62 of 63 people found the following review helpful
I found this book to be quite frustrating and tone-deaf in this economy. Judging from the subjects of most of the case studies, this book is written for the recent retiree who has a steady retirement income coming their way. For those of us who are in the generations that won't get a retirement, the book is almost offensive. It will also probably offend Baby Boomers who have lost their jobs to read about one hard-charging executive after another who decides they want to make wine or birth calves. Heck, the lawyer-turned-farmer featured in the book has NO expectation to make any money. To have that kind of security must be nice, but for 99.9% of the American population, we want or need to change careers to MAKE money. Hard-charging executives will always do fine - what about the rest of us who are left with dwindling fortunes to match our dwindling 401(k)s and home values?
The format of the book itself is very good, although I was initially skeptical. The book lays out case studies and then has a Q&A and a summary of tips in-between. The questions can use some work; the question "would you do anything differently" was answered the same each time - "nothing" - so it was useless. Using stories teaches the concepts and makes it much less text-booky. I would want to combine this book with a companion title that would be more methodical in walking you through an approach. Perhaps the famous "Parachute" book would do well. This book is more about teaching old dogs new tricks. I see this targeted to the generation where a one-company career was the norm, but with my generation we have no illusion of that; I have no problem believing I could make wine someday if I wanted to. If you don't believe that for yourself, than this book would be great.
In the end this wasn't the book I was hoping for. I was hoping for something that was more oriented on the challenges of the Second Depression and instead I got stories about retired Fannie Mae bankers, mortgage bankers, patent lawyers, and MBNA executives. The writer could have chosen more sympathetic subjects. Even the retired deputy police chief from California gets little sympathy from me after hearing about outsized retirement packages for public workers in California ($240k/year for one 50 year-old fire chief). How about writing about the young couple in Mint Hill, NC who left their teaching careers to start "Aloha Snow" in order to support their 8 children? (Best Hawaiian shaved ice in the 48 states, by the way.) They're doing it despite huge risks and no retirement checks reliably rolling in. Write about people like them, Ms. Hanson, if you can find them somewhere other than your local country club.
23 of 23 people found the following review helpful
I picked this up as a 29 year old thinking about what it would be like to completely change my career. I didn't realize, however, that I'd need to be:
- A retired military Captain with a pension
- A Microsoft millionaire
- A 60 something retiree with a pension
- A retired professor who goes into chocolate making with her physician husband
Basically, everyone in the book either has a pension, a wealthy spouse, or a huge nest egg already. It's not the most sympathetic group, and certainly not really applicable for the vast majority of people.
That said, there are some good parts - like questions and answers on how people did it, what worked well, what they wish they had done different. Still, for someone expecting grand stories of changes in career, this isn't the book.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I got What's Next because that is what i've been saying to myself for a few months now. I took early retirement from my state job and now am trying to figure out what I want to do now. The book is a series of short stories about people who knew they needed a change and went for it. It includes quite a lot of information about career changes. Websites, books, and organizations that can help entrepreneurs get a leg up. I think those will be helpful to me in my search. The stories, maybe not so much because these people all were making great money and had a nice cushion to fall back on when they decided to make the change. They also knew what they wanted and had the confidence to take the leap. Not a lot of people I know have the luxury of a fat bank account to start a new business or move across the country. And also, many people, including me, don't have the sort of "I can do anything you can do better" attitude about themselves. Both of those things would be very nice indeed. If they make a poor person's version of this, I would be even more relevant to so many people who are struggling to move on and move ahead.
That said, it is well worth the time to read.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Subjects of Kerry Hannon's self-described 'happy journalism' launched second careers on a foundation of solvent pensions, deep retirement savings and a youthful retirement - for example, career coach Beverly Jones 'retired' at age 53 "after two decades as `a high-powered corporate lawyer...[who] took the golden parachute retirement package."
If that sounds like you, well, God bless. Pick up the book so you have something to read in the lobby between life coaching sessions.
If you are considering a second career because you've reached the last extension of unemployment benefits this book won't be nearly as inspirational as it promises.
There are 16 vignettes in this book, each followed up with a brief Q&A with bits of 'expert' advice scattered throughout. The chapter titles are similar, such as 'From Stress to Bliss' and 'From High Tech to High Minded.'
