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The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success (Touchstone Books) Paperback – January 3, 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 230 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Author Nicholas Lore uses the techniques of his career-guidance network, the Rockport Institute, to make The Pathfinder a substitute for a great job counselor. Through goal setting, list making, and other techniques, the book leads readers though the process of deciding exactly what they want to do for a living and finding a way to make it happen. Lore realizes that people have different temperaments and decision-making methods, so he provides individualized advice to suit each one. He also understands that creating a new career requires courage as well as desire, so The Pathfinder devotes plenty of space to motivation and overcoming fears. While anyone looking for a new career will find direction with this guide, people who didn't know they were looking may decide to start once they go through Lore's probing self-examination process. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Johann Wolfgang von GoetheWhatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Touchstone Books
  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone; Revised edition (January 3, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451608322
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451608328
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (230 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,981 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

"How do I find work that fits me perfectly? Can I have a career I'm passionate about? -a job that's not a big compromise, realistic, uses my talents fully, fits my personality, doing something I enjoy that matters to me?" These are questions that master career coach and social scientist Nicholas Lore has helped hundreds of thousands of people answer. As the director of Rockport Institute (rockportinstitute.com), his work has been commended for excellence by President Clinton. "In writing The Pathfinder, I put on paper the same process we use to coach clients through making a career change. Even though our work is about career choices, it is actually about life choices, and about creating one's life and future rather than having the past decide what we will do."

Lore's Rockport Institute has coached more intelligent, complex people, working one-on-one, through career change (and original choice for younger clients) than any other organization. The lessons learned give his books depth and breadth, passion and experience.


I was born on a mountaintop in Tennessee, like my childhood hero Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier, in a little village with dirt roads that turned to mud when the perfect blue Appalachian skies cried on the men who, along with my father, made atomic bombs.

Later on I lived in Greenwich Village during the days when it was the center of the explosion of creativity that was The Sixties. My fellow villagers were people like Bob Dylan and Jimi Hendrix. My great passion was inquiring into unexplored possibilities: how could people live their lives creatively, fully self-expressed and fulfilled, without giving up their sense of wonder and play. I studied psychology, Eastern philosophy, anthropology and literature, and participated in the 60's full tilt. My friends became rock stars, explorers, painters, writers, and scientists who had found their means of self-expression. Some gained worldwide renown. I still had no idea what to do with my life. Work was just a way to make a living.

I got married at the age of 27. I thought I had better start acting like a responsible adult and settle down. A fellow offered me the job of plant manager of his factory, mainly because I was honest and his previous manager wasn't. My final job was running an energy conservation company on the coast of Maine. Even though I was passionate about the subject matter, I became restless and bored with it, just as I had with every previous job.

I looked all over New England to find a career expert who could guide me through the process of choosing a more fulfilling direction. I was shocked to find that career counseling methods were extremely primitive, the technological equivalent of 16th century surgery. I was very fortunate that a fellow member of my local boat club, R. Buckminster Fuller, became a mentor to me. Through his coaching and support, I dedicated my life to creating powerful and effective career coaching methods that would allow anyone to choose a career direction that would fit them so well they would be able to wake up in the morning with enthusiasm for the workday ahead. In 1981, I founded Rockport Institute. Our philosophy is that, with dedication and hard work, anyone can choose or change to a career that they are passionate about, and fits them completely.

Rockport Institute developed a wide range of new career design tools and methods. We called our work "career coaching" years before personal coaching became a household word. We realized that most career assistance was (and still is today) prescriptive: you would take some assessments or talk to a counselor and they would prescribe a list of fitting jobs or give you some advice. Even the best counseling stopped at exploration. They didn't seem to have any tools that would take a client or reader all the way to the point of certainty about their specific future work. Our methodology was (and is) completely different: based on coaching you through a career design project.

Making the best choices should never be based on taking an experts word as truth. In order to choose components of your future work, you've got to do whatever is necessary to become sure about the importance of each piece of the puzzle. The best question is "what am I sure will be some definite components of my future work." It turns out that up-to-date research in neuroscience backs up the effectiveness of this method. The brain is not very proficient at making personal choices based on lots of maybes. It is much better at working on career decisions one step at a time, and making choices piece-by-piece.

With the Rockport Career Design Method™, you start by delving into the most vital elements of career success and fulfillment to find clues revealing the fit between you and the working world: natural talents, personality, temperament, goals, passions, vision, life-style, values, commitments, practicality, and your degree of willingness to stretch for new horizons. Then, as a sort-of career detective, you "work" the best clues and start building definite components/specifications of your future work.

We have coached more than 14,000 clients (mid-career changers, young adults and students) through the morass of uncertainty to making the best possible career decisions. These programs combine in-depth testing of natural abilities, talents, aptitudes, etc., with a complete exploration of clients' personalities, temperament, values, commitments, passions, spirituality, habits and life-style. Then, clients put all the pieces together into a practical, doable career choice, a new direction that they designed themselves. Clients represent all walks of life: young and old, rich and poor, professionals, artists, students and people reentering the work force. I have done my best to include much of what we have learned over the years into my books, "The Pathfinder: How to Choose or Change Your Career for a Lifetime of Satisfaction and Success" and "NOW WHAT? The Young Person's Guide to Choosing the Perfect Career."

