What Color is Your Parachute? – Since 1923

When it comes to wondering about what you’d like to do with your life… What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard N. Bolles is second to none.

I can’t begin to summarize this book, except to say that it’s 350+ pages about anything and everything to do with finding a career path, looking for work, interviewing, negotiating a salary and/or starting your own business. Oh, and it’s also about you. In fact, that’s the most important thing. It is a manual of you, for you, and about you.

You’ll need a pencil. Or an erasable pen. And a notebook! Maybe a copy machine. It all depends on if you’re the kind of person who writes in books or doesn’t. For me, sometimes I have, sometimes I haven’t. There are pros and cons for both. I kinda lean towards not doing it so you can come back to the work again and again. But that’s just me. And yes, you could use a laptop and type everything out. With this kind of book, I tend to think hand writing is more intimate and more likely will get to the heart of things. To each his (her) own on that.

You’ll also need plenty of time. A whole whack of time. Let me tell you why…

There is, for example, a section called “What you know from your previous jobs?” It’s only four short paragraphs of explanation on how to answer the question for each of your jobs, with a few examples. I learned how to answer the phone, make change, use a debit machine. That kind of thing. One tiny question smack in the middle of the book. Just think about all the jobs you’ve had and how much you’ve learned at each. That should give you an idea of how much ink and paper you’ll need. Let’s just call it… A LOT.

The book is jammed packed with illustrations, exercises and comics. It is wall-to-wall learning about yourself.

One of the most well-known exercises is called, “The Flower©”. It is a self-inventory to beat all other self-inventories. Ever. Notice the ©? Bolles is no dummy. 

He even guides you to writing a mission statement. About YOU! (Do you see a theme here?)

I guess what I’m trying to say is that this book is not your typical fluff. It has been around since 1923, for crying out loud! It digs deep, delves into the muck and finds treasure. I guarantee that you’ll find out more about yourself than you ever thought possible. It is the granddaddy of all career guides and as such, deserves respect. It has mine!