes about in this book is not applicable to the working situations of the great majority of people. Follow her advice at your own peril.

In my opinion, you should not buy this book.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Leslie PJ on November 12, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think the book has some thought-provoking advice, but it's not applicable (or shouldn't be applied) by the majority of people out there. I was put off by the book from the very beginning, with the assumption that everyone can/should move back with their parents and sponge off of them for years before moving out on their own -- no mention of paying them some rent or anything, though she does say you should do your own laundry and not leave a sink full of dirty dishes. I think she's just coming from a place of upper-middle-class white entitlement that most people can't (and shouldn't) relate to -- it's clear that she always had her parents to fall back on if anything went seriously wrong, and she was also born naturally athletic and attractive, which landed her a gig playing beach volleyball and a ton of sponsorships to go with it. And I can't endorse her cavalier attitude about having a job that provides you with health benefits -- she basically endorses just hoping that in your 20s you won't need medical coverage. Packed in with some good, makes-you-think advice is a "don't worry, be happy" mentality that I think sets young people up for unrealistic expectations -- that if they do what they love and learn to be happy being poor, they'll be "successful" in the end (specifically defined as "being fulfilled" rather than the _old_ American dream of owning your own home, being financially successful, or having health or retirement benefits).Read more ›
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88 of 104 people found the following review helpful By Tax Whiz on August 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This book is just a mish-mosh of Ms. Trunk's weekly column on yahoo, where she spews some of the most insane "advice" I have ever seen. For example, she recently advised her readers NOT to report sexual harrassment because it would look bad on the person being harrassed! In another column, she advised moving back home with the folks to save money. I don't think this is something most parents would welcome. She's also recently advised female workers that it's okay to "show some skin" at work; to not give priority to work projects that won't matter 5 years from now (hmmm...I don't think any boss would take well to an employee saying "Sorry boss, this won't matter in 5 years so I'm going to pass on it"), and other such dribble. Her message is always "appearance matters more than substance".

Ms. Trunk touts herself as a career "expert" but if you read her bio, there is nothing that gives her these qualifications. She worked for a handful of companies, all of which went bankrupt or otherwise folded (even the company she founded is out of business); she was a professional volley ball player (not sure how that enhances her as an "expert"); and for a while she modeled advertisements on her chest. And we're supposed to take her seriously????

I'm not even sure she has a college degree (nothing is mentioned in her bio, which leads me to believe she only has a high school education), and she certainly doesn't have any advanced degrees, nor has she published any serious studies on careers/career-related issues (everything is pretty much her opinion, rarely backed up by serious data). I don't even consider her 10 years as a marketing exec to be anything of substance. How can you possibly be an "expert" by remaining in one field for your entire worklife?
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