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Brazen Careerist: The New Rules for Success Hardcover – May 25, 2007
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"A delightful book, with some edgy advice that made me squirm a bit at times. I agreed with 90% of it, found myself arguing with the other 10%, and was completely engaged from start to finish." -- Robert I. Sutton, Ph.D, author of the New York Times Bestseller The No Asshole Rule
"BRAZEN CAREERIST has the street-smarts you need to make your career and life work for you from the start. Read it now, or you'll wish you had when you're 40!" -- Keith Ferrazzi, bestselling author of Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time
"Penelope Trunk brings considerable savvy and a fresh new perspective to the business of career success. Bold and sometimes unconventional, BRAZEN CAREERIST gives readers much to think about as well as concrete, practical suggestions that will help them know what they want, and know how to get it." -- Paul D. Tieger, author of Do What You Are and CEO of SpeedReading People, LLC
"Take everything you think you 'know' about career strategies, throw them away, and read this book because the rules have changed. 'Brazen,' 'counter-intuitive,' and 'radical' are the best three descriptions of Trunk's work. Life is too short to be stuck in a rat hole..." -- Guy Kawasaki, author of The Art of the Start
About the Author
PENELOPE TRUNK lives in
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Top Customer Reviews
Yes, Gen Xers and Yers are moving into the workforce and redefining work, etc. etc. However, in most industries and companies, there are still baseline levels of comportment, behavior, etiquette, etc. that people are expected to maintain. I have worked for two Fortune 1000 companies and what I have found is that in many cases, the younger people moving in to replace Baby Boomers aren't rejecting their values and beliefs wholesale, as Trunk would have you believe, but adopting some and rejecting some others. Overall, I see more people buying into their own corporate culture and carrying on at least the major tenets than rejecting it completely.
Trunk admits on her blog she's been fired many times for a wide variety of offenses, including insubordination, inattention to her work, etc. One of my old bosses, who had an MBA from Stanford, said it best - always beware of people who make a career out of writing about having a career, rather than actually having one. I am not sure what credentials being a professional beach volleyball player gives you in the business world, but I don't necessarily think that being a professional blogger and getting one book published indicates someone is at the pinnacle of their profession, and therefore in a position to be dispensing advice to others. I don't claim to be at the pinnacle of my profession, but I can also say that I've never been fired for blowing off work assignments to work on freelance jobs. I've actually never been fired, period. My best piece of advice to any generation of worker is this: almost any company, big or small, is looking for people who make some attempt to fit themselves into the system, to some degree. While I don't believe that the whole system of paying your dues by working like crazy until you reach a particular job title is still relevant in all companies, I do think that most people are not going to be successful by going into a job and trying to get by on their looks and iconoclastic personality from day 1, which is basically what Trunk advises.
I recently read a fiction book where the author described a workplace where employees were divided into two categories: Golden Children, who could get away with almost anything without really putting their time into their work, and Work Horses, who picked up the Golden Children's slack. Most workplaces I have been part of fit that characterization pretty well. And I admit that as a Work Horse myself, being a Golden Child looks pretty good sometimes. But here's the thing. A career is a marathon, not a sprint. People do need to think strategically and make smart moves at the right time, but glossing through job after job after job expecting your looks and your chutzpah to carry the day isn't going to lead to the substantive success most people are seeking. Especially for women, relying on your looks to get you places isn't the safest bet. There are new, younger, hotter women coming into the workforce every day that you keep getting older. Somewhere along the line, you need to have some kind of skills and experience to deliver what you've sold people on. My suspicion is that Trunk was a Golden Child who couldn't deliver, time after time, and so therefore had to "create her own career" when she ended up basically unemployable after job-hopping/being fired too many times.
One more word about money - it's great if you can sponge off your parents while you find your place in the work world. It's great if you can live on $40,000 a year. Maybe for Trunk, money doesn't equal happiness, but in response to that idea, I will steal a line from one of my favorite movies and say: Look at the freakin' smile on my face - ear to ear, baby. I've worked in jobs I loved for no money and jobs I hated for a lot of money, and I can safely say that the best thing is to work a job you love that ALSO pays a lot of money. Which is totally possible, but I don't think Trunk's tips will get you there. It takes a mix of aggressive decision-making and hard work to really get to the point of true success, which is not purely defined by money, but to me, is defined by the ability to have some level of financial security (to the point where you don't have to go into debt to take a few weeks of maternity leave) and satisfaction with your work.
So advice seekers, beware this book. I imagine that if someone who is truly successful, who has truly managed to combine work and family life (like Meg Whitman of eBay) would take one look at Trunk's resume and think it was a joke. The advice in this book certainly is, and I hope there aren't a bunch of bright-eyed, bushy-tailed young career women out there taking it. What Trunk describes in this book is not true success. It's the truest version of success she's managed to talk herself into accepting, because she got handicapped by her own limitations.
Looks like drivel from someone's blog. Don't pay money for this. If you can get it for free you might be able to scrap a couple lines of useful information from it.
Unfortunately, too many of the newest members of the work force haven't learned this yet and are looking for the easy way to success. They are playing right into Penelope's hands. She is making a living telling Gen X & Y what they want to hear rather than how things really are. I call it 'unscrupulous opportunism.' Sadly, she is not alone here. Some things never change.