The way we manage our careers now is very different than in the recent past. It takes different skills to stand out in an organization and a very different approach to be successful in a career that will span work at a variety of organizations.
Reid Hoffman, cofounder of the popular business and career oriented social network LinkedIn, and his coauthor Ben Casnocha, make the case that the best approach to managing your career these days is to approach it as an entrepreneur would successfully manage a start-up company.
After convincingly establishing why you should think of your career as a start-up, the authors spend the bulk of the book explaining key strategies for success in start-ups and in your career. Focusing on your core competencies with gusto is crucial, but so is having contingency plans. And not only having them, but actively working them even has you pursue your current path. You may need or want to pivot to another plan at some point. They suggest really only three plans – your current “Plan A,” a solid “Plan B,” and a last-resort “Plan Z” just in case things go wrong with both Plan A & B.
The book makes a strong case (not surprisingly) for constantly building and leveraging your professional network. There are great tips on the main areas that require focus and attention here, with many specific examples.
Risk taking is the third big focus area of the book. The authors provide good advice for assessing risk and how to take smart risks in your career. The advice here provides a good strategic framework for thinking through the many choices you’ll need to make over the course of your career, such as when you to pivot from a Plan A to a Plan B.
The book is well-written and easy to read. The tone is positive and encouraging, with lots of great tips scattered throughout the content. Each chapter is punctuated with a list of ways to “invest in yourself” that includes things you should do immediately, in the next week, and in the next month, making it easy to translate the lessons of the book into concrete actions. The book concludes with a nice summary and great suggestions for further reading.
I think this book is spot on in its assessment of today’s world of work and what individuals should be thinking and doing in order to succeed. I highly recommend this book.