Work-themed books for those days spent not work­ing

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Job Market - — Marco Buscaglia, Ca­reers

Noth­ing says sum­mer quite like that mo­ment at the beach when you pull out the of­ten-de­layed, must-read book from your bag, slide in your ear­buds and dive into a few hours of sun, sand and to­tal im­mer­sion in the mag­i­cal world of … job in­ter­views.

OK, maybe ca­reer-themed books aren’t all the rage at the pool this sum­mer but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of books that fo­cus di­rectly or in­di­rectly on ca­reers that could keep your at­ten­tion this sum­mer.

If you’re look­ing for some­thing to read that prob­a­bly doesn’t in­clude the word “bodice,” here are a few sug­ges­tions: “Pa­triot Num­ber One: Amer­i­can Dreams in Chi­na­town” by Lau­ren Hil­gers

The story of a Chi­nese-im­mi­grant cou­ple who strug­gle not only to live the Amer­i­can Dream but also re­main true to their her­itage and their home­land while do­ing so. It’s a great lesson on per­se­ver­ance, iden­tity, work ethic and more. And in an era where im­mi­gra­tion has be­come a talk­ing point for politi­cians, tele­vised talk­ing heads and wa­ter-cooler ex­perts, Hil­gers’ book pro­vides a glimpse at the pro­fes­sional and per­sonal chal­lenges faced by those com­ing into this coun­try in search of a bet­ter life.

“Bad Blood: Se­crets and Lies in a Sil­i­con Val­ley Startup” by John Car­rey­rou

Per­haps you’ve read the news sto­ries or watched the ca­ble doc­u­men­taries — and soon-tobe Net­flix se­ries — on Elizabeth Holmes and Ther­a­nos, her too-goodto-be-true start-up that promised a med­i­cal de­vice that, in fact, never even ex­isted, at least in the form Holmes and her as­so­ciates claimed. Car­rey­rou’s book lays out the Sil­i­con Val­ley scam, which re­sulted in mil­lions of lost dol­lars, reams of bo­gus re­search and plenty of le­gal ac­tion. In ad­di­tion to be­ing a strong cau­tion­ary tale, “Bad Blood” is a thinly-veiled lesson for any­one who en­vies the amaz­ing jobs their friends and rel­a­tives boast about on so­cial me­dia: Noth­ing is as good as it seems.

“The Good Neigh­bor: The Life and Works of Fred Rogers” by Maxwell King

For years, Fred Rogers ed­u­cated and en­ter­tained chil­dren on the PBS se­ries “Mr. Rogers’ Neigh­bor­hood.” King, a for­mer editor for the Philadel­phia In­quirer, of­fers a con­cise, chrono­log­i­cal his­tory of Rogers’ life, trac­ing his cre­ativ­i­tyin­duc­ing child­hood, his ed­u­ca­tion, his min­istry and his suc­cess­ful launch of what would come to be known as ed­u­ca­tional tele­vi­sion. “The Good Neigh­bor” is a great mix of in­for­ma­tion and in­spi­ra­tion, a guide­book for to­day’s worker who has been look­ing for ways to make a dif­fer­ence.

“Dish­washer: One Man’s Quest to Wash Dishes in All Fifty States” by Pete Jor­dan

More than a decade ago, “Dish­washer Pete,” as Jor­dan of­ten was called, wrote a highly en­ter­tain­ing ac­count of his life­long am­bi­tion to wash dishes across the United States. If you’re look­ing for a sum­mer read that proves that “am­bi­tion” can be de­fined any num­ber of ways, “Dish­washer” might be the book for you. Jor­dan’s 12-year odyssey to “bust suds” through­out the coun­try is as much as travel jour­nal as it is a story about work­ing. But it also pro­vides some great in­sight into the work­ing wants of many Amer­i­cans — a rou­tine job, non­tra­di­tional hours, de­cent perks and the abil­ity to leave for a new job — or no job at all — at a mo­ment’s no­tice.

“Then We Came to the End” by Joshua Fer­ris

Fer­ris’ book cov­ers the slow demise of a Chicago ad agency, fo­cus­ing on the relationsh­ips be­tween a unique but iden­ti­fi­able col­lec­tion of em­ploy­ees. This is a good read for any­one but if you’ve lived through a cor­po­rate down­siz­ing — es­pe­cially one that elim­i­nates creative co-work­ers — and have had to re-ad­just to a life at work with­out your old “fam­ily” of of­fice peers, this de­press­ingly funny book may be es­pe­cially per­ti­nent.

“The Poi­son Squad: One Chemist’s Sin­gle-Minded Cru­sade for Food Safety at the Turn of the Twen­ti­eth Cen­tury” by Deb­o­rah Blum

Not ex­actly light read­ing, but if you long for a job that makes a dif­fer­ence — or if you want to live vi­car­i­ously through some­one who had a job that saved nu­mer­ous lives — check out Blum’s book. The story of Har­vey Wash­ing­ton Wi­ley, who headed the United States Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture in the early 1900s, is in­spi­ra­tional and frus­trat­ing at the same time. Wi­ley was the driv­ing force be­hind the leg­isla­tive changes in a coun­try that re­luc­tantly yet prag­mat­i­cally moved ahead to set guide­lines for food safety.

“Trashed: An Ode to the Crap Job of All Crap Jobs” by Derf Back­derf

This graphic novel mixes stom­ach­turn­ing tales of col­lect­ing garbage with oc­ca­sional his­tory lessons on how the world’s pop­u­la­tion gets rid of its trash. Back­derf worked as a garbage col­lec­tor for years and uses many of his ex­pe­ri­ences as back­ground for this fic­tion­al­ized ac­count of three friends who fight the weather, bu­reau­crats and each other as they rid the res­i­den­tial streets of dis­carded food, old news­pa­pers and nu­mer­ous un­men­tion­ables.

Maybe ca­reer-themed books aren’t all the rage at the beach this sum­mer, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of reads that fo­cus on ca­reers that could keep your at­ten­tion.

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