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Archive for the ‘Books’ Category

Archive: A Reputation for Trustworthiness — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

April 18th, 2014 Comments off

Get this entire series (and added content) in the Kindle book, “Cultivating Your Career Reputations”!

You don’t need a Kindle to buy or read. Kindle book are usable via web browser and Kindle apps for your computer, Android and iOS (iPhone/iPad) devices.

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Read and listen to the first column in this series, Cultivating Your Career Reputations.

If a hierarchy exists to the reputations I have highlighted so far this month, trustworthiness would surely be near, if not at, the top of the list. Trust, as I have written in Career Opportunities before, is one of the most critical elements of any successful career. Without trust it is nearly impossible to achieve anything. You must trust others, they must trust you and you all must trust yourselves in order for everyone to thrive.

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If your time is spent worrying whether your co-workers will do what they have said they would, you will have great difficulty accomplishing anything yourself. If you do not deliver on your commitments, then those around you will find their effectiveness crippled. Lack of trust is an insidious beast, roaming our lives and insuring that no one moves forward.

As with many issues in our careers and in our lives, we must seek to understand ourselves better before we can ever hope to understand others. If we look deeply at our own reputation for trustworthiness, what do we see? Do we follow through on commitments? Do we keep our promises to others?…to ourselves? If not, you need to examine the cause. Do you feel you can trust no one, so therefore you need not be trustworthy yourself? I know I have met a few people like this in the past. Truth, to them, is a fluid concept, subjective, without any concrete meaning. They tell whatever truth will gain them the greatest advantage at the moment, without regard to others. They will often lie outright, it if suits their purposes.

While I doubt that any of you fall into such a dubious category, lack of trustworthiness can manifest itself in subtler ways. Often, we display our lack through missed or ignored promises. Nothing demonstrates trustworthiness more clearly than our ability to fulfill our promises and commitments to others and ourselves. If we fail to deliver, those around us will quickly learn that we are not to be trusted. Conversely, if you want to demonstrate your trustworthiness, keep your commitments religiously. Don’t make promises you cannot keep and, if problems arise, renegotiate your promises and commitments so that those around can plan accordingly.

Of course, what happens when you are confronted with untrustworthy people as co-workers, managers or clients? First, you can attempt to help them change. Remember, though, that you cannot force them to change. They have to come to the realization that they are being untrustworthy and adjust their behavior accordingly. If someone is making unrealistic promises, help them to adjust their outlook. Often, especially in younger people, they are too eager to please and therefore make commitments they cannot keep.

You can see this frequently in young workers , working perhaps their first or second jobs. Rather than risk offending their boss, they will agree to impossible deadlines and deliverables that they have no way of achieving. Of course, when they fail to deliver, it has exactly the opposite effect they wanted to achieve. Now their manager will feel that they can no longer trust them. In an effort to please, they have damaged their career much worse than if they had negotiated a longer deadline or less ambitious plan.

Worst of all, trust is fragile beyond belief. There are no second warnings when trust is violated. In some cases, you might be fired at the first signs. Instinctively, people know that trust is so important that any transgression, no matter how small, is dangerous to everyone involved. This is why you need to guard against any sign of untrustworthiness, from the very beginning of your career. If those around you feel they can’t trust you, your job and career are in grave danger. Let this lack of trust spill over into your life and even larger problems are sure to occur. Trustworthy people are given the benefit of the doubt when untoward events occur. Untrustworthy ones are the first in line to be fired. It is easy to see on which side of that equation you want to fall.

Without trust, all other reputations have no foundation, no place to stand. Trust is so integral to our work and life that, without this underpinning, you will find yourself struggling, no matter how amazing your knowledge, skills or other stellar reputations. Take trust to heart and understand it has the ability to directly and critically effect the success of your career.


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Link Focus: Grab Over 500 Free Programming Books from GitHub from

March 7th, 2014 Comments off

Link focus logo

Grab Over 500 Free Programming Books from GitHub from

This story from points up just how easy it can be to get an education in today’s world. The article links to over 500 free programming ebooks available for download from GitHub — the home to version control service Git and a social network focused around programming.


Github Web Site

Programming languages are covered, but also books on algorithms and data structures, databases, data mining, machine learning and much more. Hit the link for a complete index and download links.

