The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha
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|The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha|
|Reviewer: Robert James|
|Summary: Excellent careers advice for the modern world, given by two leaders in their field.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 272||Date: February 2012|
|Publisher: Random House Business|
|External links: Author's website|
In decades gone by, educated workers in many industries could view their careers as an elevator – rising through the ranks of a company before stepping aside and settling into a comfortable retirement. In today's vastly different job market, with much less loyalty from both employers and employees, your career is more likely to follow the model of some promotions mixed in with frequent sideways moves to other companies and perhaps even completely different industries. Time, then, for a new guide to how to handle your employment prospects.
It's written by two men with impeccable credentials. Reid Hoffman is co-founder and chairman of LinkedIn, by far the biggest professional network in the world, while Ben Casnocha founded Comcate, Inc at the age of just 14 and wrote the well-received My Start-Up Life: What a (Very) Young CEO Learned on His Journey Through Silicon Valley about his experiences. With authors like this, it was something of a concern for me that the book might be going over the head of readers such as myself who are fairly early on in their careers. Thankfully, they definitely haven't fallen into that trap – if anything, they may have over-simplified things just a tiny bit. A significant amount of the advice given here is common sense, although it doesn't do you any harm to be reminded of it, I suppose.
That said, the majority of the book consists of excellent thought-provoking guidance, particularly on the subject of building a network of people who can help you with your career – and who you can help with theirs. The importance of the second part of that is really stressed; clearly, you don't want to get a reputation as someone who is only out for what they can get. Hoffman and Casnocha give some great insights on just how you can make sure that you're using contacts to your full advantage to help both you and them out.
Naturally, given Hoffman's role, LinkedIn is promoted heavily as being a great way to do this – but that's unsurprising and hard to argue with since it's firmly established as the largest professional network going. In fact, the one thing I was hoping to see more of was some advice on how best to use LinkedIn groups. From my short time on the site, they seem to be full of potential but there's little here on them. On the other hand, the advice given on making the most of your second and third degree connections on the network (people who you can be introduced to by either a current acquaintance, or an acquaintance of an acquaintance) is superb, and I've had real success in just a few days putting this into practice.
The reason for the book's title, by the way, is that the authors are of the belief that the current way to treat your career is nearly identical to the way you would run a start-up business – taking stock of assets, crafting plans for the future, and building up that all-important network of contacts. It's an interesting analogy which they develop very well.
I'm really glad I read this one and it's provided me with an awful lot to think about when it comes to planning for the future. It would probably have been even more valuable if I was slightly younger and at the start of my career – but I suppose I can hardly blame the authors for me being born too soon! An extremely interesting and informative read which I'd certainly recommend.
If you're interested in being your own boss and actually running a start-up, the lessons here will definitely serve you in good stead - and a perfect companion would be the superb Make it Happen: The Prince's Trust Guide to Starting Your Own Business by The Prince's Trust. We can also recommend Rockstar Retirement Programme: How to retire like a rockstar by Dominic Watson.
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You can read more book reviews or buy The Start-up of You: Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha at Amazon.com.
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