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

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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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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 0.4 x 9 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: #1,068,630 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

More About the Author

Laura Vanderkam is the author of All The Money In The World: What The Happiest People Know About Getting and Spending (Portfolio, March 1, 2012), 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think (Portfolio, 2010), and Grindhopping: Build a Rewarding Career Without Paying Your Dues (McGraw-Hill, 2007).

She is a member of USA Today's Board of Contributors, writes the "168 Hours" blog for CBS MoneyWatch, and her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, City Journal, Scientific American, Reader's Digest, Prevention,, and other publications. She has appeared on numerous television programs, including The Today Show and Fox & Friends, hundreds of radio segments, and has spoken about time, money and productivity to audiences ranging from the Healthcare Businesswomen's Association to MTV's employees to graduating seniors at her high school, the Indiana Academy, who brought her back as their commencement speaker in 2006.

A 2001 graduate of Princeton, she enjoys running, writing fiction, and serving as president of the Board of Trustees for The Young New Yorkers' Chorus, an organization which specializes in commissioning new music from composers under age 35. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband, two young sons and baby daughter.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
Vanderkam's book is insightful, well-researched and, most importantly inspiring.
C Jones
I was miserable and even more miserable thinking that some people do this for all of their lives and that it might happen to me as well.
Stephanie Fauvelle
Yet career books often tell you that the only way to get ahead is to settle for putting in time that feels more like doing time.
Graceful Space

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 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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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Timothy C. Ferriss on January 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
Grindhopping is the answer for anyone who asks "is this as good as it gets?" or anyone looking for more out of life than 9-5 until retirement. It is packed full of real case studies, my favorite part, which gives you both the practical steps and confidence to take action. Too many career books are big on inspiration but lacking in detailed how-to. Vanderkam, by contrast, leaves no question unanswered in what will surely be looked back upon as a classic. Highly recommended!
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