Books on why we do, what we do.
July 16, 2008 7:02 AM   Subscribe

I loved "Gig," and I'd like recommendations for more books to help with the "inside view" of various jobs. Bonus points for books that might also help me gauge what I'm good at.

As I search for a new gig myself in the communications industry (marketing and PR) I'm looking for recently published books that talk about the REAL side of work, as in how people got their jobs, what they do on a daily basis, etc. It doesn't have to necessarily be industry-specific; I'm just fascinated by how people get new jobs, and why they find themselves in them.

Also would appreciate recommendations on books or tests for self-examination re: skills and personality traits when it comes to careers/jobs.
posted by producerpod to Work & Money (7 answers total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
You might enjoy It's All Your Fault. It's a book about being an assistant in Hollywood.
posted by dobbs at 7:05 AM on July 16, 2008

I'd recommend Bourdain's "Kitchen Confidential". It's a good, quick read, and at the end you'll know why you don't want to work in a restaurant kitchen. (Or, less likely, why you would want to work in a restaurant kitchen.)
posted by Citrus at 7:19 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

Studs Terkel's Working is the classic of the genre.

Bourdain totally made me want to go work in a kitchen.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:28 AM on July 16, 2008

Seconding Terkel. Gig, I think, is really just an homage/update to Working.
posted by futility closet at 8:09 AM on July 16, 2008

Po Bronson - What Should I Do With My Life

The book's overall theme is in its title, but on the way it does dig deep into people's motivations for getting into their particular profession, how the things they tried before influenced their decisions, and what they get out of their current profession.
posted by wackybrit at 10:32 AM on July 16, 2008


I seriously considered becoming a roving dishwasher after reading it.
posted by sondrialiac at 11:08 AM on July 16, 2008

Best answer: In answer to your second question, I am finding Do What You Are very helpful. It's based off the Myers-Briggs personality test. I am still in the middle of figuring out what personality "type" I am, and once I do that I think they will get into what types of jobs are best for my type.

I have been struggling with "what should I do for work?" for years, and I am finding it very calming and therapeutic to be going through their process for assessing my type. It's teaching me a lot about what strengths and preferences I have, things that I was never able to describe or quite place my finger on before. I'm pretty hopeful this will help me identify careers that will allow me to spend my workday in a fulfilling way.

On your first question, a book that goes into specifics about how to snag some unusual/cool jobs is How'd You Score That Gig. Honestly, I felt like this book did not have a lot of meat to it and mostly just skimmed the surface with regards to what these jobs were like and how to land them. But you still may find it interesting to browse; perhaps pick it up from your library rather than buying it.

Good luck in your search!
posted by inatizzy at 11:11 AM on July 16, 2008 [1 favorite]

« Older iPhone + Warranty + Messed up screen = Free...   |   Start in the Red Chamber? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.