“Pick Me” And “Radical Careering”

Two new books tackle the delicate art of getting and keeping a career in the advertising industry. I haven’t gotten a copy of either of these (according to Amazon, they’ll be available soon) but I plan to.
From the available-on-August 12 “Pick Me: Breaking Into Advertising and Staying There” by Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin:

Making it in advertising is tough. Even with a degree and a terrific portfolio, it’s hard to get a job. In Pick Me!, Nancy Vonk and Janet Kestin offer a primer for students and junior ad professionals who want to make their mark in advertising. The creators of “Ask Jancy,” a popular online forum on one of the world’s leading advertising Web sites, answer questions asked by up-and-comers in their trademark straight-talking style. Pick Me! covers everything from choosing the right school to creating a winning portfolio to getting the interview, landing the job, weathering office politics, and starting a successful career. The book also includes career advice from 14 ad industry superstars, including how they got their first jobs, what they look for in a junior ad exec, and what they know now that they wish they’d known then.

From the available-on-September 8 Radical Careering: 100 Truths to Jumpstart Your Job, Your Career, and Your Life by Sally Hogshead:

Do you want to become the most powerful, valuable, fulfilled version of yourself? If so, you’re a careerist. Advertising and entrepreneurial rockstar Sally Hogshead reveals 100 Radical Truths for closing the gap between your current reality and your utmost potential, including:
# 15: Aspire to be the dumbest person in the room
# 31: You can be comfortable, or outstanding, but not both
# 67: Mistakes are tuition
# 96: Expressing your truest self is the ultimate competitive advantage
# 100: Make your memoirs worth reading
With groundbreaking research and startling new ideas for success, Radical Careering will become the indispensable owner’s manual to your future. Get ready to turbocharge your career with smarter goals, higher market value, and killer results.

2 incidental notes here: As a University of Georgia graduate, I do applaud the prodigious use of red and black on the covers of both books, but they’re curiously similar. And Sally Hogshead is also one of the “14 ad industry superstars” featured in the ‘Pick Me’ book as well as being the author of “Radical Careering.”

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. Nancy (not vonk) says:

    So what are you saying? After thousands upon thousands of books in this field, there’s really not all that much more to say about getting a job in this industry and that people repeat themselves quite often? Or what?

  2. Uhh…if you’re referring to the last paragraph, they’re just two things I happened to notice. It’s why I called them “incidental” notes.

  3. Nancy (not zonked either) says:

    Then clue me in. Maybe as a radical truth #101:
    Incidental notes …unintentional meanderings or mainly superfluous?

  4. I’d say they’re superfluous meanderings.

  5. Isn’t that synonymous with lots of advertising?

  6. Carl LaFong says:

    Am I the only one who finds books like these incredibly depressing?

  7. No, you’re not the only one, Carl.
    And I’d say part of the reason is that your own intuition has clued you in to the following “insights” that probably aren’t in either book:
    Always beware of blanket advice on any subject, especially when that subject is as general as “success” or “fulfillment.” This goes double when the advice has a suggested retail price. Triple when the author insists you lable yourself a “careerist” or some such nonsense in order to prevent the rest of their “advice” from sounding like the easily dispensed junk food that it is.
    Then again, perhaps the last line in both books is:
    “If none of this works, you can always write a book.”
    Now THAT would be some good career advice.

  8. In lieu of reading any book on the subject, you might want to check Hugh MacLeod’s How To Be Creative write up. It’s free advise.

  9. Carl LaFong says:

    Exceptionally well put, Wade. You’ve articulated my misgivings about these sorts of books with remarkable clarity. I could follow their advice and still be a wretched failure – only with $25 less to my name.

  10. Didn’t the LA office of CP+B. headed by Sally H, close?

  11. Carl LaFong says:

    Yes it did, Sardi, although Ms. Hogshead was no longer working there at the time. She ostensibly vacated her post because she was pregnant – although if I recall correctly, she wasn’t due to give birth for quite a while. Read into that what you will. Crispin subsequently shuttered the location because they realized they didn’t need a satellite office in this age of instant communication.
    I’m embarassed to admit I know all this, but it’s because I have something of a crush on Ms. Hogshead – which is actually even more embarassing to admit. Clearly, I have issues.

  12. Most ad books are kinda self-indulgent (too insiderish) or boring or both. Might I recommend KNOCK THE HUSTLE: How to save your job and your life from Corporate America. http://www.knockthehustle.com
    it’s about advertising, corporate culture and much much more. get free excerpts from http://www.knockthehustle.com