I found it odd that there is no mention of anyone clinging to a tired job to help their children pay off college debt or to afford a nursing home for their elderly parents. Hannon slips in a single page of financial advice that opens with this caveat:
"Whatever your motivation, you still need to be pragmatic. For most people, a midcareer restart comes with a financial price tag, particularly if you don't have the cushion of a partner's income or a retirement or severance package. It might mean a sizeable pay cut to pursue work in a more altruistic field, a hefty tuition bill for more schooling, or a temporary loss of medical and retirement benefits."
Sort of knocks the bloom off the rose, doesn't it?
Ask me how many people I know who would L-O-V-E to make a midcareer restart and I'll pass you a roll of names that could rival the wish list St. Nick contends with each Christmas. Now ask me how many people I know who can forego financial concerns and risk a temporary loss of medical benefits and I can count them on one hand.
In summary, instead of drawn into these personal stories, I found myself ticking off inspirational buzzwords like 'spirit' and 'challenge,' no closer to starting a paid relationship with a life or career coach. Although, after reading this book, I highly recommend coaching should you switch careers because that gig pays well.
Rating: Two stars.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
This is one of the latest books on finding a new or second (or third) career. The book is organized into chapters that profile how various people have turned their dreams and passions into careers. Each chapter starts with an overview of each individual, including who they are, what they were doing, why they were dissatisfied, what made them decide to make the change, and how they went about doing it. There is then an interview with the person, followed by resources and suggestions for readers that may wish to pursue a similar career path.
The emphasis is on pursuing jobs and careers that are meaningful. The focus is not on money. Some of the individuals needed moderate amounts of income, while others were retired and having an income was not critical. I felt the stories were inspiring because they show others that it is possible to have an enjoyable and satisfying career. At the same time, the book clearly explains the struggles these people faced while pursuing their dream jobs. And while it wasn't an easy road, almost all the individuals stated that they didn't have any regrets - except that some wished they'd taken this step earlier.
My only complaint, and why I gave this book 4 instead of 5 stars, is that there were a large portion of cases devoted to those who had retired. And therefore, some of the resources were specifically for those over a certain age. I am glad these stories were included, because they clearly show that anyone can make a career transition at any time in their lives - regardless of how drastic the change may be. However, I just wish there had been a few more directed at individuals that still had numerous years left before they could even consider retirement.
Overall, the information is practical and the advice is helpful. I found lots of helpful resources. And even though some stories were not applicable to my situation, they spurred other ideas and possibilities in my mind. The processes and steps used can be applicable in many situations. It doesn't gloss over the difficulties people may encounter, which is something I really appreciated. I think it's important because it forces people to consider these potential hurdles in advance. We can also learn from some of the missteps taken by others so we avoid them,. The book really showed by example that none of us need to settle for an unsatisfactory career. We all have options - provided we are ready to invest the time and effort.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
"What's Next?" is an interesting book if you usually gain perspective on your own situation from reading about other people's experiences. The stories are well-written and there's a good variety of careers covered. Each section begins with a description of the person's situation and their experiences as they made the change. Next there is a Q&A in which the career changer shares answers to questions such as:
- Anything you would have done differently?
- What do you tell other people who ask for your advice?
- Were you confident you were doing the right thing?
- How do you measure your success?
- What books or resources did you use or recommend others to use?
Most sections also include "Tips," "Resources," and "Advice." Probably the best advice in the whole book is to build a support system. It's really hard to make a change without the support of friends and family, not to mention a coach, counselor, or mentor.
I liked the book but thought that the title was a bit misleading. It implies that reading this book would help people decide on a new career when it just reports the experiences of others who for the most part had a good idea of the change they wanted to make. Knowing what you want next is usually the most difficult part of the process. You can read all the books on the shelf but ultimately, finding your passion is much more of an emotional process than a cognitive one.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Then read this book. Otherwise, don't read this book because it will just annoy you.
This book is filled with example after example of people who have achieved financial security taking on second careers (or in some cases "careers," because it seems to me that a job that returns less money than you put into it, like many of those described in this book, sound more like expensive hobbies than careers). Virtually every person described either pursued a career that now pays a pension plus medical benefits, or is married to someone who makes $150,000 a year, or made hundreds of thousands of dollars for 20 years or more (often with no children in the picture) and no longer needs to work.
