Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Stuff You Already Know: And Every College Student Should (Book Review)

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes.

From inside the front cover:
Your college years can be filled with promise and excitement—or filled with frustration and missed opportunities—depending on your choices. From choosing a major (there's a whole section on this) to knowing when to ditch your roommate (#189), think of this book as a friendly guide to making your college years count. Some of these insights are serious (#28), some of them are funny (#215), and some are just plain random (#346). All of them are meant to show you up front what you'll wish you had known in hindsight. College is fun when you set yourself up for success. I wrote this book to help you do just that.
Much like Stuff You Already Know ... And Everybody Should, Stuff You Already Know:  And Every College Student Should is a collection of 367 pieces of advice.  Obviously, this one is written specifically for college students.  I like this part of the Note to the Reader:
College affords you whole new ways to fulfill your destiny, and whole new ways to, well, mess up.  Not that you will, and not that anyone wants you to.  It's just that freedom requires responsibility--it's the ride of your life when you keep the two in check, and a huge scary free fall when you don't.
Think of it this way:  You've just been handed the keys to an expensive new car with a souped-up engine.  At the same time, no one's given you a manual, much less a road map or even a destination.  Yet somehow you're expected to blaze through the next four years, graduate with a smile, and preferably end world poverty.
As the original book does, this one has three overarching themes:
  1. One Foot In (the getting-started phase)
  2. Both Feet In (the college years)
  3. One Foot Out (preparation for graduation and beyond)
Here are a few pieces that I especially liked:
  • Take the journey seriously--but not so seriously that it starts messing with your head, your soul, or your sense of humor.  If you feel that starting to happen, take a break.  Go for a walk, go talk to friends, anything to give yourself a change of focus and a change of scenery. (#3)
  • Before giving or taking advice, consider who lives with the consequences. (#172)
  • Find out what motivates you, and your life will never be the same.  Don't ask me why this is not part of every school's core curriculum.  Maybe one day it will be. (#176)
  • Don't ask for garlic bread in Rome.  It's like going to Beijing and looking for a P.F. Chang's. (#283)
  • "Filter everything through, I am a professional."  This simple affirmation will affect your smile, your eye contact, your handshake, your hygiene, how you dress, and everything about how you conduct yourself--during the interview, once on the job, and even off the job. (#298)
  • Your online presence is your prospective employer's business.  Proceed with caution. (#320) [This one might be beneficial earlier in the book, too!]
For more information about the author, go to StuffYouAlreadyKnow.com.

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  1. Great review of this book. Had your son stayed reading it yet? I remember when I was reading a bunch of information about college. I even wrote a column at Campus Talk Blog.

    Now, just think, I'll have to go through all of this again with the three younger children. Well, at least two. But the time they're to college age there will be more books on the subject.

    I'll recommend this one if I come across someone in need.

  2. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  3. YES!!!!
    This sounds AWESOME!! College gave me 4 years of pretty awesome experiences and friendships. While there is no book telling you how to handle everything, these tid bits are pretty spot on!!!!!


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