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on May 8, 2009
I'm talking about my parachute. I'm a mid-forties Wall Street refugee, wondering what I want to be when I grow up...(Hint no jobs on Wall Street right now). So I turned to this old standard for help.

First note that this book is updated every single year, so buy the latest copy. Yes an older one will be cheaper but...don't. I first picked up the 2001 version off the bookshelf. As I read the section on the internet, I guffawed. Not the author's fault, things change drastically on the internet, especially in 8 years. So I credit the author for updating the book constantly. He also substantially rewrites it, not just changing the cover or whatever.

Second, this is not a spectator sport, you must do the exercises to make the book work. I have not yet done them, officially, on paper, but have given a lot of thought to what he asks us to do. I remember reading this book years ago (1988?) and being very annoyed. Annoyed? Yes, because I thought the author had a lot of nerve to tell me I could do anything I want to do. I could go to Hollywood? Yes. I could be an astronaut? Yes. I could be an interpreter? Yes. Pimp? Yes. Investment Banker? Yes. Yes, yes, yes. You may have to go to school, or work hard, but yes you can follow your dreams.

What if you have no dreams, like me? Well, do the exercises, and the book will help you find something to do with yourself that won't make you want to shoot yourself in the head when the alarm clock goes off. I can't wait to find out what it is for me!

Ignore the naysayers, buy the latest copy of the book, read it, do the exercises. And Good Luck.

P.S. I also recommend the workbook.
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on August 16, 2011
"What Color is Your Parachute?" has become an American institution. This edition marks the 40th anniversary of the book's first publication, and the book has now sold more than 10 million copies. While I don't usually review books like "What Color is Your Parachute?" I find that it's such a unique and useful book on finding a job that it's worth encouraging people to read it.

My other copy of "What Color is Your Parachute?" is a much earlier one, and I can see by comparing it with this new edition that substantial changes have been made over the years. Unlike many other books that don't seem to keep up with the changing times, this new edition of "What Color is Your Parachute?" seems tailor-made for today's job market. In fact, "What Color is Your Parachute?" has been revised annually every single year since 1972 with the exception of 1975.

I like the way that "What Color is Your Parachute?" has always been more than just a standard guide to how to find a job but has always helped its readers think outside the box. For example, Chapter 1 of the latest edition is titled "How to Find Hope," and hope is something American workers need in an economy that is uncertain at best and shrinking at worst. Embedded in the idea of hope is a strategy of hope and a principle to live by, which is to not put all your eggs in one basket. Instead, you should always have an alternative: two ways to describe yourself, two ways to find a job, etc. And so the rest of Chapter 1 lists 18 ways to find a new job.

Chapters 3-14 go on to describe in detail the heart of "What Color is Your Parachute?" which are the 5 survival skills you most need today. These are the following:

Attitudes Necessary for Survival (Chapters 3-4)
Advanced Job-Finding Techniques (Chapter 5-9)
Advanced Job-Creation Techniques (Chapters 10-12)
Inventory of What You Have to Offer the World (Chapter 13)
Each One Teach One (Chapter 14 on teaching others survival job-hunting)

The book concludes with 4 appendixes on Finding Your Mission in Life, A Guide to Dealing with Unemployment Depression, A Guide to Choosing a Career Coach or Counselor, and a Sampler List of Coaches.

As you can see, "What Color is Your Parachut?" contains much more than just basic job-hunting skills that you can find anywhere else or that you probably already know about. It also gives you a philosophy of job-hunting and of thinking about yourself, as well as advanced techniques for finding a job. For example, Chapter 3 gives advice on how to positively use and think of the time you have when you're looking for a job, and Chapter 7 is all about how to network in this world of social media. It's refreshing to think of the positive uses of the social media, and this chapter demonstrates yet again that "What Color is Your Parachute?" always strives to represent the best current practices for finding a job and thinking about job-hunting.

I especially like the whole idea of Chapters 10-13, on job-creation techniques and inventory of what you have to offer the world. Rather than seeing oneself as a passive and pathetic looker for a job, why not think of oneself as a creator of a job? In our modern economy it's very possible to do this: it just requires you to think differently about who you are and how jobs are described and offered. Even before I had read this updated version of "What Color is Your Parachute?" my wife has done this very thing at least twice. By thinking about her whole set of skills and experiences and using her ability to network, she's talked herself into at least 2 (maybe 3) jobs over the past years, even creating and setting the terms for her jobs.

