• ISBN13: 9781400081684
  • Condition: NEW
  • Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.

Product Description
What is different about the careers of people like Lou Gerstner, the acclaimed, recently retired chairman and CEO of IBM? Or Senator Elizabeth Dole, Yahoo! COO Dan Rosensweig, and Tom Freston, chairman and CEO of MTV Networks?

Why did they ascend to the top and prosper—why did they have extraordinary careers—while others equally talented never reached their potential or aspirations?

Jim Citrin and Rick Smith of Spencer Stuart, the world’s most influential executive search firm, set out to explore this question. The result—based on in-depth, original research—is sure to be the most important and useful book for anyone seeking to crack the code of how to build a rewarding, personally satisfying career.

Like weather systems and financial markets, careers contain patterns. What Citrin and Smith found from their research and extensive experience is that people with extraordinary careers are guided by five straightforward patterns that can be harnessed and used by everyone. These individuals:

• Understand the value of you by translating their knowledge and experience into action, building their personal value over each phase of their career
• Practice benevolent leadership by not clawing their way to the top but by being carried there
• Solve the permission paradox, the dilemma of not being able to get a job without experience and not getting the experience without the job
• Differentiate using the 20/80 principle of performance by storming past their defined jobs to create breakthrough ideas and deliver unexpected impact
• Do not micromanage their careers, but macromanage them by gravitating toward the things they are best at and have a passion for, and working with people they like and respect

No one manages your career for you. But with Citrin and Smith as your guide, you’ll be able to understand—and act on—the root causes of success. And what better source for strategic career advice than Spencer Stuart, the firm that over the past ten years has conducted more than 60 percent of the searches for Fortune 1000 CEOs?

From the Hardcover edition.

The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers: The Guide for Achieving Success and Satisfaction

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5 Responses to “The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers: The Guide for Achieving Success and Satisfaction”

  1. The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers, by James M. Citrin and Richard A. Smith was an easy read, and a worthwhile one. Given that I am at a juncture in my career where I need to be making some rather important strategic decisions about going back for the MBA, or staying in the full-time workforce. In reality, my further education will likely be a compromise of those two disciplines, but nonetheless, I need to be strategic.

    The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers held no breakthrough insights for me, but it did serve to hone my focus on a few key elements of my career management, and shed some light on how I’m currently doing things that I wasn’t aware of.

    There were five basic ‘patterns’ that the book detaiuled are as follows:

    1. Understand the Value of You. People with extrordinary careers understand how value is created in the organization and manage their careers according to the value chain. There are three phases of your value, the Potential phase, where employers hire your what you will be able to do, the Experiential phase, where employers hire you to put your previous successes to the test, and Harvest phase, where you are reaping the seads of knowledge sewn in the years of past experience.

    2. Practice Benevolent Leadership. Behind every great managers are great employees and great mentors. Use your friends wisely!

    3. Overcome the Permission Paradox. Bottom line – successful careers are built on those things that were weren’t told you couldn’t do, not those things you were givent perimission to do. Understand explicit permission versus implicit permission, and use that to your advantage!

    4. Use the 20/80 Principle of Performance. Get out of your defined job and create some real value against the 20% that really matters!

    5. Find the Right Fit. No passion, move on to the next gig. This is a major part of the battle. Don’t be too successful at something you don’t like!

    So, what am I doing differently now? Not much really. I’ve always been an ‘implicit permission’ kind of guy, I’m quite aware of my current value and am always testing it, and I’m very passionate about what I do. Are you?

    Don’t forget to check out the book’s official website http://www.5patterns.com/
    Rating: 4 / 5

  2. I read a short article about “The 5 Patterns of Extraordinary Careers” on the Internet and decided it might be worth reading. Most of the career “guides” I had read up to this time were of the, `choose your ideal career through completing a series of tests to identify your strengths’ variety. But what intrigued me about this book was that rather than selecting the “right” career it was more about making the most of the career of you have. Still, Citrin and Smith do acknowledge the importance of being in a career that plays to your, “strengths, passions, and people” by making it one of the “patterns” of extraordinary careers; oddly, though, it is the last of the five rather the first. Perhaps one of my favorite quotes comes from this pattern, “…many people find, partway up the ascent, that their ladders were leaning against the wrong wall.” Again, though, this book is more about what to do with the your career once you have found the “right” one. And therein lies perhaps the most important maxim of this book, successful careers are managed, sometimes unconsciously, rather than driven by fate or luck; a corollary is that opportunities are created and actively sought after rather than passively waited for. Even the authors acknowledge that these ideas aren’t new. But the patterns represent a distillation of the interviews and surveys of extraordinary executives conducted across Industry boundaries and they, perhaps, are new, or are at least fresh.

