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16 Reviews
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5.0 out of 5 stars awesome!
Love this book! Great sense of humor & wonderful insight - I highly recommend this book top anyone considering graduate school :)
Published 10 months ago by Blue Richards

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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where is the advice??
Let me start with a little back story of why I bought this book: I am currently in my 3rd year of a PhD program, and the "3rd year slump" has hit me hard. My research is frustrating. I feel alienated from my peers and my advisor/committee. After reading the reviews for this book I thought this might offer some help. I was hoping for advice on how to deal with so many of...
Published on November 7, 2011 by hansbanans


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22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Where is the advice??, November 7, 2011
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Let me start with a little back story of why I bought this book: I am currently in my 3rd year of a PhD program, and the "3rd year slump" has hit me hard. My research is frustrating. I feel alienated from my peers and my advisor/committee. After reading the reviews for this book I thought this might offer some help. I was hoping for advice on how to deal with so many of the frustrations and let downs of getting a PhD. Something inspirational, possibly even uplifting.

Nope. That is not this book.

To be frank, I spent more than half of the book rolling my eyes at various passive-aggressive quips at the author's advisor and fellow students. By the end, this felt more like a book on how to blame other people when your PhD takes much longer than you expected. Which is a pity, because I think this story had good teaching potential. I can't even begin to imagine how frustrating and disheartening it would be to work on my PhD for seven years! The author could have turned that experience into something positive, by giving concrete examples of how he dealt with problems, instead of just complaining about them and then advising to avoiding them in the first place. For example, the author complains multiple times about the frustrations of Human Subjects Committees. We get it. Bureaucracy is tedious and takes a long time. But if you do human research it is something you just have to deal with. How about some tips on speeding up the process (eg submitting a modification of a pre-existing protocol instead of a whole new protocol)? Or advising good time management: while you are waiting for IRB approval, could you be doing some in vitro work instead? Or getting an in-depth knowledge of the literature? Or working as a TA to pay off some student loans? Nope. You will find little of that here. However, you will walk away with the impression that IRB's are brutally slow and are probably plotting against you.

Even more concerning, some of the advice in this book is not only bad, but could actually get you in trouble! The author suggests that you try to "recycle" your writing, claiming that you cannot plagiarize yourself - not true! He also talks often of how he made money on the side by writing for a commercial magazine, but he never cautions that if you are funded 100% by NIH, NSF, etc that you are not supposed to have an outside job. Here's my hint to surviving grad school: if you want to go into academics, don't piss off your main funding agency by publishing plagiarized magazine articles.

By far the most helpful parts of this book were the tips on working with your advisor, like only giving them a chapter at a time to read, or highlighting the relevant changes. I also found the chapter on writing your dissertation helpful, especially the tips on how to write a little every day. Although the list of phrases you should use was particularly horrifying - just because everyone else in science overuses passive voice doesn't mean you should too! Nevertheless, I did find this chapter helpful, and it earns the book 2 stars.