In summary, "What Color is Your Parachute?" is an excellent choice for anyone who finds himself in the unenviable position of having to find a new job. While that's never a pleasant situation, "What Color is Your Parachute?" will give you greater confidence and hope that you can find a good job, even in a downward economy.
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on October 15, 2007
I am currently between jobs, and use this book every day to plan my job search. It is literally like a shot of confidence in the arm. The book is full of great insights not just on the job search, but also on the entire psychology of it all. It has great websites you can use to do career tests and personality tests. The great thing about the book is that the author has so much experience, so is able to draw on those many years, to give advice. It is like having a high-paid careeer coach. I can't recommend this book enough.
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on November 5, 2011
Turned out my parachute was mauve - who knew? Okay, not exactly, but to my admittedly great surprise "What Color Is Your Parachute" was a helpful tool in my career search.

As a man looking to change careers at mid life I reluctantly ordered this book b/c I had heard it so often described as the essential career guide. While the work is still up to the reader/user and while it may not point you to a specific job (which is what we all really want, right?) this guide did help focus my thinking on finding a more satisfying career by closely examining the skills that come naturally to me AND that I most enjoy - NOT ONLY related to doing a job but in my everyday life and activities as well.

Don't buy the book unless you're willing to spend quality time doing the exercises, though chapters on interviewing and negotiating are also very helpful, as was the overall - dare I say - spiritual tone of the book.

I eventually started a business (and for other budding entrepreneurs I also recommend, "The Freedom Formula," by Christine Kloser) so whether my career will be in the pink or in the black, well, we'll just see. But either way, I'd consider "What Color is Your Parachute" well worth the price.
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on May 21, 2005
I distinctly remember listening to a review of Parachute on the radio while in my car driving and saying to myself, "I need to buy this book." But good intentions have a way of not being put into action. It was years later when faced with a midlife career change and not knowing what I was going to do that my brother reminded me of this book.

Simply put, this book will give you hope and confidence. It will help you see what your strengths are and how to market yourself in a difficult economy. Let me share with you two ways it helped me. First, the exercises put to rest any doubts I had to where to pursue my new career. Second, the section on how to find a job was worth three times the cost of the book. To my chagrin, I discovered that the way most people look for work (including myself) is just the opposite way most employers hire people.

Now, I am beginning a new career. I love my work and look forward to a challenging and rewarding career. If you think that you may be facing a career change sometime in the near future order this book now. It will give you hope and confidence.
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"What Color Is Your Parachute" is the first book you need if finding a job is your goal. If you've not bought this yet, you haven't started looking. It is that good. Buy this for the college student in your life so they will be ready.

Richard Bolles is the expert. His books sell because they are fresh each year with insight, purpose and ideas for determining what job you should do, and how to get it.

I used "Parachute" to get my first job. It continues to influence me today, as I keep my eyes open for a possible career change. As I have trandsitioned from nonprofits to corporate work, to freelance/consulting to looking again at nonprofits, I take what Bolles' teaches into each situation. He helps balance out reality. No smoke and mirrors, but encouraging and candid exhortation.

Thoroughly practical, Bolles asks you questions about your mission in life. His belief is that just getting a job (any job) -- even ones you are good at -- won't be a wise decision in the long haul. He helps you see your passions mixed with skills and experience, and guides you to getting there. Though it is hardly a self-help book, it is far more useful than the ones clogging up the Top 10 list.

He keeps you accountable. Finding a job is your job if that's what you say you want. And if you aren't working, he won't let you make excuses -- you've got the time. Either you are looking or you aren't.

Bolles has kept current, with a significant look at the internet, starting your own business, dealing with the tempestuous employment marketplace, working in an unpleasant situation, and more.

Don't bother with the hardcover. You need the paperback. This is not a sit-on-the-shelf book, but a get-down-to-business book, and you'll appreciate the flexibility while at work or on the train.

I fully recommend, "What Color Is Your Parachute" by Richard Nelson Bolles.