Whether you are a technology beginner or someone seeking to build their career (or change to a new one) online resources like this a free and easy source of learning materials to help you on your way. Combine these with a mentor or two and you can be learning a lot investing mainly your time.

More info on GitHub:

Link Focus is a series that comments on some of the links I share on my social media accounts and here on the web site. To get these links as I find them, subscribe to me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and elsewhere. Also look for the “My Favorite Things” posts that appear regularly in the blog. These include collections of links for each calendar month.

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It is impossible to achieve a straight bearing north in any career…

March 7th, 2014 Comments off

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“It is impossible to achieve a straight bearing north in any career. Jobs pull you in all directions — North, East, South, West. 

You will constantly be adjusting course to follow your Career North.”

                  — from “Career Compass: Finding Your Career North” by Douglas E. Welch

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Categories: Books, Career Tips, Tips Tags:

Why is it so easy to avoid making decisions?

March 3rd, 2014 Comments off

Avoid decisions

From Cultivating Your Career Reputations

“Why is it so easy to avoid making decisions? Simply because, by avoiding decisions we think we are avoiding failure. If we never choose one project over another, we never have to explain why a project failed. If we never write the book, we don’t have to explain why it wasn’t better. We risk nothing because we never make even the simplest decisions. Of course, I am sure you can already see the fallacy behind the concept. If you fail to make any decisions, you are risking your entire job at a very fundamental level.” 

Categories: Books, Career Tips, Tips Tags:

Subscribed 46: Scott Berkun – author and speaker on creativity, leadership, philosophy

January 3rd, 2014 Comments off

This post was originally written for my blog, Careers in New Media, but the content that Scott presents lends itself to building the career you deserve, too. Check out his blog and other entries in the Subscribed series on Career in New Media. — Douglas

Subscribed 46: Scott Berkun

If fine myself reading and sharing a lot of content from Scott Berkun, so it only makes sense to highlight him here are part the Subscribed series. Scott’s recent article, How to overcome cynicism, was a great example. It can be easy to fall victim to to cynicism in life and business and I salute him for taking on such a chronic issue.

How do you overcome cynicism in an environment determined to maintain it?

You overcome a toxic environment by walking out the door. Unless you happen to be a powerful person in the organization, it is not your fault that the environment is cynical, broken, dysfunctional, toxic, demented, twisted or incompetent. Managers and executives are paid a great deal more than the average employee and the main thing that comes with that pay grade is accountability. If the place depresses you, look upwards: the people in power make it this way. It’s uncommon for people in power to be motivated to make big changes since they like being in power.

Read the entire article

Scott berkun

From Scott Berkun’s web site…

I’m an author and speaker. My work has appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Wall Street Journal, The Economist, The Guardian, Wired magazine, National Public Radio, The Huffington Post and other media. I taught at the University of Washington, blog for Harvard Business and BusinessWeek, and have appeared as an expert on various subjects on CNN, CNBC and MSNBC.

My latest book, The Year Without Pants: & The Future of Work released in Sept 2013 and was named an best book of the year.

Read Scott’s entire biography

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Other books by Scott Berkun

What are some of your favorite Subscriptions? Share them here in the comments!

Previously highlighted on Subscribed:

Subscribed is a Careers in New Media series  highlighting the Podcasts, YouTube Channels and Blogs that I follow on a daily basis. Check out this entry, and past entries, for some great New Media Content — Douglas

Categories: Books, Business, Elsewhere, Special Tags:

Gift Guide 2013: Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

December 17th, 2013 Comments off

Art & Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking

With interests in both art and business, it seems only natural to combine them in my mind. “Art & Fear” addresses the all-to-common issues with creating art and I believe there are a lot of parallels to any career. Most art is about overcoming fear and it is the same with your career. You need to work through the fear in order to create something wonderful, not matter what you do.

