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  • Jeff Somers 6:00 pm on 2018/10/04 Permalink
    Tags: business, read the room, what color is your parachute   

    10 Books To Read Before Your Next Job Interview 

    Job interviews are among the most stressful and anxiety-producing moments in life. Whatever level your career, the fact is you’re submitting yourself to the judgment of strangers for whom you must distill the essence of your skills and experience into a series of bite-sized answers. Everyone knows the fear that you’ll miss out on a great opportunity just because you flubbed one question, or because your handshake was too sweaty, or because the interviewer decided to ask how many hot dogs get eaten every day in the world.

    To avoid disaster and regret, Preparation is key. If you’ve got time to read, before your interview, you’ve got time to acquire the skills and develop strategies that will ensure that even if you don’t get the job, it won’t be because you screwed up the interview. Here are 10 books that will make you the darling of hiring managers everywhere.


    Presence, by Amy Cuddy
    While most of us focus on studying up on the company we are interviewing for so we can answer every question and amaze with our experience and intelligence, there’s a whole other aspect that’s all about how you present yourself—your posture, your clothing, your presence. Harvard professor Cuddy gave a TED Talk about this very subject, then distilled it into this book, which will give you insight into how you can harness your energy and physicality in order to be confident and present in the moment. Although not specific to interviews, there’s little doubt Cuddy’s ideas won’t lead to a better impression in the room.

    Cracking the Code to a Successful Interview, by Evan Pellett
    Go straight to the source, and find out recruiters and hiring managers are thinking, and what they’re looking for from you. Pellet puts together a clear, eight-step process by which you can take control of the interview, allowing you to steer the conversation instead of rushing to keep up. At their core, all interviewers are looking for the same information and processing the same decisions, after all, Pellet helps you see through the superficial differences to the fundamental process underneath.

    The Art of the Interview, by James Storey
    From the basic questions (what is your worst quality?) to the esoteric (how would you design a spice rack for the blind?), interview questions can throw you off your game if you’re not prepared for them—and sometimes, that’s the whole point. The secret to handling any unexpected question is in the preparation—and reading Storey’s book is a great way to start. Covering all kinds of questions, Storey offers ideal responses and explains his thinking as to why they are the right ones. The book is also packed with sample questions, so you can practice your polished responses as well as challenge yourself to answer unexpected queries.

    Smart Answers to Tricky Interview Questions, by Rob Yeung
    Although also focused on tricky interview questions, Yeung’s book includes other scenarios to prepare for, as seen from an insider’s perspective—his work involves writing interview questions for recruiters. He offers guidance on how to instantly build rapport with interviewers and how to handle a wide variety of unexpected situations, including those tricky questions that seem designed to make you panic (and maybe they are). Yeung’s all-business approach is refreshingly focused, and offers a lot of return on your investment if you’re pressed for time before the big day.

    Mastering the Fundamentals

    How to Talk to Anyone, by Leil Lowndes
    An interview is, at its core, a meeting between people, and the simple fact is, some of us are naturals at being charming and relaxed when interacting with strangers, and some of us are… not. Lowndes offers a guide to being relaxed and in control of every situation, and leveraging that comfort into developing commanding conversational skills that will serve you well in a wide variety of situations—including even the most intimidating interviews. Lowndes covers everything from massaging egos to reading rooms, skills that will make it easier to perfect your presentation in just about any interview, allowing you to bring your knowledge and experience to the fore.

    What Color is Your Parachute?, by Richard N. Bolles
    This is the classic resource for job searchers, updated for the modern age and as valuable as ever. It covers every aspect of finding a new gig, from writing your resume to networking effectively, to, yes, the interview itself. While focusing in on the interview makes sense when you’ve gotten that far with your dream job, you have to actually get there first, so this holistic resource will not just prepare you to wow them in person, it will guide you to identifying the right job in the first place, and making sure you get that crucial first call.

    Business Writing Today, by Natalie C. Canavor
    After the interview comes the thank-you emails and follow-up communication—which is actually part of the interview process. You might have impressed them in the room, but if your follow-ups are poorly-written and laden with typos and grammatical errors, none of it will matter. Canavor offers not a general writing guide, but a specific one, focused on business writing. Reading it before your interview will prepare you to craft professional-sounding emails that will be the capper to a great interview performance. And once you have your dream job, this book will also help you keep up that sheen of competence in every memo you compose going forward.


    Down and Out in Paris and London, by George Orwell
    You might wonder how George Orwell’s memoir about living in poverty in the beginning of the century can help you with your interview. The answer is: perspective. Orwell, young and dumb in the ways of young people everywhere, was robbed by a woman of low reputation while, er, spending time with her, and invented a story on the spot to spare his parents the shock. Broke, he was forced to get a job washing dishes to survive, but that job led him to his first major publication credit. The moral? Your job search might take you in unexpected directions, but sometimes, the journey is the point, not the destination.