    The core of the book is chapters 2 – 6, one for each of the patterns: Understanding the Value of You, Practice Benevolent Leadership, Overcome the Permission Paradox, Differentiate Using the 20/80 Principle, and Find the Right Fit. Citrin and Smith go on to extend the patterns to extraordinary organizations in chapter 7. They use specific examples gleaned from their interviews to illustrate each of the patterns. And while these examples are certainly condensed, in order to fit within the scope of a single volume, they generally, if not specifically and in detail, prove the point. What is less clear though, are how technical careers fall into these patterns. All of the chosen examples are CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CTOs, CIOs, presidents, vice-presidents, and perhaps a Director or two. Though they try to generalize these success patterns you are still left with the impression that extraordinary careers are, at least in part, defined by having entered the executive ranks. I am sure that Citrin and Smith would disagree, but I am still struggling with how to apply these patterns to my rather technical career of Software Engineering without becoming a manager.

    Overall this has been a valuable book – if for no other reason than that it has caused me to think about my career in concrete terms and how I can actively manage it rather than waiting for it to happen. The book isn’t overly long and can be read in a week during your lunch breaks. Thinking about your career and how to apply the patterns is where the hard work begins.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. Ferd Burfle says:

    The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers: The Guide for Achieving Success and Satisfaction by James M. Citrin and Richard A. Smith. This is a refreshing look at the Self-Help Career book genre. Job seekers, employers, and human resource professionals – in short, anyone that’s interested in enriching their career – will benefit from this book.


    1. Understand the Value of You. People with extraordinary careers understand how value is created in the workplace, and translate that knowledge into action, building their personal value over each phase of their careers.

    2. Practice Benevolent Leadership. People with extraordinary careers do not claw their way to the top, they are carried there.

    3. Overcome the Permission Paradox. People with extraordinary careers overcome one of the great Catch-22s of business: You can’t get the job without experience and you can’t get the experience without the job.

    4. Differentiate Using the 20/80 Principle of Performance. People with extraordinary careers do their defined jobs exceptionally well but don’t stop there. They storm past pre-determined objectives to create breakthrough ideas and deliver unexpected impact.

    5. Find the Right Fit (Strengths, Passions & People). People with extraordinary careers make decisions with the long-term in mind. They willfully migrate toward positions that fit their natural strengths and passions and where they can work with people they like and respect.

    The authors have developed a razor-sharp vocabulary that brings welcome dialogue about careers into the new age of business. The executives in this book are all focused on their career, this is one aspect of those with successful careers. The authors have proven that ignoring one’s career can greatly supress chances at success.

    Is it the best book I ever read? No, but it did help me to focus my attention on skills I was utilizing, just not to my best advantage.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  4. Kim Olson says:

    The Five patterns described in this book combined with the case studies, provide worthy guidelines for an extraordinary career. I was impressed with the specific information about each pattern, and used my highlighter pen several times (a great sign!)

    I also recommend integration of Optimal Thinking into this equation as the mental tool to bring out the best in people – yourself, employees, affiliates and customers — and to optimize your productivity and profitability. Today’s competitive optimized marketplace is creating and supporting optimizers and is no longer hanging on to the old paradigm of managers and employees. I feel compelled to recommend Optimal Thinking: How to Be Your Best Self in addition to this great book.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  5. John Thomson says:

    The Five Patterns of Extraordinary Careers is the best book about you that you’ll read this year. Written by James Critin and Richard Smith, both veterans of high-powered executive searches at Spencer Stuart, the book is a down-to-earth look at what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary in the business world. Critin and Smith have analyzed years of professional observations and over a thousand surveys from proven extraordinary executives and distilled their findings into five common denominators: The Five Patterns.

    The great thing about the patterns is that they’re not attributes. They’re behaviors. The book wouldn’t be worth too much, after all, if it simply said “extraordinary executives are all really smart.” In fact, Critin and Smith argue the opposite: that intelligence isn’t a great predictor of success. Instead, they isolate key behaviors common to most of the men and women they studied. One of my favorite patterns is “Overcoming the Permission Paradox.” Critin and Smith note that truly great people take advantage of (or create) opportunities to empower themselves; you won’t hear Lou Gerstner say “I was never given an opportunity to succeed.”

    Another key pattern is “Practice Benevolent Leadership.” They note that extraordinary people don’t climb to the top; they’re carried there by the people who work for them (I’ve paraphrased). You’re probably recognizing wisdom you already knew, here. The interesting thing about this book is that you’ll see yourself in its pages: in some places you’ll say “I do that!” and in others “I don’t!” I found the fact that this book reached me so effectively to be very compelling. I found many lessons I could use in this book, and it made me look critically at a number of my behaviors, or lack of behaviors.

    The fact that The Five Patterns comes with a lot of credibility helps it reach the reader. Critin and Smith have laced this book with examples, research, personal observations, interview excerpts and references. When they use an example, they show it as from an executive who’s not only successful, but often a household name, and they credit him by name. I was excited by the fact that they had so much material directly from these “extraordinary executives” that came from interviews that were conducted specifically and exclusively for this book.

    The Five Patterns is concise, credible, prescriptive and specific. And gratefully, it was very different from the same old reprocessed career advice you can get in a thousand other places. Page for page it’s the most valuable book I’ve read this year, at the very least. I’m rating it five stars and I’d recommend it unconditionally to anyone in business that wants to spend some time nurturing his or her career.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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