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Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist
By Steve Litt
Don't buy this book if:
If any of the preceding criteria apply to you, this is the wrong book. Instead, you need to order Rapid Learning for the 21st Century.
Whew! That was quite a screening process, wasn't it. If you got this far, you just might be a candidate for "Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist". This book is made for the technologist who's mad as hell, and isn't going to take it any more:
Are you angry yet? If not, this book isn't for you. Go ahead and order Rapid Learning for the 21st Century. If you're angry, and you're willing to do something about it, and you're willing to take the necessary risks, and the responsibility for those risks, keep reading...
Don't get mad, get even! If employers, prospective employers and headhunters have ridden you hard and put you to bed wet, get even! If competitors for the same jobs you wanted cheated you by telling big, whopping lies, and not delivering on those lies, get even! For every hour you wasted filling out an application they knew darn well wasn't backed by a job, get even! For every HR dummy who screened you for not having 10 years of C#, get even! For every "job fair" where the recruiter looked straight through you, walked right past you, and began chatting with someone younger, or whiter, or more male, get even!
My dad, a ninja salesman, had this saying: "The best way to get even with a customer is to sell him!" In the context of the job market, the best way to get even with all these clowns is to get them to hire you, for good money, by almost any means necessary. That, my friend, is what this book is all about.
Here's how you sell them. You hear about the job, promotion, or other opportunity, and you learn all the required prerequisites. Using Rapid Learning techniques, within 24 hours you learn enough about all of them to discuss them intelligently. So far it's plain old Rapid Learning.
Now, what do you do about your resume? If they want three years of jifty development, and all you have is maybe a week fooling around with it on your own computer, what do you do? With your experience in the job market, you know that leaving jifty off the resume means you never get an interview. What do you do? You know Perl like the back of your hand, you know everything else they need, and it's quite likely you'll be able to out-produce whomever they decide to hire instead of you. You know that with a few days practice, you can make jifty walk and talk, and you're willing to spend nights and weekends getting that practice before you begin the job. But they demand three years of jifty. What do you do? If you believe, as I do, that in competitive times like these the successful candidate has stretched at least a little of the truth, what do you do?
If you decide to put jifty on your resume, this book will show you ways to do it credibly. This book will show you ways to discuss it credibly, with very technical people. This book will show you how to perform as if you've actually had three years of professional jifty. This book shows you how to play it so they'll probably never know, and even if they do, they'll be elated with your work, jifty and non jifty alike.
Bottom line, this book shows you how to get a job in the real job market, not an idealized meritocracy with smart HR people, honest-to-a-fault competitors, and employers who really try to hire American. If you've tried total honesty hoping for a meritocracy, and you got kicked in the teeth for it, this is your book.
But Isn't Truth Stretching Dishonest?
Sure it is. Not as dishonest as the wild whoppers many of your competitors are telling. Not as dishonest as no-job job postings designed to prove no American is ready, willing and able to do the work. Not as dishonest as telling you they've found a candidate with a better skillset, when what they've really found is a 30 year old white male. Not as dishonest as telling you that your years of 60 hour weeks are appreciated, and then laying you off. But yes, it's dishonest.
The question before you is this: How many extra months of joblessness, how many thousands of dollars reduction in salary, how many indignities are you willing to suffer to achieve that last 5% of total honesty? If you answer the way I think you will, this book will show you how.
But Isn't Truth Stretching Unethical?
Philosophers, ethicists and lay people alike come down on both sides of this question. I'll give you my take on it...
If I believed that the majority of jobseekers were 100% honest on their resumes and job interviews, I'd say it's unethical. If I believed that the employers' screeners were smart enough to hire a completely honest candidate, I'd say it's unethical. But it's my belief, based on years of talking to highly qualified out of work people, enduring the bungles of unqualified working people, and being a candidate myself, that in a competitive time like today, the winning candidate will have stretched the truth to at least some degree. Very possibly, told some huge whoppers. Many successful candidates perform miserably after giving the interviewer a song and dance. Given that, I'm not going to get on my high horse and tell you to endure yet more months of unemployment so you can be fair to your dishonest competitors.
My personal belief is that truth stretching is ethical if and only if you subsequently perform as if you really did have three years professional jifty experience. This book shows you how to do that.
But Isn't Truth Stretching Risky?
