Self-help books, whether they are about losing weight, building self-esteem, raising an autistic child, or any of any other popular topics, often seem to suffer from a basic problem. They contain a core of advice, and a lot of filler to make what might have been a useful lecture into a nice fat book. But the filler material—usually less-than-exciting case histories and far too much detail about the author’s personal struggles with the problem the reader is seeking advice about—rarely make for a page turner.
That is not a problem in Deloris Cook’s helpful and well-written manual Identifying And Overcoming Fear So That You Can Get The Job You Have Always Wanted. Cook cuts to the chase and offers direct, practical (one might say actionable if one were really in the self-help frame of mind), and entertaining advice for job hunters and people who are looking for something better in their professional lives, without boring readers with information that is not relevant to their task.
Cook starts off with what may be the biggest problem for many people: fear of change. While she covers the topic of fear (in many manifestations, not solely fear of change) admirably, she goes well beyond that. This book is a very detailed step-by-step guide to overcoming an entire set of problems that may be holding you back. She covers the bits that are traditionally covered in books like this—how to dress for an interview, how to build and project self-confidence—but she goes a great deal further. With chapters on meditation, living in the now, and even some advice on diet and exercise, she truly covers a lot of ground in a short book.
She touches on, and condenses in a very helpful way, many of the techniques and philosophies that often come up in this kind of book, including the Myers Briggs Type Indicator and Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. She also spends a generous amount of time helping readers figure out what kind of work is best suited to them, a challenge that may be the hardest part of the job search.
Of course in addition to the philosophical material, the book contains very concrete advice on preparing for and doing well in a job interview. Readers are coached on what kinds of questions to expect, how to respond to those questions, and what they should bring to the meeting themselves.
Perhaps the best section in the book is the detailed chapter on communication. Cook goes into a great deal of detail about how to communicate effectively, with specific instructions on how to use this skill in a job interview.
Each short chapter ends with a section called Thinking About Things, which aids the reader in applying the material to his or her own situation, and there is also a handy place for making notes. The book closes with a lengthy list of inspirational quotations. This is the only place in the book where it becomes tedious and repetitive. These oft-cited nuggets just serve to underscore how truly fresh Cook’s advice and approach is.
While this book will be very useful to people who are looking for jobs—particularly younger people, I think—it could easily serve as a manual on how to accomplish any goal in life, and to generally live life well.