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The Bigs: The Secrets Nobody Tells Students and Young Professionals About How to Find a Great Job, Do a Great Job, Be a Leader, Start a Business, Stay Out of Trouble, and Live A Happy Life Hardcover – April 21, 2014

4.8 out of 5 stars 47 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

What is The Bigs?

In baseball, “the bigs” is slang for the big leagues. When you become responsible for yourself, and you are being paid to do a job, you are in the big leagues. The real world is tough, competitive, and a lot is expected of you.

This is a quintessentially American story of one man’s journey through his career and life. Wall Street veteran Ben Carpenter chronicles the people he met, the experiences he had, the mistakes he made, and the lessons he learned along the way. Readers will encounter a colorful cast of real-life characters which include Big Hank, Hoops, Sweater Girl, The Zombies, Mr. Nuts, The Cheese, Deep Throat, and The RAT. Their tales illuminate Carpenter’s progress from newly minted liberal arts graduate, to the owner of a wild bar in Manhattan, to the CEO of a major Wall Street firm.

While the real world can be very fun, it’s also very much a battle, and that battle is not easy for anyone. The Bigs is an eye-opening book with specific, comprehensive, and practical advice you won’t hear anywhere else. This is a book that parents will want to read and give to their children – and their children will want to read and share with their friends.

From the Back Cover

An honest and heartening account of personal growth and professional success

The Bigs is Ben Carpenter’s first-hand account of his life’s journey that started with a tumultuous childhood of frequent moves and the downward spiraling of his family’s finances. From this precarious beginning, Ben tells how he progressed from a naïve liberal arts graduate, to the owner of an out-of-control bar in Manhattan, to the CEO of a major international investment company. The book originated as a list of instructions for the author’s daughter as she was preparing to start her first job after college. Eventually, that list evolved into The Bigs, an invaluable guide for all college students, young professionals, and anyone seeking the hard-earned wisdom of a man who has won and lost many battles while winning the war of personal fulfillment.

In addition to being a captivating story, The Bigs tells you all the specific real world secrets you need to know — for instance, how to:

  • Get internships and stand out as an intern
  • Get informational interviews and turn them into job interviews
  • Get that great job even when competing against more qualified candidates
  • Get promoted by being identified as a leader
  • Have fun and be happy while working hard to achieve your hopes and dreams

During your 16-plus years of school, you have read countless books that provided you a valuable academic education, but did little to further your knowledge of how the real world works. In this highly entertaining book, The Bigs will bring you up to speed with unique stories and advice that will give you all the tools you need to survive, thrive, and have fun in the big leagues of life.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (April 21, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1118917022
  • ISBN-13: 978-1118917022
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #269,950 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I know quite a few people (including myself) that have a lot to gain from this amazing book. It pulls aside the curtain on what it takes to get a job and how to succeed once you're in the door. Not only that, THE BIGS is filled with revealing and amusing anecdotes that bring the lessons vividly to life. This is an eminently practical and entertaining guide that every parent should buy for their graduating children. Must reading for young professionals! I'd give it 10 stars if I could. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
While you’ll probably find this book in the business/finance section, it’s much more than that. There are lessons on how to deal with adversity, how to stay out of trouble, and how to create a happy life, which was really interesting to read. I found myself developing a new perspective on life and business. Highly recommend!
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Format: Hardcover
My wife got this book for our graduating senior but I have confiscated it and read it several times. This book really is a gift to anyone who reads it and needs to be on the reading list for any professional intent on succeeding in business and in life. I found myself rooting for Ben from the first chapter and held my breath as he battled through health challenges and cheered as he persevered. This book is readable and entertaining. The author takes you inside Wall Street finance and demonstrates that you can have FUN while working and succeeding. And you don't have to choose your career over your family to succeed. I highly recommend it to graduates- and their parents. If you are considering purchasing for a graduate, consider getting a second copy so you don't have to steal your gift back!
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Format: Hardcover
I sat down and read the entire book in two sessions. It was not only insightful with practical applications, but it was fascinating and entertaining to read as Ben described his background and his story before becoming a very successful individual. The book has experiences we can all relate to on many levels. THE BIGS gives real insight into how to go about finding a job or the intern process and simplifies the basic and essential steps of the journey. It states things in a way young adults can relate to and gives insight they will want to follow.
THE BIGS is a fabulous road map! Best of all, it says things we would say to our kids, but they wouldn’t listen to if it were coming from us! I am insisting that my children read this book the day they return home for from college for the summer. The book is full of invaluable life experience and great advice.
BTW- Ben also gives advice on the Pre-Job years in college, starting as a Freshman.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Some of this advice simply makes sense, and some of this advice is the type you get from a clear-headed uncle - not necessarily what you want to hear, but when he says it, you know he's right. One of the things I particularly enjoyed about this book was that it reflects a solid value system that many people are saying has been entirely lost in the financial industry. Hopefully it's not as bad as all that, but even if it is, Ben Carpenter reminds us that being a professional is a set of behaviors and attitudes that should be taken seriously. At the same time, he describes his path in an engaging and often humorous way, making the reader see that anyone can apply himself to these ideas.
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By jb on September 10, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great job Ben....Although not as successful as you through the yrs, I have experienced similar circumstances and Dianna and I have had the good fortune of attending a few functions with you and your lovely wife in the past(Axilrods)... I will share this with my two youngest boys soon as I am positive they will enjoy and benefit greatly from the read....Hopefully, we cross paths again in the near future.

Best regards,
Joe Barber
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Format: Hardcover
As others have said, this is a book I wish I had read when I was younger! So many interesting stories, which illustrate situations that a newcomer to the workforce - and to adulthood - may not anticipate or know how to deal with. Ben Carpenter shares both successes and failures, and the conclusions and lessons learned from both, in a straightforward and humorous manner.

I passed my copy on to my niece, who is in college, and I'm sure it will be helpful to her. One thing I especially like is that while there is a timeline narrative, you can pretty much open up any chapter and start reading, hearing a good story and learning something worthwhile within a few pages. I think that will be popular with young readers who may not have a lot of time to plow through a lot of books in the career/life advice genre. Carpenter emphasizes what's important - your health, your family, your personal satisfaction with your job and your life. I recommend it to anyone, of any age - it's universally appealing!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Since I was 15 years old, my dream was to work at a bulge-bracket bank in New York City - advising clients and investing on their behalf. Now I'm in the Big Leagues.

18 months ago I was a Junior at The Ohio State University studying finance. I had a 3.3 GPA, few connections to the industry, and a large stack of Summer Analyst rejection letters from Citi, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank, Barclays, and the rest. I had an insatiable drive to get where I wanted to be. I had the capacity and personality to work for these companies and for their intelligent people. I was in the car - foot down on the gas pedal to get to my destination. The problem was that I had to keys, and my car was stationary. That is, until I was gifted The Bigs.

Since, I networked myself into internships at UBS Wealth Management and Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management. My second internship went so well - predominantly thanks to the lessons outlined in the book - that I was hired back to Morgan Stanley full-time as a Financial Advisor Trainee in New York City. In four years I will be managing millions of clients' dollars and living my dream that, at one time, I thought would never come true.

The Bigs was instrumental to my success and continues to serve as a guiding tool throughout my career. I will forever be grateful to Ben for sharing is wisdom with eager young men and women everywhere; and to his daughter, Avery, for being the inspiration behind this noble endeavor.

Invest $16 and 4 hours of your time. If you're anything like me, you will be glad that you did.
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