You bet it is! Not a month goes by when the nightly news doesn't report a disgraced employee being fired for lying on his resume. When that happens, the employee is sometimes blackballed from the whole industry. It can be a career crushing disaster.
What you don't hear on the nightly news is the fate of honest-to-a-fault jobseekers whose every resume meets with rejection. Or, if they get into an interview, they lose out to someone claiming to have all the skills. You don't hear of their knowledge growing stale, and having to either attend school to brush up on their skills, or wait for the next hiring boom (and those are getting rarer these days, aren't they), or go into a whole different line of work, like restaraunt or woodworking. You have to decide which is riskier -- stretching the truth a little bit and hoping you don't get caught, or being 100% honest and hoping an 18 month unemployment doesn't render you unfit for further technological work.
This book doesn't guarantee you won't get caught. As a matter of fact, there's a disclaimer on the copyright page.
About This BookThis book isn't for everyone. It's written for technologists, and is of little value to the non-techncal. It's also not for those with time to spend learning the material in "the school of hard knocks". This 310 page book targets those needing to learn new technology quickly.
This book (call it Rapid Learning for short) is written exclusively for three groups of technologists:
Parts II takes you step by step through the Rapid Learning Flowchart (above), while part III discusses the finer points of web research (research is a step on the flowchart). Chapter 10 is a detailed coverage of the Universal Troubleshooting Process from the Rapid Learning point of view. 100 pages of material is devoted to elaboration of the Rapid Learning Flowchart.
Part IV is 133 pages of vital information on how to (and how not to) combine work with learning. Much of the career advice in Part IV is very different from what you see in popular press career guides. If you've been disappointed by those career guides, you may be very pleasantly surprised by the information in Part IV.
Part V is 42 pages of information for those wishing to take Rapid Learning to the next level, or to use it in tricky or unusual situations. Below, for your review, is the table of contents. You can click here to go back to the book description.
Part I: Rapid Learning And The Technologist Paycheck 1 Chapter 1: The Secret Weapon Of Successful Technologists 2 Chapter 2: How We Measure Our Success 6 Chapter 3: What's Wrong With Traditional Learning Methods? 16 Chapter 4: Rapid Learning: Relieve The Pressure And Boost The Paycheck 22 Part II: Using Rapid Learning 28 Chapter 5: Rapid Learning Process Overview 29 Chapter 6: Building Your Terminology Glossary 35 Chapter 7: Finding And Using Terminology Sources 40 Chapter 8: Terminology Diagramming For Complete Understanding 48 Chapter 9: Increments and Proofs of Concept 56 Chapter 10: Troubleshooting 63 Chapter 11: Research 87 Chapter 12: Review and Documentation 91 Chapter 13: Example: Linux Web App 94 Part III: Information Mining on The Internet 100 Chapter 14: The Internet As An Information Source 101 Chapter 15: Rapid Research Using The Web 109 Chapter 16: Using Newsgroups, Forums And Mailing Lists 117 Chapter 17: Copyright Issues On The Net 127 Part IV: Rapid Learning/ Career Integration 134 Chapter 18: Why Career Integration Is Vital 135 Chapter 19: Secrets Employers Don't Want Us To Know 141 Chapter 20: Secrets We Don't Want Employers To Know 148 Chapter 21: The Rapid Learning/Career Integrated Process 151 Chapter 22: Ethics 158 Chapter 23: Facts Tell, Stories Sell 162 Chapter 24: Using Terminology To Build Career Success 168 Chapter 25: Opening Doors With Business Ownership 176 Chapter 26: Networking: Opportunities And Pitfalls 184 Chapter 27: User Groups: Gold Mines In Minefields 193 Chapter 28: Career Superchargers: Publishing And Speaking 199 Chapter 29: Your Website: The Ultimate Portfolio 210 Chapter 30: Open Source Software: Another Great Portfolio Piece 223 Chapter 31: Job Searching Online 232 Chapter 32: Info-Trolling On The Job Search Trail 246 Chapter 33: Overcoming Discrimination 251 Chapter 34: Advanced Career Techniques 259 Chapter 35: Your Hired! 265 Part V: Advanced Rapid Learning 268 Chapter 36: The Rapid Learning Classroom 269 Chapter 37: Stealth Rapid Learning for Employees and Consultants294 Chapter 38: Rapid Learning and Certifications 303 Chapter 39: Rapid Learning For Technology Managers 307Note: These page numbers may change *slightly* in final document preparation.