Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It

Product Description

A genuine winner shows you how to stand out from the crowd

As CEO of John Hancock Financial Services and the bestselling author of Brand Warfare, David D’Alessandro knows plenty about breaking away from the pack. In Career Warfare, this ultimate insider tells the true story of how he learned the unwritten rules of corporate ladder climbing.

In his signature, outspoken style, D’Alessandro offers concrete advice on building a reputation that commands respect, coping with office politics, and surviving the less-than-sane aspects of any organization. He explains why only 20 percent of the people in a given corporation are truly valuable to the organization, demonstrates the right way to polish the boss’s image and prevent the boss from tarnishing the reader’s, and provides valuable lessons in the etiquette of reputation building.

Through engaging, often-hilarious stories drawn from his own dramatic climb to the top, David D’Alessandro speaks to success-oriented readers at every level and explains:

  • How to make people want to take a chance on them
  • How to gain and keep a great reputation
  • Why success will not proceed in a rational manner
  • Why hard work and accomplishment aren’t enough
  • What character has to do with it

Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It

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5 Responses to “Career Warfare: 10 Rules for Building a Successful Personal Brand and Fighting to Keep It”

  1. I guess I came across mention of this title in an issue of Fast Company, but I can’t be sure. It seems like something they would feature in the magazine, though.

    I wasn’t that interested in this book initially, but it quickly grew on me. D’Alessandro (in partnership with Michele Owens) speaks from with an assured voice and what is, obviously, real-world experience. Even more, the book is filled with clear and illustrative examples of what can go wrong, and right, as you build your career.

    I am happy to see a CEO focus on something of use to everyone instead of the usual accounts of how they crushed the competition and turned themselves and their shareholders into ultra-millionaires. Everyone works. Everyone has a boss and nearly everyone can benefit from this book.

    D’Alessandro speaks about the need to “analyze” your boss into one of the 7 archetypes he has developed from his experiences. Are they a “Little League Parent” or a “Mentor”? A “Wastrel”? A “Pariah”? How can you identify the and how do you develop your career with, or in spite, of them. While you certainly want to judge people solely on the management skills, understanding the basic types can help to make you life easier.

    The author’s experiences and insights dovetail nicely with my own career experiences. I have seen almost all of the boss varieties he describes, both bad and good. It is always a reassuring to hear that you aren’t the only person to have struggled with career issues.

    Career Warfare is one of those books that should be given to every college student sometime around their junior year. I know I certainly would have been spared a lot of “hard knocks” learning had this book been available back in the early 80′s. Reading this book could prepare new careerists for the realities that will face and give them a “leg up” into the working world.

    Current managers can also benefit, as well. The book is an excellent way to do a “gut check” and see if you are really the manager you want to be. Idealistically, I would also recommend this book even the most experienced managers so they might recognize any bad habits they might have adopted over the years and seek to correct them, even at this late date.

    D’Alessandro gives some excellent advice for “getting along” in troublesome work environments, but shares my assessment that there are times when you should never compromise your ethics. It is always better to find a new job than find yourself under investigation. Being out of work damages your personal brand much less than becoming a convicted felon. Ask Martha Stewart.

    Overall, this book was an easy and engaging read. One that reinforced my own experience and beliefs, yet also elicited new thoughts and concepts on what it means to have a career.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  2. Anonymous says:

    When I entered the business world, I was amazed to learn that the world is not governed by reason, but by energy, ego, sheer force of will, politics, and pure happenstance. 5 pages into the introduction, D’alessandro writes, “…the biggest mistake you can make is to assume that organizations are rational.”

    All young people about to enter the working world need to understand that. The fact that this simple message is written in a respectable book written by a respectable author (he is the CEO of Hancock Financial) should drive home the point. I certainly wish that I had understood this insight 10 years ago when I graduated from law school. I am an investment banker at one of the big firms and, believe me, every one one of his 10 points is on the mark.

    As a smart, academically successful graduate, you might think that it is your intelligence, hard work, and integrity that will get you to the top. As D’alessandro points out, all these are necessary but not sufficient. You have to understand how the real world works – with all the crazy, unpredictable personalities and organizational politics that can lead to sub-optimal and sometimes bizarre results. This applies to your moving up the corporate ladder. This book is priceless because it makes you see what sort of practical things you need to be doing/thinking in order to deal with the politics.

