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The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right Hardcover – 27 April 2021
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"This is a must-buy as a gift for someone starting an internship, summer job, or their first professional job . . . His clear, concise, accessible advice will be valuable to anyone who wants to advance their career, whether they are a part-time store clerk, or joining a Fortune 500 company." — Boston.com
"A perfect graduation gift for any student who could use a boost for success in the working world." — New York Post
"…entertaining and informative…" — Forbes
Advance Praise for The Unspoken Rules:
"With practical tips and colorful vignettes of people from all walks of life, The Unspoken Rules is a blueprint for anyone starting their career, entering a new role, or wanting to get unstuck." — Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO, Thrive Global
"Gorick Ng has written an outstanding guide on what school doesn't teach about how to be a top performer at work. Backed by detailed research and filled with relatable stories and practical tactics, The Unspoken Rules will benefit so many people as they begin their careers." — Rich Lesser, CEO, Boston Consulting Group
"The Unspoken Rules is an invaluable resource for new recruits—regardless of background—as they seek to excel. Gorick Ng has written the book I wish someone had given me when I started my career." — Edith Cooper, cofounder, Medley; board director, Slack and Etsy; and former Global Head of Human Capital Management, Goldman Sachs
"We like to think that if our intent is good and we work hard, success will come knocking on our door. If only! In this practical and insightful book, Gorick Ng helps us plot a clear, intentional path toward success." — Julie Zhuo, former Vice President of Product Design, Facebook; author, The Making of a Manager
"We all have a role to play in shaping an economy that works for the many, not the few. With this important book, Gorick Ng is advancing this work, arming disadvantaged people with critical but unseen skills needed to navigate the modern workplace." — Ginni Rometty, Executive Chairman, IBM
"The Unspoken Rules will equip professionals and students alike with skills that are often overlooked in traditional education. Readers will find this to be a very helpful book in the years ahead." — Ratan Tata, former Chairman, Tata Group
"Incredibly smart, nuanced, and evidence-based career advice. If you're just getting started in your professional journey, you absolutely must read this book." — Cal Newport, author, Deep Work and Digital Minimalism
About the Author
Gorick Ng is a career adviser at Harvard College, specializing in coaching first-generation, low-income students. He has managed new employees at Boston Consulting Group, has worked in investment banking at Credit Suisse, and is also a researcher with the Managing the Future of Work project at Harvard Business School. He has been featured in the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, the New York Post, World Journal, and on CBC. Gorick Ng, a first-generation college student, is a graduate of Harvard College and Harvard Business School.
You can find the author at:
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As an entrepreneur, I’ve managed dozens of direct reports (mostly millennials). Training them well is the single, highest-leverage activity I can engage in. The problem? Never enough time.
Can a book replace personalized coaching?
But, besides Covey’s 7 Habits, this one comes closer than any I’ve come across. I received an advanced copy and found that it addresses the things I wish my new hires knew with more clarity and detail than any of its peers:
•How to show up prepared and stay ahead of incoming work.
•How to decide if something is urgent and/or important, and how to see the big picture of the team’s objectives.
•What makes a good and bad question, plus how and when to ask good questions.
•How to communicate in a clear, concise way in written and verbal exchanges.
I’m not usually drawn to books with the word ’secrets’ in the subtitle, however, this one stands out for a few reasons:
•Specificity: Skim most career advice books and you’ll find yourself knee-deep in vague generalities like ’be prepared’, and ‘communicate with confidence’. This book not only defines things in granular detail, but also identifies the spectrum—what does ’too much enthusiasm’ for your role actually look like? Also notable was the use of actual interviews conducted with subjects in the book.
•Action-oriented format: I’ve been sold on checklists ever since reading Atul Gawande’s Manifesto, so I was happy to see a number of them in this book. There are also several ‘fill in the blanks’ sections to help the newbies understand where they fit into the bigger organizational picture. This was unique and useful.
•Fairness: The author isn’t out to complain about millennials, nor coddle them, as he notes “Curiosity and entitlement are not the same thing… demanding something or being overly disappointed if the answer is ’no’ can be dangerous for your compatibility." Ng avoids the ‘preachy’ or ‘activist’ tone that some authors in the genre adopt.
In sum, the book is everything you wanted to teach your team, but either ran out of time for, or did too lousy a job of explaining.
I’ll be gifting it to future hires.
I've had my fair share of hiccups and I had no idea at the time. I wish someone had told me at the time. I guess that's life. This is a great book for young professionals, students,and anyone looking to move up the ladder.
The author is genuine and has an honest take on his past experiences and hiccups. I also like the fact that the author caters to a wide variety of audiences without assuming that everyone is already aware. It also helps the author comes from a humble background. Great read Gorick, keep up the great work :) !!
I found three elements of The Unspoken Rules very compelling. First, the rules themselves – there have been multiple times in my career where I have looked back at some selection process or tough experience and wished that someone had explained the expectations upfront. Like the author, I didn’t know that people spent their summers studying for the SATs, or their first year of law school trying to get a clerkship that would not start for another three years, or their evenings practicing what they were going to say in the next day’s team meeting. I eventually figured these things out, but a book like this could have saved me a lot of grief (and helped friends and colleagues who never did figure it out¬).
Second, I like the checklist approach to applying the rules. Have a meeting with your boss tomorrow? Here’s what you do… The paths the author highlights seem so simple once they are illuminated, and that illumination has the potential to save readers from wasting their time wandering aimlessly in the dark in the hopes that they happen to end up in the right place.
Third, the focus on effective communications throughout is something that is so important, but so often neglected in the advice given to people starting out in their careers. The author does a great job in both explaining how others perceive certain types of communication and explaining how to communicate in a way that will convey the proper message and inspire confidence.
In focusing on these three areas and doing so in a way that targets young adults who are just entering the workforce, the author has hit on both a winning combination and a unique angle on how to prepare people for their careers. Whereas most training, books, and formal resources use the coded language of the rules, this book is the first I have read that presents the nitty gritty explanations and advice that most of us only receive when someone takes pity on us and pulls us aside to explain “how things really work around here.”
Anyone about to start their career, or a new chapter in their career, would benefit from reading this book. I will be pushing my organization to gift it to all new hires, and I would recommend it to college students who are starting to think about their search for a summer internship, to military cadets and junior officers headed to their first units, and to anyone hoping to work in any of the professional services (consulting, law, accounting, banking, etc.).
This book is what you need. Never have I imagined having the advantage my parents and family have never had in understanding workplace success until I read this book. Gorick breaks down the specific steps, mindset, and actions needed to succeed in any workplace.
Gorick approaches these topics through the three C's––an incredibly important framework to drive success for your team and for your boss. As a college student who has completed numerous internships, I've been able to recognize where I've made mistakes, and how I can improve upon them in the future using Gorick's book.
This is one of the best self-help books I've read. It's definitely one of the best investments I've personally made. With this books, you'll be able to manage your manager, demonstrate your competence in the workplace, and navigate your job with ease.
This is an easy read and filled with tactical tips as well as specific stories. Ng's story about an analyst starting out and being persistent to network and "ask" for a rotation in a coveted role through exceeding bare minimum expectations and networking through a book club provides great anecdotes for fresh graduates to reflect back on work expectations and how to go above and beyond to be noticed and also create opportunities for themselves.
Similar books I recommend include"How to Win at College" and "How to become a Straight A Student" by Cal Newport for the graduating high school senior and then Ng's book as well as "Defining Decade" by Meg Jay for the graduating college student.