Reviews from the Nook · Self-Help Books

Book Review: Advance – The Ultimate How-To Guide for Your Career

Erica’s Experience

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Title: Advance: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Your Career

Author: Gary Burnison

Genre: Self-Help

Page Count: 321

Publication Date: October 2019


I picked up Advance: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Your Career by Gary Burnison during an impromptu shopping spree at my local Barnes and Noble last October. It was a Friday night and I had spent the last hour at my work’s weekly happy hour. I was on the El and wasn’t quite ready to go home, so I went to a bookstore– because that’s honestly my idea of an excellent Friday night.

I picked up about four books while there and Advance happened to be one of them. Last October, I was looking for ways to grow within my company and a self-help title by the CEO of Korn Ferry– one of the biggest career consulting firms worldwide– I figured, couldn’t hurt.

Clearly, I let this book sit on my shelf for over a year. A LOT has happened for me work wise, even without this book, but I can say I wish I had opened it about six months earlier than I did. This book is broken into fourteen easily digestible chapters that go into every aspect of career advancement. From asking for a raise to taking on global roles, Gary Burnison gives clear insight on the best ways to cultivate your career.

Each chapter is it’s own lesson, so don’t feel like you need to read this book cover-to-cover. For example, as someone just starting to establish my footing within my career path, I personally found the following chapters helpful:

  • Chapter 2 – Uncovering Your Blind Spots: Are You Self-Aware?
  • Chapter 9 – Presenting Without Panic: Dodging Death by PowerPoint
  • Chapter 11- Networking Within: Finding Your Champion

Even though some of the chapter topics weren’t especially beneficial for me on a personal level, I can say that I did take away one key moral from this book: your willingness to learn is a major key to your success.

Learning about yourself, others, and how to effectively communicate are vital to advancing in any workplace. It was reassuring to see that while technical skills are what get you started, people skills and emotional intelligence are what really keep you moving forward.

While I feel the overall content of this book is valuable, parts of it did rub me the wrong way.

It’s clear through his tone that Burnison has not been at the lower end of the totem pole for quite some time and believes that if you think you’re working hard, you need to work harder. He’s somewhat sarcastic and writes as if the only goal in life is to get ahead– which is probably why he’s the CEO of Korn Ferry.

The chapter about working virtually is less than empathetic to the pit falls that come with working from home, but Burnison didn’t know the world would be in a perpetual state of virtual working less than six months after his book was released, so I’ll let that one slide.

I feel that while I may need to develop a thicker skin before re-reading this title, Burnison’s book is blunt and thought-provoking enough that it will be one I return to regularly as I continue my personal development in the workplace.

You can purchase Advance: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Your Career here if you are interested in reading. My next book review will come out on January 31st. I will be reviewing Anxious People by Fredrik Backman, which can be bought here if you would like to read along. Come back next week for my Advance: The Ultimate How-To Guide for Your Career florilegium! Happy reading!

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