Amazon.com: Customer Reviews: Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the US Foreign Service, Second Edition
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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on October 29, 2012
This book is for anyone considering a career or close to someone thinking about a career as a Foreign Service Officer. It covers the up and down history of US foreign services, talks about the process to get in including information and study advice for the FSOT (written exam), PN's and the final interview process that is required to go from application to job offer. It talks about your health and security clearance and what sort of time frame to expect things to happen. You are walked through what to expect during the job orientation program (A-100 class) and advice for selecting your first tours. Full of facts yet a pleasure to read, the book covers almost everything you might be wondering about as a career FSO including salary, promotions and how to obtain them, how to pick assignments and what your chances are of receiving locations you are interested in, the value of foreign languages, which are more valuable than others and how to gain additional knowledge, what it's like to be a married couple working tandem through a career, requirements for advancement and much more. Their are also ample sources for further information and hints to suggest future trends in the foreign service. For some, the drudgery of reading the facts, figures and policies, etc., is softened by interesting real stories of FSO's in various situations, job tracks and career levels. I've written a rather boring review - my apologies - I'm currently in the process of writing the personal narratives for the application process so I'm in the habbit of limiting description and wordiness in favor of content. The book actually reads quite well and was exactly what I was looking for.
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on July 8, 2011
A truthful, sterile look at the foreign service. This book analyzes what the foreign service is and how it works, not what it should be and how it should work. I am thinking about taking the foreign service exam; I found this book to be helpful in giving me an accurate description of what the bureaucracy is like and where the service fits in the greater frame work of the US government. As I've said it is sterile, but well worth the investment if one is seriously considering the commitment.
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on July 27, 2013
First, I will discuss the reasons why I liked this book. Second, I will offer a constructive critique of what I thought could be improved in a later edition. Third, I will summarize why the overall rating is four stars.

First, if one is short on time and can only read one book on this topic, I recommend this one. The material is well researched and the writing is clear. I think readers will appreciate that the quotes are balanced. It provides an institutional view on a foreign service as would be seen by entry to mid-level officers but not necessarily experienced. There are adequate historical and modern updates too.

Second, I think readers would benefit from more information on the environmental, medical and familial challenges that members of the foreign service face. I would love the book more if it presented a balance of what insiders like and dislike.

Third, I still like this book because it is written from an inclusive perspective rather than an exclusive perspective of being an ambassador or a spouse thereof. This book is one of many highly recommended reads for anyone contemplating joining the foreign service.
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on February 13, 2013
I first read this book by borrowing a copy from my local library. Now, a year later, I find the material significant enough to buy a permanent copy as I move abroad. Well written, this is an inside look at the U.S. Foreign Service. An informative read as U.S. foreign policy continues to matter in the world. As Americans and voters, we should understand who and how we are being represented abroad. The greatest eye openers, personally, in was the history of monetary appropriation to the Service from Congress and the cooperation between the military and Foreign Service Officers.
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on January 6, 2013
Coming from someone who has very little background knowledge of what is going on in concern to foreign affairs and the people involved, I found this book to be quite straight forward and easy to follow. I loved the author's 'voice,' learned quite a bit and had a good time doing so. Definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in a career in foreign affairs/diplomacy or even the topic in general.
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on February 20, 2014
I'm a recent graduate from the United States working at a university in Colombia. I've given some thought in pursuing a career in a government agency, but never for the foreign service until I saw this book for sale on Amazon. The book is like an elaborate Wikipedia article on the foreign service. The books explains the structures, positions, and bureaucracy of the foreign service. I wish this book would have had more interviews from people in their field of the foreign service. The book lists the many different roles of the foreign service and what is publicly released about the roles' pay and chance of employment. The introduction makes it clear what to expect from the book. It's dry but this book will provide you a decent introduction. A recommended read for anyone contemplating a career in the foreign service.
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on October 27, 2013
I purchased this book a while back, as I was coming out of college and considering a career in the foreign service. While that ultimately didn't pan out, I found this book to be very informative about how one enters into the career of diplomacy. Not only does it go through the process, but it contains a number of personal stories about what it is like to live as an American diplomat.
Even if you are only interested in learning more about the conduct of diplomacy, this is a good guide.
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on November 10, 2014
This book details the history and evolution of, as well as the present challenges facing, the U.S. Foreign Service. This is the 2nd edition of the book, published in 2011 and very informative. The authors do a good job compiling information from interviews with various FSOs and show the good and bad of the Service. I consider it a must-read for anyone interested in applying. The authors explain the various uses of the Foreign Service and the current challenges of developing military and civilian cooperation in the U.S. practice of nation building in places like the Middle East. Current controversies are detailed, along with recruitment practices, policies for advancement, salary scales, etc. This book is basically a one-stop shop for information and contains pages of highly entertaining stories from the field. 5 stars out of 5.
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on February 20, 2015
As far as a study guide for the fsot (which some people take it to be) it's not the best. But as a guide to how the foreign service works and how life in the foreign service is, it's an invaluable resource. Definitely worth a read even if you're not looking to join the foreign service.
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on June 27, 2014
This is the go to book for anyone interested in foreign service. One can appreciate the hard work put into developing this text and for the internet links that keep it current. Inside you will read about FSO history and policy, about real- life examples and about descriptions of the career tracks offered.
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