Release year: 2022 (originally 1970, updated annually)

Author: Richard N. Bolles

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Link to my handwritten notes


According to its front cover, What Color Is Your Parachute is the world’s most popular and bestselling career handbook. After reading it, it’s easy to see why. Here is a book that has been updated yearly since 1970, skipping only 3 years in total. I have never seen something like this before. The combination of timeless wisdom about how knowing oneself deeply will set you on the path to your dream job, and fresh advice on how to correctly leverage the latest technologies to help your search, is a powerful one.

I read the book as a curiosity. Even though right now I am happy to say I have found a nice place to work, I was still looking for a job less than 2 months ago. The questions I was trying to answer while reading this book were: 1) Was there some hint I could have used during my job search? 2) Am I tackling the right field of work for my skills and interests? 3) What makes this book so highly regarded?

You know what they say about job hunting: it’s a full-time job in itself (and a demanding one, at that). Reading this book feels like work. You will be asked to get your notebook out and take some notes, write stories, prioritize things, etc. It is a demanding book, in the sense that it forces you to ask yourself questions you probably never considered before. It asks of you to really dig deep in your soul and tell yourself the truth about yourself.

The way it does this is through the Flower Exercise, a seven step workshop where you must figure out what kind of people you want to work with, what working conditions, what transferable skills you have, what knowledge you possess, your desired salary range, your desired geography, and finally your purpose in life. This forms the fabled parachute. The theory is, if you keep these truths about yourself in mind, you maximize your chances to accept a position that will fulfill you. Dream big, but also, dream right.

The rest of the book is filled with neat advice, unwritten rules, and above all, hope. If you’re #jobhunting, if you’re unsure of what your next step should be, if you want to know what you are looking for, I strongly recommend you give this book the time it asks of you. It’s a great investment.

Félix rating:

⭐ Star quotes

  1. You are a person, not a job. (p. 104)
  2. Instead of just hitting the “Invite” button on LinkedIn, always include a short personalized message. (p. 215)
  3. Unlearn the idea that our unique Mission must consist of some achievement for all the world to see, and learn instead that as the stone does not always know what ripples it has caused in the pond whose surface it impacts, so neither we nor those who watch our life will always know what we have achieved by our life and by our Mission. (p. 315)
  4. The place your Mission needs you is where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet. (p. 324)
  5. If you approach your job hunt as an opportunity to work on this issue as well as the issue of how you will keep body and soul together, then hopefully your job hunt will end with your being able to say, “Life has deep meaning to me now. I have discovered more than my ideal job. I have found my Mission, and the reason why I am here on Earth.” (p. 325)