President Clinton was kind enough to commend my work. He wrote: "I am heartened by your efforts to empower people to lead productive and fulfilling lives... As you well understand, knowing one's own gifts and talents is a powerful tool for finding work that is challenging and rewarding...The success of this information revolution will ultimately depend on the dedication and commitment of individuals who, like you, care deeply about helping people reach their creative and productive potential. (Your career coaching programs represent) the kind of effort our country needs in order to meet the demands of a global economy."

In the distant past I have been: a CEO, entrepreneur, plant manager of a manufacturing company, researcher in psychology, blues musician, well driller, and paperboy.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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The Pathfinder is light-years ahead; Nick Lore has literally reinvented career counseling. If you want more than a job, this book is loaded with tools that really work . . .
As a career columnist and coach I've spent the last decade researching to find innovative career development tools. Most of what has been around for the last 25 years is job finding focused. If you need help with choosing your career direction, traditional tools will fail you miserably. All my mid-career clients who've been through the high school and college systems say, "There really isn't much "life direction" counseling going on!" The more recent career books on the shelf have made attempts to fill this gap, but most of them make only small improvements to traditional tools that never really worked. Nick Lore has upped the ante . . . raising the bar of the career counseling profession to a whole new level.
The Pathfinder is brilliant. Nick Lore's insights into human nature had me bursting into laughter, laughing at myself, and completely rethinking what a "career" is. Much like how transformational movies stick with you; Lore tugs on your heart and soul; you'll never see your career in the same way. Despite your fears, he inspires you and gives you powerful tools to do something with your life. Nick Lore is a witty storyteller and social scientist who has invented a way to get you moving in the right direction. Intuitively, you get that the depth of Lore's tools and inquiries can only come from someone who has committed himself to a life's work. Rockport Institute's approach to measuring innate talent and aptitudes is pure genius. Lore exudes a genuine-ness rarely seen, and you can tell the he has lived and breathed this stuff.
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By A Customer on August 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I am a career coach with eight years of experience working with people wanting a new career - a better fit with their talents, more meaningful, a better work environment. I have to admit that, at times, I have felt that there was something important I didn't learn in my master's program in counseling. I have used books such as Parachute, Zen and the art of... and many others. They are o.k. but not great. I read a review here where a career counselor highly recommended The Pathfinder. I got it and it has changed my life completely. This is by far the best book for you if you are deciding on a career or thinking of changing, if you want a very fulfilling life and are willing to go for it. This book is about having not just a great job. It is much more than that, a book about having a great life. The author is a genius. Besides that, he has the wisdom of a real Zen master, but unlike most wise men, he has no pretensions about it. He is just a regular person, and very cool at the same time. Most importantly, The Pathfinder is the only book I have ever found that can actually take you through to the point where you have actually decided what you will do with your life. Get it. You won't regret it. I now use it with all of my clients. Not only is this THE book for people making their own choices, it is also the best book for people who want to be more skillful at helping their clients do so - coaches, therapists and so forth.
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Format: Paperback
I've read a lot of personal development books & used a lot of personal development tools. More than most people-- make that MUCH more than most people. I guess I figure that the way to continually become a smarter person is to find a REALLY smart person & listen to what they have to say. I don't typically rave about books, I've never posted a review on Amazon.com before but with this one I just HAD to.
Nicholas Lore is brilliant. His book spoke right to me. It could not have been a better training session if he had been sitting with me in my living room. His advice is right on, so painful at times it hurts...so true to life at times that you'll laugh out loud. An excellent resource to help you take a good hard look at your life, your goals and your ability to have a career that leads to a lifetime of satisfaction & success. He helps you discover all of the right questions to be asking yourself... and he does it in a FUN way. I read it cover-to-cover in one weekend. And I did most of the exercises twice.
This book is not over anyone's head. Nor is it written below anyone's comprehension level. It's straight forward, from the hip, talk about how to want it, plan it and get it. I'd recommend it for anyone who is committed to investing the time & effort to help yourself grow.
At $14 this book is a steal (oops, I hope Nicholas isn't reading this). Invest in yourself!
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This is one of the best books I have ever read. It came highly recommended but I expected nothing more than a good guide to designing a new career. It is that and more. In the midst of working through it I discovered my assumption that I just needed to know more about what careers might fit me was scratching the surface. Under the surface was reality. I was living my entire life at a comfortable "equilibrium", not going for having an extraordinary life. This book not only helped me get off my duff in terms of deciding on a new career but also on fulfilling goals in nearly every other area of my life. Whereas before I felt like I was just going with the flow and taking what life gave me, now I feel like the man on the cover of "The Pathfinder" steering my own ship in directions of my own choosing. The author mixes just the right amount of practical career design steps with deep wisdom about human nature. This is a good book for you if you want to have a life you love and the part you want to deal with now is having a career you love. It is also funny, very well written and fun to read, except when you are working on the hard parts of figuring out what you will do. It might not be for you if want to take the easiest road to picking a career or just want to read anecdotes and theories. If you want to dig into deciding what to do with your life, this is one powerful book!
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