Aside from some perfunctory tips on job searching, resume writing and interviewing, the authors, both consultants with the head-hunting firm Spencer Stuart, approach careers as problems in psychology and group dynamics. They urge mid-career executives with suppressed feelings of anxiety and helplessness to view a career as a free-form project of self-actualization that should fit with their personalities and inspire passion. More pragmatically, career building is also an exercise in image-management that should convey potential and experience to employers and their head-hunting consultants. This partly involves canny career moves allowing talent to shine. But climbing the ladder also requires consummate office politics-manipulating perceptions, networking with the powerful, strategic quid pro quos, gaining power by "masquerading as the leader"-all accomplished without stepping on toes, stifling subordinates or "sucking up." The authors convey these lessons in a sometimes turgid mixture of opaque managementese ("successful executives... literally achieve positive impact at an accelerating rate"), squishy survey data ("extraordinary executives... leverage both their strengths and their passions more than six times as often as average employees") and case studies in which executives move from industry to industry in a meteoric, triumphal procession of nebulous jobs in consulting, marketing and finance. The blend of motivational therapeutics and softly Machiavellian tactics may help some executives get out of their rut, but the generic, almost contentless corporate work experiences on display seem far from extraordinary.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Certainly, Citrin's latest book (after Lessons from the Top, 1999, and Zoom! 2002, with Tomas J. Neff) is filled with accolades for executive recruiter Spencer Stuart, his employer. Overlook that, for a while; instead, focus on the enormous potential his company has to analyze a vast array of executive talent and uncover patterns of achievement. That is exactly what Citrin, with coauthor Smith, does. Five differentiating principles--the contrast between a merely successful professional and the extraordinary executive--are not only described but also demonstrated in real C-level individuals in U.S. corporations. For the first principle, "understand the value of you," winning bicyclist Lance Armstrong is profiled, as is Yahoo!'s COO Dan Rosensweig. The benevolent leader, an executive focused on the success of others, is best exemplified in Herb Kelleher, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, among other singled-out individuals. Lists go on and on; what's more important is the application of these principles to the organization, which creates extraordinary people. Finally, the recognition and proof that talent matters to business! Barbara Jacobs
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Richard Smith and James Citrin are executive search professionals (headhunters) from one of the top firms in the world. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2004 by therosen
The book is result of seemingly solid research on extraordinary careers, and it shows. The material is rock solid with fine examples and reasoning. Read morePublished on Oct. 28 2003 by Jaewoo Kim
A good book overall, I still would rate it only 3/5 because I felt it was mostly oriented towards the white collar professional and big money. Read morePublished on Oct. 26 2003
This was one of the best career management books I have read. It is unfortunate that material like this is not included as part of a college curricullum, whether its in B-School... Read morePublished on Sept. 21 2003
If you are aiming high with your career, you MUST read this book. It is well written, succinct, and has some of the most relevant (but fortunately, limited) number of examples. Read morePublished on Sept. 18 2003
The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, by James M. Citrin and Richard A. Smith was an easy read, and a worthwhile one. Read morePublished on Sept. 16 2003 by Dana
The Five patterns described in this book combined with the case studies, provide worthy guidelines for an extraordinary career. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2003 by Kim Olson