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The Northwest Biotech Initiative Book Club

In this series I will provide some chapter by chapter insight from career and lifestyle self-help books. I am not going to discuss too much detail, but will summarise the chapter, provide selected quotes and review the authors perspective.

The Start-Up of You

(Adapt to the Future, Invest in Yourself, and Transform Your Career)

I think it should be interesting, as it's main author Reid Hoffman is the co-founder of LinkedIn. As a student, I paid little attention to the "business-class social network", as it seemed irrelevant to my circumstances. Outside of academia, however, LinkedIn has become a go-to resource that acts like a display window for your career, neatly listing is your career history, skills and endorsements. In fact many "career - workshops" will insist that if you are not using the network you are an unknown quantity.

Throughout this book, I will try to highlight.

  1. How does a social media leviathan view the world?

  2. How will the future of work and careers be influenced by automation?

  3. What are his tips?

  4. How do I stand out if everyone is using LinkedIn?

Chapter 1: All Humans Are Entrepreneurs

From the outset, it is made clear that this doesn't mean you should/will be running your own company. Instead a more Victorian mindset is presented in which your attitude, choices and actions are what will see you succeed. Instead of mindlessly following orders, acting like laborers, the authors say "Your start-up venture: is your career". In essence, you are going to have to take the initiative, spend time making yourself attractive to businesses and available to new opportunities.

The authors describe a history of work in which jobs, at large companies at least, are created simply by an uninterrupted career ladder. Only now, however, with an aging population that feels unable to retire, due to pension shortfalls, the middle-aged aren't progressing and a well-educated youth struggle to find employment.

The authors suggest that financial burden and lack of company loyalty are reasons for poor working conditions. If a company can afford to employ you, you'll either need to know how to do the job on arrival or learn quickly and don't expect company-sponsored training as there is no guarantee that you stay put and use it to their benefit. The lack of loyalty means that it is not only your boss that you need to impress but those around you, as one day you might need to call on them.

As for the future well, globalisation, technology and automation means that if technical difficulties which would otherwise be solved by expertise/experience can be replaced by cheaper alternatives your position is likely to be contested by more people from around the world.


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