All in all, I suggest passing on this one.
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars How not to bribe your advisor, June 9, 2011
This book intends to help you through your PhD. It is mainly targeted to studies in the US, so only 2/3 of the book apply to the PhD process in general. It adresses important aspects but much of the advice is very awkward: although I can kind of understand how the author got into the situation, offering money to make your PhD advisor read a first version of your thesis faster is clearly very misguided. I had a very severe moment of fremdschaemen (feeling embarassed yourseelf when watching somebody doing something embarrasing) when I read this paragraph and much of the rest of the book. Despite its strange title I recommend to read How to Survive your Doctorate (Open Up Study Skills) instead. Very good book, many important points covered. Last word: find others to talk to, almost all of them go through the same hard time. Also check out the material at the 'nurturing scientists' website by Uri Alon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I've read betters, December 21, 2012
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This review is from: How to Survive Your PhD: The Insider's Guide to Avoiding Mistakes, Choosing the Right Program, Working with Professors, and Just How a Person Actually Writes a 200-Page Paper (Kindle Edition)
The book brings good discussions, but I felt it more the authors anecdotes than I think it should be. Prefer the Chicago Guide for your career in Science or Chakrabarty's "A guide to academia"
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars No new insight, July 4, 2011
Save your money. The author was ill-prepared to do his PhD and provides no new insights for those considering graduate school. There are several factual errors including the career options for people earning PhD's. Do not assume that doctoral programs only prepare you for a career in academia. Robert Peters' book Get What You Came For is much more thorough and helpful.
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5.0 out of 5 stars awesome!, October 27, 2013
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This review is from: How to Survive Your PhD: The Insider's Guide to Avoiding Mistakes, Choosing the Right Program, Working with Professors, and Just How a Person Actually Writes a 200-Page Paper (Kindle Edition)
Love this book! Great sense of humor & wonderful insight - I highly recommend this book top anyone considering graduate school :)
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Reference and Valuable Information, August 26, 2012
I was searching for a book that could inform me concerning programs and schools in reference to completing a post doctorate degree and this was the book!! It also gave me a detailed and comprehensive look into the many important aspects of completing a successful program in ones chosen field of study.
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4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great resource for those looking to starting a doctoral student, February 6, 2010
By 
Ronda Davis (Greensboro, NC United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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This is a great book - I finished this book in only two days. The author breaks down the major parts of doctoral study and uses his own experiences to share what to do in order to be successful as well as "what not to do" if you want to earn a PhD. This is a timely book for me as I have submitted applications and am hoping to start on my PhD in Fall of 2010.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best PhD resource on the market!!!, December 28, 2010
This book changed my life.

As a doctoral student that had "hit the wall", I had lost my motivation, and the dissertation lay lifeless. I was rapidly approaching the dreaded ABD status. A random night wandering Barnes and Noble turned up this wonderful book. As I write this review, I am in a coffee shop finishing my dissertation for proposal submittal. Jason's "been there, done that" approach is not condescending or filled with technical jargon, which is a common occurrence in academia. His comparison of the mindset between an undergrad student and a doctoral student completely changed my viewpoint to this program. In a short span of 15 minutes, I had changed my perception of my dissertation from a 5 year burden around my neck to an important piece of scholarly work that could benefit teachers, educators, and adminstrators nationwide.

I have recommended this book to every student in my program, my instructor, my mentor, and several other students at other graduate schools. If you are struggling with a doctoral program, I would recommend getting this before you even begin your program. Jason has captured the struggles, the experience, and the necessary preparation for being successful in this difficult endeavor.

As for the person that gave it a one star review, it sounds like you have not read the book, but rather just wish to complain. Unfortunately, you are alone in your opinion. Sorry to crush your thoughts but your arguments are illogical and unsound.
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5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read for those consider, or in the early stages of...., May 31, 2010
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This review is from: How to Survive Your PhD: The Insider's Guide to Avoiding Mistakes, Choosing the Right Program, Working with Professors, and Just How a Person Actually Writes a 200-Page Paper (Kindle Edition)
Starting on your Ph.D. is never something one should take lightly. With that in mind, deciding whether you should or should not embark on this journey can be a tough decision. Jason Karp takes you through his process and how things worked for him. While he succeeded in obtaining his doctorate, the road was anything but smooth. That is probably the best part of this book. This was not someone who had it easy, rather, it is someone that you can actually relate too. His trials, his failures and ultimately, his success.

Great read.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good Information for the Disseration, December 7, 2012
This review is from: How to Survive Your PhD: The Insider's Guide to Avoiding Mistakes, Choosing the Right Program, Working with Professors, and Just How a Person Actually Writes a 200-Page Paper (Kindle Edition)
As the editor of Their Journey to the PhD and founder of the PhD Sisters support group, I can relate to the process of writing a dissertation and earning a PhD. This book provides a general guide that one can follow prior to beginning or throughout their PhD journey. Time management is critical when working on a dissertation. While each school has their own specific requirements, the author provides insight to prepare you for situations that you may encounter during the process.
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