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A PhD Is Not Enough!: A Guide to Survival in Science Paperback – January 11, 2011
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About the Author
A Senior Scientist at Sandia National Laboratories, Peter J. Feibelman received a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California at San Diego, did postdoctoral research at the C.E.N. Saclay (France) and the University of Illinois (Urbana), and taught for three years at Stony Brook University. Feibelman lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Top Customer Reviews
The first chapter of the book starts out with some scary examples of how freshly minted PhD holders quickly go wrong. The second chapter of the book gives some very practical advice on how to choose the right advisor for you- an often repeated mistake many graduate students make (including myself). The advice in the second chapter serves grad students and post docs equally well, and could almost be interchangeable.
The third and fourth chapters are about the bread and butter of a scientist's life- being able to give successful talks and writing compelling, useful publications. Feibelman tells us here that it is OK to regurgitate known material, to write your research publication as if you were telling a story, and most importantly, to make small, meaningful contributions.
Chapters five and six of the book discuss choosing the right career path after getting the sheepskin and how to shine in your job interviews, respectively. Competition is stiff in academia for positions, as we all know, and the situation is only marginally better in government and corporate labs, but Feibelman gives the new PhD some sound advice.Read more ›
Another very precious thing that this book reveals is that going directly to academia after your PhD is probably not the best way to establish yourself as a scientist. There are too many duties (teaching, handling the students, departmental meetings, etc) that demand your time that you won't enough time to do the main tasks - bring in a grant, reseach and publish. A better way is to go to an industrial or govermental lab and establish your scientific reputation there. You won't have the distractions and can concentrate on getting grant, research and publish. After you are established, you can go to academia easily, if you so choose.
Finally, the author reveals another big secret - pursue your long term research goal by a sequence of small projects.
This book is an excellent and indispensible guide for budding scientists. Get this book if you are serious about becoming a scientist. Highly recommended.
The only shortcoming I find with the book is its focus on high level research. As a top scientist at a government lab, Feibelman directs his comments to those whose aspirations are similar to his. Not all of us who do research aspire to, or can, be tops in our field however. If you're looking for a book that tells you how to balance teaching and research or how to survive in different types of academic institutions, for example, a better choice would be Tomorrow's Professor by Richard Reis. Feibelman focuses only on the research side of the coin however.
Still, the book is excellent and can be useful to anyone whose career includes scientific research. I only wish I had found it earlier!
On the positive side, if you read the anecdotes and success/failure stories that constitute a significant fraction of the book, there is a lot to be learned. Some provide hope because they remind you that others have successfully overcome the same challenges you have faced. Others reinforce the often overlooked point that, while having a supportive mentor is beneficial, we are in a career where being your own best advocate is a must. Taking the anecdotal stories as advice on how to best represent yourself and prepare for your career can make this a useful read. That having been said, the value of the advice tapers off the later in your career you read it.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Helpful for those considering advanced degrees and a career in academia in the sciences. Essential to make informed decisions your future.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
I am currently a graduate student. In a couple years I will be applying to PhD programs. This book had some great suggestions. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Amazon Customer
This is a must read if your planning on staying in a research capacity after completing your PhD in the hard sciences or engineering. Read morePublished 3 months ago by MSE fanatic
PhD is truly a needs assessments to understand yourself and the journey that you about to take in life.Published 5 months ago by Bernestine Dawkins
I bought this book as an undergrad thinking about grad school. I wanted to learn more about what career opportunities would come from a PhD in sciences and I wanted to know what I... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Daniel
Unfortunately, a PhD is not enough... but neither is this book. The advice granted by the book is not anything I haven't heard before. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Nadia H
Learned a lot out of it; some chapters are very interesting to me. Shared the book with other friends.Published 7 months ago by Dachao Sun
This book only has value if you are in the physical sciences (and maybe math and engineering). Since I am not in and have limited knowledge of these fields, I cannot comment on... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Asa