“This is a book about making art. Ordinary art. Ordinary art means something like: all art not made by Mozart. After all, art is rarely made by Mozart-like people; essentially—statistically speaking—there aren’t any people like that. Geniuses get made once-a-century or so, yet good art gets made all the time, so to equate the making of art with the workings of genius removes this intimately human activity to a strangely unreachable and unknowable place. For all practical purposes making art can be examined in great detail without ever getting entangled in the very remote problems of genius. –from the Introduction


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Gift Guide 2013: Moleskeine Journals

December 10th, 2013 Comments off

Moleskeine Journals of all sorts

No matter how much technology i have at hand, I always find myself falling back on my paper journal as a data gathering, thought-provoking and capturing, friend. Yes, I carry and iPhone, but there is something about writing things out longhand in a paper journal that makes you think more deeply and locks in the information more completely. Moleskeine journals are the sine quo non of paper journals. Their quality is high and they have been carried by artists and business people for generations. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, lines and more, including day-to-day calendars, travel journals and city guide. 

My favorite is this large, lined journal. Right now I have a Lego Moleskeine waiting to be put into service as soon as I fill my current journals. I can’t wait!


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Gift Guide 2013: Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

November 30th, 2013 Comments off

Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive

While some might read a book like this for tips on manipulating others to do what they want, I found some great insight into what drives people to make the choices they do. As an organizer of events like CareerCampLA and others, finding ways to persuade people to sponsor and attend these events is critical. Yes! has many great ideas on how to use people’s own desire to be persuaded to work in your favor, and hopefully their favor as well.


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Gift Guide 2013: Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod

November 20th, 2013 Comments off

Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity by Hugh MacLeod

Well-known blogger (, back-of-business-card cartoonist and advertising copywriter, Hugh MacLeod, leads us through his list of “What I Believe” in his book, Ignore Everybody and 39 Other Keys to Creativity.

Like other books I have read recently, this is what I consider a “real world example.” Every aspect of the book draws on his experiences in advertising, blogging and cartooning. It makes you think. It make you stop sometimes and glance up at the ceiling to take stock of what you have just read. Some of the sections may seem contradictory to others that you have read, but that’s ok. Life itself is pretty contradictory, too, and the best advice is often to look at a problem from all sides.

Some sections feel like MacLeod is getting in you face and telling you how he thinks the world really operates. You can chose to believe him, or not, but you can’t ignore him. I think this is one of the marks of a good author. Mediocre authors can be be ignored, but good authors force you to pay attention, whether you agree with them or not.

Ignore Everybody is based on a blog, so it is divided into distinctly blog-like sections. Each has a beginning, middle and end, but also ties together nicely as a whole. MacLeod even recommends blogging for others who want to share their creativity with the world — something I often recommend myself to my clients. Those unfamiliar with blogs might find the style a big choppy, but even someone older like me can find it enjoyable and informative if you keep an open mind.

If you need a recharge in your creative life, are looking for the next step in your career or just trying to make sense of the world around you, Ignore Everybody could be an interesting and enjoyable read.

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Gift Guide 2013: Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

November 18th, 2013 Comments off

Do the Work by Steven Pressfield

I have read — and re-read — Do the work by Steven Pressfield and would highly recommend you do the same. In fact, I am thinking that I will make it (and Pressfield’s earlier book, The War of Art) required reading before I will work with any client. Both books have helped me tremendously in my life and work. We all have to start somewhere on our creative adventures and Pressfield’s books are like an experienced guide that can help to lead us through the creative forest. Revisiting them on a regular basis reenergizes me to face the fight that all creatives feel.

Of course, creativity isn’t just the domain of some specialized class of people. We are all creative in unique ways and we all experience the haunting voice of resistance, as Pressfield names the monster that frightens all of us away from big, transformative changes in our lives. Pressfield reminds us of the nature of this beast and gives us the tools we need to defeat it — again and again.

In my work, I meet so many people who don’t realize their own potential. They drastically underestimate their power to change their lives and change the world. They face the resistance dragon and allow it to eat them nearly every time instead of emerging, triumphant, like St. George. It is often my goal to give them the tools — the horse, the lance, the sword — to help them slay the dragon of resistance just as I have to fight against it everyday. Sometimes I can bring them along with me — at other times, not, but I will never stop trying.

So, to repeat my unasked for advice — get these books, read them and then start on your own creative adventure. You can overcome resistance and create something new, something unique and something great!

The War of Art is also available from Amazon and your local public library. Add it to your creative toolbox today!


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