My boss was looking to start a book club in our team/department (I work at a business school), so, I excitedly took the reigns and ran with it. The intent is to be work/self-improvement focused, pulling from what is impacting our work, and our students. Our first go around we read Malika Chopra’s “Living with Intent,” as she was a keynote speaker for an event on campus. For the next book, I suggested this one as the author is a faculty member and I had the opportunity to watch a webinar where he talked about this book, and his findings regarding career development.
Overall, I found the content of the book to be insightful, interesting, and well-researched. I feel like I learned a lot, not only things that will be valuable to myself, but also a clearer understanding of MBA students. Most of the examples and career advice isn’t directly translatable for her, as I am not aiming to be in the business world but rather the academic side of the house, but the insight into the pressures and trajectory of business executives was interesting.
In this book, Cast posits that there are 5 Career Derailers, personality traits and weaknesses that can derail careers. The book suffers a little structurally, as there are things grouped within the descriptions of the derailers that don’t seem to relate directly to that specific derailer. It was almost as if there were these good nuggets of wisdom that he wasn’t sure where to put. But, that aside, the content was clear and palatable. Each has a snappy name and clear explanation, and the book has an assessment you can take to show where you lie on each of the five dimensions. Again, I’m not the target audience for the tool, but I still found it useful. The first half of the book details the “wrong stuff,” i.e., the derailers, and the back half is where he talks about the “right stuff,” skills and attributes that are critical for a successful career.
There was some great insight in the “right” section about some of the detractors unique to women, and how to combat them, and I also specifically appreciated that as a white man he didn’t presume to give all the answers, or claim to be an expert in that area, but he importantly made note of some key career differences women will likely face.
I’m excited for our book club meeting next week, as he will be in attendance, so I’m hoping to have good conversation and do a little deeper dive into how I can utilize this as I work with students.