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Grindhopping: Building a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues Paperback – November 28, 2006

12 customer reviews

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Grindhopping: Building a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues + 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think + What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast: And Two Other Short Guides to Achieving More at Work and at Home
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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

If the Corporate Grind is Keeping You Down, Skip It!

Grindhopping is the hottest career alternative for anyone who wants to skip the long hours, low pay, and lackluster rewards of entry-level corporate jobs. Join the wave of young professionals who are starting their own companies, freelancing, consulting, job-hopping, and networking their way to success.

Discovering Grindhopping will help you

get up and go after your dreams.

get off the corporate treadmill.

get out of the job you hate.

get paid for the work you love.

get better at negotiating.

get savvy about networking.

get smart about taking risks.

get in on the biggest opportunities.

get hopping and make it happen!

About the Author

Laura Vanderkam, a full-time writer and Grindhopper, is a member of USA TODAY's board of contributors, and a contributing editor at Reader's Digest. Visit for more information.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (November 28, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071479333
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071479332
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,767,049 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Laura Vanderkam is the author of the forthcoming book I Know How She Does It: How Successful Women Build Lives That Work (Portfolio, June 9, 2015). Based on a time diary study of 1001 days in the lives of professional women and their families, this book takes a practical approach to the question of how people combine work and family while enjoying their own sweet time too.

Laura is also the author of What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast (Portfolio, 2013), 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Portfolio, 2010), and All the Money in the World: What the Happiest People Know About Wealth (Portfolio, 2012). She is also the author of a novel, The Cortlandt Boys, available as an ebook.

Laura is a frequent contributor to Fast Company's website and a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Reader's Digest, City Journal, Fortune, and Prevention.

A 2001 graduate of Princeton, Laura enjoys running and singing and serves as the president of the board of trustees for the Young New Yorkers' Chorus. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and four children. She blogs daily at:

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Daniel-Son on August 20, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Well, I must say, there are alot of 5 star reviews. I read this book several times over and over. Vanderkam certainly has a convincing argument for why the corporate ladder is broken, and how employment (by others) is no guarantee for happiness. However, I am not 100% sold on her prescription: "spoiler alert" follow your childhood dream and live like a pauper for awhile until you make it work.

The problem with this, is that not everybody has that dream that they've kept inside as a little kid. I certainly didn't, and this book was a painful read in that respect. And besides, if you're dream is to be a doctor, well, sorry, you're going to have to pay your dues. This book is either not helpful to people who don't know what they want to do with their life, or just a blank check to those who need permission to follow their dreams, which probably they were just waiting for a push in the right direction!

The other problem I have with her book, is that she presents these ideas as if they are totally new to the world. I'm pretty sure people have been following their dreams for a long time before this. The internet makes their dreams more a reality, but that's thanks to and others doing the hard research, not Vanderkam.

I'm sorry, I might suggest worth a cheap read from your local library, I wouldn't pay your hard-earned cash for it! Then again I might suggest you be suspicious of books with only 5 star ratings :)
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on March 9, 2007
Format: Paperback

1. Hopping out of the corporate grind and into the work you want.

2. Building a rewarding career without paying your dues.

For the most part, the author is talking about developing skills that will allow you to "hop" into the corporate world at the point YOU want to without putting in all those years of meaningless drudgery and traditional corporate ladder climbing.

The author lays out the characteristics essential to successful Grindhopping, urging her readers to follow their dream and get someone else to pay you to do it. She offers as much 'sage' advice as a 29-year-old can, and gives illustrative examples of her points, shoring them up with statistics. But, I wonder if the 'reader' is hearing what she is saying.

While the external environment and internal motivation may differ between the true Grindhopper and the corporate ladder climber, many of the character traits and advice for success apply to both.

Grindhoppers are people who either by desire to be their own boss or lack of options, have a combined fiscal acumen, the ability to long-range plan and set goals, with a lot of self-control to succeed at controlling their own career destiny, much like the corporate climber.

The advice offered for potential Grindhoppers--know where you're going, work hard, network, get experience, stay ahead of the curve, pay attention to detail--has a vague business school ring to it.

The difference is that the Grindhopper IS the boss - either of her one-woman operation or of others who desire to climb her company's ladder!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By JP on May 13, 2007
Format: Paperback
Vanderkam offers practical advice for jumping out of the world of the 9-to-5, bosses, and the low and middle rungs of the corporate ladder. The title of the first chapter illustrates the author's straightforward tone and approach for the rest of the book: "Always Be Your Own Boss: No compromises, no excuses". She offers compelling reasons to take this path and practical advice for getting there (e.g. how to find reasonable health insurance, how to keep expenses down, and how to maintain multiple projects in the "Craig's List Economy" to keep the money coming in). Vanderkam draws on her personal experience as a freelance writer as well as a number of case studies of "Grindhoppers" who have found success or are on their way. She also addresses the downsides and risks of striking out on your own head-on and offers sound and empathetic advice for dealing with these. But she also confronts the downsides and risks of staying in the grind to your long term career success and satisfaction.

As with other career/entrepreneur books, Vanderkam stresses the importance of planning, goal setting, saving money, and, of course, networking. Yet, she delivers her advice and personal experiences in a way that feels somehow more authentic than with other books I've read. For example, in the networking chapter, she talks about her own tendencies towards shyness and how she overcomes and works around these. She opens up her own life and experiences to the reader just enough and in a way that is not self-indulgent. She succeeds in striking the right balance between focusing on her case studies and her own trials, tribulations, and successes in the world outside of the grind. Her writing is honest, and at times refreshingly quirky. (Check out the section on hunting mastodon and you'll see what I'm talking about.) Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Druman on May 1, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could be defined as a grindhopper and have been running a business online for years while living abroad, so I am naturally drawn to and read books on this type of subject a lot.

Honestly, I don't see why all the 5 stars on this one. I found it full of truisms, many of which were debatable, and very little actionable information. At the end, there's a pitch for a forum built around the book's subject (as would be expected these days, so no problem there), and I went to check it out to see if I could at least leverage a new place to network with like-minded individual's, but it didn't exist anymore. I take that as a sign that other "grindhoppers" like me were also less than enthusiastic about the book.

This is my first review on Amazon (I think), which might seem suspicious, and I try not to be negative even when I read books I'm not enthused with, but I also feel responsibility to share my opinion on this one with other people who are on the fence. I only have so much time in the day, so when I read books like this, I want them to contribute to my business; I imagine others feel the same.

I almost didn't even finish the book, which is very rare for me, but picked it up today to push through and see if there would be an "aha" moment making it worth the price. It's been a while since I bought it, but I'm going to see if I can get my money back on this one.

I think its heart was in the right place, but too many authors these days seem more concerned about getting another book under their belt than making it a valuable contribution and worthwhile read. I see that as a product of our culture right now rather than a personal fault of the author's, but there it is.
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