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Monday, August 16, 2004

Book: Career Warfare by David F. D'Alessandro

Career Warfare by David F. D'Alessandro

2004 McGraw-Hill

I guess I came across mention of this title in an issue of Fast Company, but I can't be sure. It seems like something they would feature in the magazine, though.

I wasn't that interested in this book initially, but it quickly grew on me. D'Alessandro (in partnership with Michele Owens) speaks from with an assured voice and what is, obviously, real-world experience. Even more, the book is filled with clear and illustrative examples of what can go wrong, and right, as you build your career.

I am happy to see a CEO focus on something of use to everyone instead of the usual accounts of how they crushed the competition and turned themselves and their shareholders into ultra-millionaires. Everyone works. Everyone has a boss and nearly everyone can benefit from this book.

D'Alessandro speaks about the need to "analyze" your boss into one of the 7 archetypes he has developed from his experiences. Are they a "Little League Parent" or a "Mentor"? A "Wastrel"? A "Pariah"? How can you identify the and how do you develop your career with, or in spite, of them. While you certainly want to judge people solely on the management skills, understanding the basic types can help to make you life easier.

The author's experiences and insights dovetail nicely with my own career experiences. I have seen almost all of the boss varieties he describes, both bad and good. It is always a reassuring to hear that you aren't the only person to have struggled with career issues.

Career Warfare is one of those books that should be given to every college student sometime around their junior year. I know I certainly would have been spared a lot of "hard knocks" learning had this book been available back in the early 80's. Reading this book could prepare new careerists for the realities that will face and give them a "leg up" into the working world.

Current managers can also benefit, as well. The book is an excellent way to do a "gut check" and see if you are really the manager you want to be. Idealistically, I would also recommend this book even the most experienced managers so they might recognize any bad habits they might have adopted over the years and seek to correct them, even at this late date.

D'Alessandro gives some excellent advice for "getting along" in troublesome work environments, but shares my assessment that there are times when you should never compromise your ethics. It is always better to find a new job than find yourself under investigation. Being out of work damages your personal brand much less than becoming a convicted felon. Ask Martha Stewart.

Overall, this book was an easy and engaging read. One that reinforced my own experience and beliefs, yet also elicited new thoughts and concepts on what it means to have a career.

Highly recommended.


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