Announcing: My first e-book

If you’re coming from Ramit’s site, welcome.  Here are a few posts that I think you will particularly enjoy:

And if you really like reading advice on careers and entrepreneurship, you’ll want to subscribe to this blog.  I write about those topics pretty frequently.

To my current readers… Several of you have emailed me, saying, “I noticed you tag a lot of articles as ‘rpgrad’ in Delicious.  What does that mean?”  Well, here’s your answer: I’ve written an e-book called “Recession-Proof Graduate.” What started as a guest post turned into a 30-page tirade on how poorly most people approach their careers. The book is currently posted on Ramit’s site, but you can read it here.

You can also download it: Recession-Proof Graduate (right-click + ‘Save As’)

All the articles I’ve been tagging ‘rpgrad’ will be used in some way or another when I start writing the real book sometime next year.  The book will contain: case studies, interviews with some incredibly accomplished people, guest chapters, more in-depth explanations of the principles, email scripts, etc.  I’m going to work my ass off to make it really good.

So why did I release an incomplete precursor to the actual book?  A few reasons.

First off, it’s been depressing to see how many smart, ambitious, and capable graduates are basically lost right now.  A lot of them could be doing great things, but because they’re using conventional job-hunting methods, they’ve severely limited their options.  The recession only magnifies how outdated these methods are, and its forcing kids into terrible jobs or extended unemployment.  I wanted to present an alternative approach in a brief, palatable format.  And a single blog post just didn’t give me enough room to cover everything I wanted to talk about.

Second, as far as I know, there hasn’t been anyone who has explicitly addressed how graduates can get good jobs with a full book.  The only authors I know who have come close lack credibility in some way or another — they’re either way too old and thus far removed from what it’s like as a recent graduate in this climate, or they’re a weirdo who’s obsessed with Gen Y and social media.  Or, even worse, they lack credentials altogether and are spouting advice based on theory, not firsthand experience.

Finally, I wanted to gauge the demand for a book on this topic.  I’m pretty sure there’s plenty of it, based on the volume of stuff on blogs and in the news discussing this very issue, as well as a bunch of emails I’ve received from college students asking for advice.

Over the next several months, I’ll be looking for case studies to include in the book.  I’m looking for anyone who (1) was able to get a really cool job they wanted, and (2) doesn’t hate their life.  I don’t care how they did it, they just had to have done it.  If you know someone who fits the bill, email me.  I know a bunch of other people who meet those requirements, and have intentionally left them out of this version of the e-book.  This is because I want to give them a bigger role in the real thing, whatever that entails.

Anyways, this e-book is just one of several cool things I’ll be announcing over the next few months.  Keep your eyes peeled, there’s more to come.

Two more things.  First, I have to give a huge thanks to Susan Su, who designed the e-book.  In less than 24 hours, she turned a plain Word document into something that looks pretty damn sharp.  Thanks Susan, you are awesome.

Second, Alex recently did a great interview with PhilaLawyer that I highly recommend.  It covers many of the same topics I addressed in the e-book.

57 comments on “Announcing: My first e-book

  1. Hi Charlie,

    Great e-book. I think I could really use the advice you’ve given. I found you through Ramit’s blog.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you could look at my situation. I am about to enter my senior year at the University of Washington as an undergrad studying Business Administration – Entrepreneurship. I love entrepreneurship, but I’m scared, because it doesn’t feel like it has a specialization or focus. Would you recommend starting some of this “free work” while I’m still in college, or waiting until I actually have a degree?

    Thanks again for the e-book, I hope to hear from you soon!

    Steven Tran

    • Doing *any* work, free or not, ahead of time in college will set you lightyears ahead of your peers. You also won’t feel as pressured to follow along with the job hunt like your friends.

      But more importantly, if you’re into entrepreneurship and have a good idea, now is the best time to try starting something. Also check out TechStars, Y Combinator, or any other summer incubator programs.

    • Hi Steven!

      Take a look at Cory Doctorow’s “Makers” It’s a near future fantasy with a business focus. I think it is dead-on. Makes your entrepreneurship look much better.

  2. Hey Charlie, just read your E-book over at Ramit’s site. Great job putting together a primer on doing free work in a way that’s easy-to-read and yet also very practical (and true).