    The introduction and the first 5 chapters are a must read for professionals (or soon to be professionals) in their 20s or even early 30s. Now in my late 30s, the book was fun to read because I would find myself nodding or laughing in agreement with so many things D’alessandro was saying. Though the book is written in an easy-to-read humorous conversational style, he definitely knows what he is talking about. The last 5 chapters are not as entertaining or informative, but probably still useful for many. And given that it is a very fast read, you can read the whole book in a couple days.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  3. Firebright says:

    You know, this book is right on about 98% of the stuff in it. I just wish I’d read it before my last big contract, as I made some of the “classic mistakes” David talked about in the book.

    I’ve been in high tech for 11 years, and I love it. But, I wince every time I look back at my career, as I’ve blundered through a lot of stupid mistakes – mistakes this book would have saved me from.

    Read this book. It’s short, easy to read, and full of ideas that will save your you-know-what out there in corporate America. I can’t say enough good things.
    Rating: 5 / 5

  4. Scott says:

    I have over 100 books sitting around I’ve bought in the last few years. Only a few seem to be really great books.

    This book is up there, depending on your career goals. I would say this is a must for anybody working in a large organization or corporate atmosphere. D’Alessandro provides a lot of foresight into things you might not recognize at the time they are taking place, because he’s been there already.

    If you don’t like this book and you’re not already an executive, then it’s probably because this book doesn’t apply to your career. If you don’t deal with corporate politics, then this doesn’t apply to your career “as much” either.

    Now, if you want to understand why you might have a file cabinet of good feedback and accomplishments but keep getting passed up for promotions by people with little or no feedback then read this book.

    Your career is more than how good you do, it’s more than making your team or group look good too. Your career improvements come down to snap decisions and judgements in places you may never expect, and this book does a great job of explaining that.

    Now, what I don’t like is the political under tones of the book. I think those should have been left out. There are some obvious personal undertones in the book that I didn’t like. I liked the book when it talked about career, but I could do without David’s personal democratic agenda. One thing really sticks out with me; In one area of the book he witnessed an elderly lady asking somebody else if they thought she could afford some shoes for her Grandaughter. Instead of feeling compasionate, he says it made him realize that he’s used to being around people with an IQ over 140. Give me a break. Although he is a CEO of John Hancock, some of his insecurities are very evident in this writing. Kudos to his career accomplishments, but even a CEO isn’t perfect and it shows.

    Overall, I give this book 4 stars based on the material relating to a career. I would give it 1 more star if this book was worth reading over and over again and was lacking the personal agenda evident toward the end of the book when David puts more emphasis on talking about himself rather than staying on topic.
    Rating: 4 / 5

  5. I read this book after graduating with an MBA (BS in Comp. Sci.) to gain insight into how to market myself. My only criticism is that this book wasn’t available when I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degree 11 years ago. Like most people (including Mr. D’Alessandro by his own admission), I have made some mistakes in my career. This book helped me recognize those mistakes (in retrospect) and evaluate them.

    Others here have described the book in great detail, so I won’t. Instead, I’ll say that if you’re new to the working world, stagnating in your current job, wanting a new career or promotion, or just starting a new job as a leader with aspirations for more, read this book! Reflect on your past and learn from it. Then go forth and be successful!

    Who shouldn’t read this book? Those who are happy with the status quo of their self, their career, and their life. Those who are not ambitious (not everybody is, and that’s OK). And lastly, those you work with, for they need to know nothing about your implementation plans for your brand and your career.

    If you don’t believe this branding ‘stuff’ is real, take a look at pricing for premier products and compare them to lower priced products or, gulp!, a generic. Hand soap, shampoo, engine oil, CPUs (Intel vs. AMD). How many of you really believe that $10 soap is really going to clean 10x (1000%) better than $1 soap? I’m not suggesting there aren’t differences because there are (some perceived, some real). They just may not total up to 10x better, which is precisely my point. Wouldn’t you rather be paid 10x more (or even 2x more for that matter) because of your premier personal brand? If you’re happy as a generic, great! There’s a place for those, too. Just not on the top shelf.
    Rating: 5 / 5

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