I’ve been meaning to read Daniel Pink’s book, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, for some time. I’m happy to say I finally got to it last week and found the ideas relevant enough to share with you. (The book is actually a manga style comic that will take you about 20 minutes to read.)
Here are Pink’s six career concepts.
1. There is no plan.
“What it means is that you can’t sit there at age 21- or even 31 or 41 or 51- and map it all out.”
Pink also makes two subtler points in this section.
One point is based on the idea that one way parents show their love for their kids is by sending them down financially secure career paths. Pink’s argument is that due to the high rate of change in the world today these secure paths may not wind up staying secure.
The second point is that ‘keeping your options open’ often means turning your back on the career path that you’d truly like to choose.
2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
“Their (Martin Seligman and Marcus Buckingham) research has found that the key to success is to steer around your weakness and focus on your strengths. Successful people don’t try too hard to improve what they’re bad at. They capitalize on what they’re good at.”
3. It’s not about you.
“It’s about your customer. It’s about your client. Use your strengths, yes, but remember… you’re here to serve- not to self-actualize.”
4. Persistence trumps talent.
“…there are massive returns to doggedness. The people who achieve the most are often the ones who stick with it when others don’t.”
“That’s why intrinsic motivation is so important. Doing things not to get an external reward like money or a promotion, but because you simply like doing it. The more intrinsic motivation you have, the more likely you are to persist. The more you persist, the more likely you are to succeed.”
5. Make excellent mistakes.
“Too many people spend their time avoiding mistakes. They’re so concerned about being wrong, about messing up, that they never try anything- which means they never do anything. Their focus is avoiding failure. But that’s actually a crummy way to achieve success. The most successful people make spectacular mistakes- huge, honking screwups! Why? They’re trying to do something big. But each time they make a mistake, they get a little better and move a little closer to excellence.”
6. Leave an imprint.
“..I am asking you to think about your purpose… to recognize that your life isn’t infinite, and that you should use your limited time here to do something that matters.”
Is this book actually the last career guide you’ll ever need? Probably not, since the concepts are only presented at a high level. Actually implementing these ideas requires quite a bit more strategy and understanding. That said, the concepts presented are valuable and research based and the format of the book is fun and unusual.