    Steve Jobs, by Walter Isaacson
    Just about every CEO wants to be Steve Jobs, and every executive wants to be CEO, meaning the business world is littered with folks who think they think different. Chances are good you’re going to encounter at least one Jobs acolyte who thinks management is all about willing things into reality, so you’d do well to understand the mindset before you wander into that interview. Plus, it serves as a good reminder that even Steve Jobs got fired and wandered the professional wilderness—so don’t sweat the interview too much. If it doesn’t work out, there will be another one.

    Grant, by Ron Chernow
    What can the biography of one of America’s great military leaders tell you about your upcoming interview? Well, Grant spent the first 40 years of his life more or less continuously failing: he lost jobs, lived in near-poverty, and by the time of the Civil War, was a broken, sad-sack of a man—a professional and financial failure. And then: he rose to be the supreme commander of the United States military, and was then elected president, proving that no matter how many interviews you bomb, you’re not done until you give up. Take a breath, read more books, get some sleep, and send out another stack of resumes.

    The post 10 Books To Read Before Your Next Job Interview appeared first on Barnes & Noble Reads.

  • Jeff Somers 4:30 pm on 2016/03/28 Permalink
    Tags: , business, , , steve case, , the information age   

    In The Third Wave, Steve Case Explains the Future of the Internet 

    There was a time not so long ago when going online was synonymous with America Online, largely because of the vision and drive of AOL CEO Steve Case. Under Case’s leadership, AOL was the best-performing stock of the 1990s; by 1999 it had 34 million subscribers and was valued at over $150 billion. After a disastrous merger with Time Warner that failed to give AOL access to TW’s cable internet infrastructure, Case left the company, which began its slow slide into irrelevance. Case himself avoided that fate, investing in up-and-coming startups and serving several U.S. presidents on technology-focused initiatives. Now, he’s written The Third Wave: An Entrepreneur’s Vision of the Futurea book detailing what he sees as a crucial moment in the history of the internet, the economy, and our country—and if you’re smart, you’ll pay attention.

    The Third Wave
    Case leverages his incredible experience and business acumen to make a compelling argument: the future of the internet is coming much faster than we might think, and if the U.S. doesn’t make fundamental changes at both the private and public levels, we might miss out on it. He argues there have been two “waves” of internet-related business so far: the first was the initial scale-up of the system and its commercialization by visionary companies like AOL. The second was the mobile revolution and the “app economy” that broke the internet free from the confines of the desktop computer. The third wave, Case argues, is the “internet of everything,” when the internet stops being something we interact with for short periods of time, and becomes something that exists constantly around us, in everything we use, from cars to appliances to medical tools to the clothes we wear.

    The bona fides
    Few people have Case’s sheer breadth of experience. Not only was he one of the only people to envision the early potential of the internet, not only did he build AOL into one of the most amazing success stories of the modern age, but he has continued to make shrewd investments with his firm Revolution LLC, helping companies like Zipcar and LivingSocial realize their potential. Few people have been so right about so many aspects of the Internet Age, making his new book a must-read for anyone trying to read the tea leaves of technology’s future.

    The lessons
    What makes The Third Wave so compelling a read is Case’s easygoing style, coupled with his brutal honesty. He discusses his triumphs and his failures—including the Time Warner merger, which should have been his victory dance and instead ended in disaster. He’s honest about mistakes made and opportunities missed throughout his career, and uses examples of each to outline lessons that inform his vision of the future. Case argues that phrases like “internet Epenabled” will soon be as archaic as saying an appliance is “electricity enabled.” He argues that companies will have to seek partnerships, because the Internet of Everything will have to work with existing products and industries, ranging from healthcare to education to manufacturing and farming. And he argues the government will need to be involved, but in a much more nimble and faster-moving way than ever before.

    The takeaway
    Should we fail to heed his advice, Case’s vision of the future is a grim one, in which the U.S. loses its competitive edge and other, hungrier nations take the lead. He doesn’t see this as inevitable, but he’s clear about the challenges ahead, and less than shy about outlining exactly what he thinks needs to happen to right the ship. Even if you discount his extensive experience, he makes a compelling argument. The Third Wave might sound like the title of a science fiction novel, but the fact is, it’s already lapping at our shores: many of us have smart thermostats in our homes, internet-connected cars in our garages, and wifi-enabled locks and lights we can manipulate from anywhere through our mobile devices. There’s little doubt the third wave is coming—the question is whether or not we, as a nation, will be able to catch it, and ride the crest all the way into shore.