So it's really about helping people who don't need to work to support themselves, and are no longer enjoying that work, realize that they can have a more fulfilling life by doing something else than continuing to stockpile money that they basically don't need. It could be very helpful to those people, who I would estimate constitute less than 1% of the population. If you hate your job but still need to earn a living, find another book.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
The description of this book says, "Filled with inspiring stories from real people who have changed careers mid-life, What's Next? is an exciting roadmap for anyone looking to make their next job their dream job." It got my attention and I'm sure it got yours, otherwise you wouldn't be reading these reviews.
Indeed, this book is filled with stories of real people, and they did change careers to what they would consider a "dream job." The thing is, pretty much all of them were not at the beginning or middle of their career, they were towards or at the end and almost all of them had already accumulated enough financial resources so that they could have just retired if they chose. In other words, they didn't need to keep working; they had the luxury of taking their time to get into their dream situation. Along the way they also acquired contacts that made it easier to make the change.
I'm not saying there is anything wrong with this, and practically speaking, that's probably what you need in order to make such a change because there's no magic formula or easy way to do it. You've got to work at it. However, I do feel that people are being misled by the book description because it makes it sound like it applies to the average joe who isn't happy with their job and wants to make the change to do something they truly love. The people used as examples in this book are definitely not what I call your average joe. They'd already attained a position of relative power and wealth which enabled them to make the transition.
The stories themselves are interesting because it is good to hear about people who were able to shift careers to doing something for which they had a passion. Each example is short and to the point so you can go from one to another without getting bogged down in a lot of detail. I just don't think most people out there reading the book would be able to empathize to any great degree with them. Please keep that in mind as a consideration when deciding whether or not to buy this book.
 I have to say that when I was reading this book, I felt angry. The reason I felt angry was because all these people in the book didn't really need to work. What they were doing was not a necessity; they were rich enough that they could do what they wanted and if they failed, so be it, they wouldn't starve because of it. Now I realize they got to that point from working hard and earning the finances they had that enabled them to take that step into another career so I certainly hold nothing against them. I was angry and held something against the book itself because it is misleading when you first pick it up without reading the actual accounts of the people within. The majority of the people in the book are not like the majority of people in this country. It's like, how do I get to be successful in the stock market? Well, first take a million dollars and invest it wisely. But if you make a mistake and lose it all, don't worry because you still have several million more to fall back on.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2010
This book is an incredibly clear, practical and hopeful read for anyone who really wants to get serious about following your dreams and doing what you love. Kerry Hannon, herself a leading authority on careers and personal finance, interviewed people about their second careers and how they got there. She uses these stories to provide practical examples of what people did, and the pitfalls along the way, to actualize their dreams. However, rather than being long on dreams and short on roadmaps, this book is true to its author's professional expertise and provides the reader with an honest, realistic AND encouraging picture of the road to your passion.
Ms. Hannon was interviewed about the book in "Your Life Calling with Jane Pauley" [...] (copy and paste in your browser to see it). The interview is a perfect foreshadowing of the book: a practical, hopeful, and encouraging outreached hand to help those of us who want to follow our passion but don't quite know how to begin. Definitely, if you think there's something you really want to do in your life as a "second act," or even if you don't have anything in mind yet, get the book! Get it now. I did; I'm giving it to my friends; and I am already eagerly looking forward to "what's next."
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Let me say upfront that I am not a fan of books that go on and on with stories of what others did. Everyone is different and, thus, I feel a book should be applicable to the masses to be worth a read.
I 100% agree with what Todd Justman said about how this is for Baby Boomers (of which I am one - born in 1961). However, it's not for this baby boomer!
I was NOT expecting (or wanting) this to be a motivational book: I wanted clear, concise solutions to a problem. This book reminded me of "What Color is Your Parachute?" - another "what if..." book (although it did quite well in it's day).
I write a monthly column for a nationwide newsletter focused on those in administrative roles. One of the #1 problems I hear from my 50's something reader's is that there is no place for them in the career world as they get older. They are getting pushed out of their jobs by the "young things" coming in - even though they have far more experience and knowledge than these "newbies." So, sharing success stories with them such as these don't cut it. As a result, I would not recommend this book to them.
I do believe you make your life what it is and that expecting things in this age - as it was long ago - is no longer feasible. I also believe we should continue on - as we have been - planning retirement and saving for a rainy day.