I will not forget the glance from a flight passenger as she nudged her boyfriend to steal a glance at the title of my book, as they made their ways to their seats in the plane. What is it to her? An why do I care what anyone thinks what I read? Well, in this particular case, I admit I was not proud to be reading a book with such a desperate and classless title. But this is 2007, a year when I have been soul searching for a direction in my life, and in my career – and embarrassment was not going to keep my curiosity at bay.
I used to like Stanley Bing’s column in Fortune back when I read the magazine and followed the economy and corporate trends more closely. That’s partially why I wanted to read about Stanley’s take on these mysteriously fabulous yet easy to achieve top 100 jobs. I am not quite sure what my objective was for reading his book. Was I was hoping to find a bullsh!t job of my own which paid outrageously or realize that I already had one that did not pay well at all and thus walk away from it or was I just in the mood to read something for pleasure while my real soul searching went unresolved? I am sure I was somewhere in between it all. Funny enough, I achieved none of my objectives!
Overlooking Stanley’s sly humor and satirical strategy to outline these jobs, something I think Stanley himself must have enjoyed more than his readers, I was still sorely disappointed. While no one can argue with the certain level of bullsh!t in just about any job, this does not apply to all 100 listed here by Stanley. His driving point is to expose the supposedly high paying jobs which are respected universally and understood by a few. I’d like to suggest adding Stanley Bing as an author of this book on top of that list, what with his limited grasp of it all and the audacity to insist otherwise. There is little substance in this book; it is 300+ pages of highly opinionated fluff, covered with frequently inaccurate accounts of a lot of these jobs. And even the humor does not make up for all the shortcoming in substance!
The author’s simplistic description of these types of jobs only proves his naivetÃ© and knowledge gap on their real accounts. Being a successful Blogger is every bit as challenging as a successful investment banker in one of the fancy banks in his beloved New York City. The author would know this if he understood any of the intricacies of establishing and maintaining this space on the Internet or if he had any decent appreciation of technology. Speaking professionally in front of crowds is people’s Number 1 fear, rated higher above dying (although I have never understood how!). With such an enormous fear factor, not to mention the other criteria for making a successful Motivational Speaker, I cannot help but raise questions about the credibility of the author’s opinion about the other 98 jobs in the book.
Reading is the best pastime for an active mind! If you like to see the other book reviews, check the index of In Print.
In the course of this book, Stanley achieves only this. He exposes his limited view of the world’s professions. He rides on the philosophy that people in general are stupid and therefore, will pay for an expensive crook in a fancy suit, so why not all of us try to be someone like that? You will come across a dearth of truth and an excess of exaggeration and generalization on many of the professions and their subsequent “BS factor”, Stanley’s rating system made to add a mathematical jab at the professions.
As I closed this book, I could not agree more with the glance I had received earlier. Did I waste my time reading this book? Surprisingly, I felt liberated in learning that having a high paying job is not my only pursuit or my top one anymore – that I may have gone under transformation during my soul searching, and it is a quietly pleasing discovery to know more about what I want, even as I work to define the blurry edges.
As for Stanley’s book, you will achieve just as much by browsing through it in a book store for 5 minutes.