  • Lauren Passell 3:42 pm on 2015/05/26 Permalink
    Tags: , , , business, grow your value, knowing your value, mika brzezinski,   

    11 Things We Learned at the Mika Brzezinski #BNAuthorEvent 

    Mika Brezinski and her Morning Joe co-host Joe Scarborough stopped by a Manhattan Barnes & Noble last week to discuss Mika’s latest book, Grow Your Value, a book piggybacking off of Mika’s first success, Knowing Your Value, a manual for women struggling to evaluate their worth in the workplace. “In her books, Mika tells everyone all the mistakes she’s ever made in her life, and it’s very raw and real,” Joe said. “She’s also like Lucy, in I Love Lucy. She’ll trip, she’ll make everyone laugh.” Here are the most important things we learned during Mika’s event.

    Mika’s first book, Knowing Your Valuechanges people’s lives. “Ever since that book came out people would say, ‘I read your book, I got a raise. I read your book, I got a raise. I read your book, I got a raise.’ Women starting their careers, women in middle America, women working in insurance companies, women working in doctor’s offices, and women at really high levels.”

    Mika finally made it to the dentist. In her book, she writes about how she’s so strapped for time that she doesn’t have time to take care of herself, which means she neglects things like dental checkups. The day of the event, Mika actually had a lisp because she had been fitted with braces that morning. “This is a little awkward,” she said. “I usually tell women not to apologize for things, but I really am sorry about the lisp.” She then turned to Joe and added, “This is the one time I wish you’d interrupt me as much as possible.”

    In the workplace, it’s not about being liked. “We have it backwards. Women want to be liked in negotiations. No. Make them respect you first. And after they respect you, being liked follows.”20150521_B&N_Brzezinski_506 copy

    Women need to learn how to press the reset button when things are going wrong in their lives and careers. “It’s unbelievable how men are able to do that. It’s like they’ve forgotten everything, which they might really have. When something bad happens to women they bring that bad thing into every meeting and it clutters our brains. Men go into meetings as if nothing has happened.”

    When Mika joined Joe on Morning Joe as his co-anchor, she was making fourteen times less than him. She realized she had to be a fierce advocate for herself. In a meeting with the president of MSNBC she said, “Phil, you are a bad boyfriend.” Mika explains: “Do you know what a bad boyfriend is? It’s when you do his dry cleaning, you make his dinner, you play house, and you think he’s going to marry you. And he never, ever marries you. Ever. I said, ‘Phil, you’re going to need to marry me. Or it’s just going to be Morning Joe and not Morning Mika. Good luck with that.'” She knew her value, negotiated a raise, and now is paid more fairly.

    Negotiations should feel uncomfortable. “We always feel like we need to make people feel comfortable negotiating. That is the last thing you need to do when you negotiate. If you leave a negotiation feeling comfortable, you left some money on the table.”

    Stop saying “I’m sorry.” “When we do say what needs to be said, we usually couple it with two words, ‘I’m sorry,’ which really undermines the whole point, and is a lie, because you’re not sorry.”

    Most working women feel like they lead double lives. “Claire McCaskill has nailed it in Washington—she has learned how to negotiate and how to be tough. But she would go home and be utterly speechless with her family, totally incapable of connecting with them. A total suck-up. Claire McCaskill. Have you ever seen her on her show? This woman is not a suck-up. She punches Joe in the nose for fun. Goes home and is scrambling, trying to make a meatloaf, sucking up to her kids, having a hard time transferring her work skills into her home. It’s a universal problem among women.”

    20150521_B&N_Brzezinski_646 copy According to Joe, when Mika was fired from CBS she did something that most people don’t do when they have no leverage. “She got on the phone and started begging for jobs.” “That’s what you have to do,” Mika said. “If you don’t put yourself out there, you don’t know what can happen.”

    Mika wasn’t happy as a stay-at-home mom. Joe said that “when Mika was unemployed, her kids were five and seven. The Christmas card that year was a photo of them holding signs that said, ‘Please find my mommy a job. Get her out of here.'”

    Mika was an English major. She asks in her book, “what does Jane Austen have to do with a homicide in Hartford?” Yet studying literature gave her a leg up in her career. “My parents told me, ‘You can do whatever you want, but you need to get a base education. You need to study philosophy, sociology, history, political science, English. Choose a major in liberal arts and learn to write and think and feel. And then go after your interests. That reading and knowledge really comes back to build you in times in your career when you need it. Having a solid education will come to help you later.'”


    Browse the B&N Author Event Archives >


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