  3. @Steven – College is actually the ideal time to do free work — you have nothing to lose, and by the time you graduate, you’ll be in FAR better shape than all of your peers.

    @Writer’s Coin – Thanks so much!

  4. I finished your e-book and loved it. I agree with you that blogging has many benefits. Running my blog has opened a few paid freelance opportunities and I’m learning some HTML as I’m updating and tweaking the site.

  5. Now I can finally share it with everyone I know!! I’ve already had some folks enthusiastically repeating snippets back to me :)

    Your hard work and care really show on this project, Charlie.

    Excellent work, and CAN’T WAIT to see what you have coming up.


    • Love the book, but I was also really impressed by the design. Su, would you mind sharing what you used to put it together, and how I can learn to do something similar?

  6. That was a really impressive read, I’m going to be forwarding it on to a ton of the kids I’ve coached who’ve been asking me about life during and after college now that the economy’s tanking.

    No reason to wait until after college to start doing stuff for free, lord knows you have plenty of free time there if you’re not going out five nights a week.

    And the formatting made it a very easy and entertaining read, going to look into reverse engineering the book I’ve got up online into something more streamlined like that now.


  7. Thanks Charlie. The e-book is a great follow up to your “how to use delicious” vid. I have been lurking on the site for a while, you have real quality content. I can tell you are a big Godin fan, as am I. Keep up the good work.

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  9. Charlie! Great freakin’ book man. You have inadvertently validated some of my thoughts and actions over the last several months. I’m just about to exit my 20’s, but your words still ring true. Your tone and snarky remarks are welcomed by me, and they seem to be balanced out with some healthy self-deprecation.

    I’m going to reread your book tomorrow and tweak a few of the things that I am currently doing. I’ll be back to your blog in the future to see what else you’ve got going on. Kudos!

  10. Your book helped me realize that our generation is fast becoming an expert on how to survive a recession. Our professors didn’t know because they didn’t have to go through it.

    Your unbridled optimism in the midst of the times is a spotlight in a dark room. Thank you for taking the time to write this book and distribute it to the world.

  11. Great advice! Not just for college grads but also for those of us who did not do this 10 years ago and ended up somewhere we would rather not be.

  12. I just finished reading another recently released free e-book on the job market for “gen y” and felt compelled to come back here and thank you for yours- so many of the other offerings are not only old/obsessed with gen y/supremely generic as you mention above, but are also really condescending to their audience. I have new-found appreciation for your voice, your design and your (apparently unique) assumption that we’re not stupid or naive. I’ve linked to you in my blog, will be sending out a few queries today (though like one of your comments above, I’ll be a senior this year) and we’ll see how it goes!

    Thanks again.

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  26. I read your e-book and from the perspective of your target demographic, I beg to differ. I get the point of networking and putting out work for free in order to build up a portfolio. In fact, it should be started in college or even during the summers in high school.

    In regard to the whole Seth Godin philosophy, not everyone wants to be in online marketing or an entrepreneur at this point of their lives (with enough money to afford to only work for free). I mean, all power to you if it’s been working well. But what about rent and loans? I’m not even going to bring up healthcare.

    I believe this is something that can be attained with some sort of income, but sometimes, a girl’s gotta eat (and support her family).

    I didn’t mean to come across so harshly, but I wanted to put this out there. Perhaps you could share your thoughts?

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  36. I really enjoyed this e-book and am actively pursuing some of your suggestions. The fact that you did these things is tremendously impressive as well as inspiring. Thank you for writing this e-book and allowing us to have it for free…Since were recent poor college grads, lol.

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  41. I didn’t feel like signing up at slide share so i came back here.

    Great book, I know a few people who can benefit from reading this. I think the key here is you weren’t afraid to role your sleeves up and do some hard work and trust that the money will come. I see a lot grads that have this sense of entitlement but aren’t willing to work hard. It really annoys me because I don’t want to get stuck with the negative stereotypes they are creating about grads.

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  46. This is a lifechanging e-book. Thank you for putting this together. At first I wondered how you would captivate me for 30 pages but you did it perfectly.
    I got recommended from the book “Hacking Your Education” by Dale J Stephens.

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