Anthony Trendl
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on September 16, 2012
What Color is your Parachute is a book which is always on my list of books to get every year. Each year he brings out a new edition. The editions change from year to year as he updates them according to world events. For example, due to the World economic Crisis he brought out a "Hard Times" edition in 2010 in recognition that the goal posts had shifted quite dramatically in the job-hunting / career-changing market. I purchase his books every two years. This year I bought the 2013 edition and on my Kindle. The book is excellent as always and is sufficiently updated and different from previous editions to justify buying the 2013 edition. The only drawback for me is that when he discusses interview situations they are normally situations where the job candidate is facing one interviewer. I normally face a panel of about 6 interviewers all with prepared questions and ticking off a list of criteria prepared by the HR department. But, all in all it is a very good book, well written and Richard N.Bolles' warmth as a person certainly comes across. The Kindle format does cause some difficulty however. Diagrams which are clear in the print edition are not easy to read on the relatively small Kindle screen. There is a facility to print those diagrams up if the Kindle is connected to a printer by WiFi but that is not often the case. This is not a problem using the Kindle app on the PC or Mac. I just found myself checking my print 2010 edition and used the diagrams from there.
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on November 15, 2004
If there is a single book out there for anyone looking for a job or thinking about changing jobs, "What Color Is Your Parachute?" is it. This book provides thorough and comprehensive advice that is both practical and relevant. It also appeals to almost any career level, from recent graduates to senior executives. The exercises helped expand my thinking about what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, and definitely proved to be an asset during interviews and discussions. The entire book, in fact, provided a broader context to the process which made me a stronger candidate. And the hands-on advice also reminded me of the smaller details that are so critical but easy to forget about. If you buy any book on the topic of job hunting or career change, this has to be it. I highly recommend it.
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on October 6, 2010
This excellent book has been in multiple reprints since about 1970 and is extremely helpful in many ways.

Some of the areas I found most helpful included:

1. How Employers Hunt for Job-Hunters. In this chapter, Bolles clearly lays out the harsh realities of the differences between people looking for work and those seeking jobs. The power lies with the employer, and the sooner I realized that truth, the better off I was. This chapter also pointed out that different types of resumes work better for different types of employers, so it's important to tailor your resume to your audience. This was a great lesson for me.

2. Tips. What I loved about this chapter was the reinforcement that job hunting is hard work and takes effort, there is no getting around it. I also thought it was great advice to be open to changing my tactics if what I was doing wasn't working. Too often I get caught up in the thinking that just doing more of the same will change my result. I now realize that sometimes I am just doing the wrong things, so need to try something different.

3. Interviewing Tip For Smarties: Another great chapter that reset how I think about interviews. One of the best tips for me was sticking to the time I asked for from the interviewer. Too often in the past if I thought the interview was going well, I would keep talking. Now I realize that one of the best ways to impress a potential boss is to stick to the time (e.g., 20 minutes) that I originally asked for. The other very helpful tip was to let the interviewer do 50% of the talking. This balance of time lets the interviewer know that you know how to listen as well as speak. Too much talking by me tells them I might ignore the needs of the company: too little speaking by me might tell them I am trying to hide something. Good input!

Overall, I thought this book could be extremely helpful to a lot of job seekers, since it provides a wealth of insight into what the employers are looking for and how they are approaching the hiring process. After all, it involves two parties trying to see if there is a match, so it's very important to know what the hiring manager is thinking and how they are approaching this process.

Another book that I thought was extremely helpful in terms of applying to my job search was "GOAL! Your 30 Day Game Plan" Goal!: Your 30-Day Game Plan for Business and Career Successwhich helped organize my efforts and kept me motivated along the way towards my new job.
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on October 12, 2009
As a career counselor and career coach, I have been following the progression of this book every year since 1972! Since September 11, 2001, there have been dramtic changes in the world of work, and Richard Nelson Bolles has revised this book every year, and kept it so contemporary. I recommend this book to all my clients and also use the section, How to Find Your Mission in Life, as reading material and a starting point in my career counseling sessions, especially with career changers.

The 2010 edition has been dramatically revised. You may want to look at the recently published companion volume also: The Job-Hunter's Survival Guide. This book (Parachute) is truly a Job-Hunter's Bible, as it has been affectionately nicknamed. I would recommend that people between the ages of 16 and 69 read it and digest it. Even if you are not actively looking for a job, it will give you additional smarts. No wonder more than 10,000,000 copies have been sold, including translations in several languages! It is also a New York Times and Business Week best seller, and has a deserving place in the Library of Congress as one of the 25 books That Have Shaped Readers' Lives.

Don Sutaria, MS, IE (Prof.)
Founder, President & Life-Work Coach
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