Book Review: Out of the Classroom

One of the hardest things for me to do when we moved to the US was to come to grips with just how many standardized tests that my child would take in her lifetime... and how much importance that schools would place on these tests... luckily for me, Robyn has thrived in the 'darken the bubble' world of testing, but I think that as Liam's academic career advances that he will be much less successful with this type of testing... I could be wrong, but I always think about my husband's favorite line to his incoming students ... 'do you want to be happy, dynamic people or happy, functioning sheep?"  Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success: How to Prosper Without Being at the Top of The Class takes this lesson a step further and gives young people positive advice and practical tips for young people should not be slaves to test scores...

From the Publisher:

In our grade-focused school years, the rules of success seemed as simple as making straight As. However, in the working world, success is often far more complex, and formal education is only the baseline to ensuring career advancement in a highly competitive world, where prospective employees are up against international candidates who have been long schooled in skills. Now, a self-professed over-achiever shares how her professional triumphs wildly strayed from the honor roll tactics in an eye-opening, easy-to-read compilation of truisms from the trenches of real life. Out of the Classroom Lessons in Success: How to Prosper Without Being at the Top of the Class offers hard-won wisdom on achieving professional glory that will serve as an invaluable resource to anyone who is contemplating a career, or for parents who want to help their children lay the groundwork for success in the work place. Inspired by the experience of her daughters, Kocialski realized that many young adults graduate and are completely unaware of a new playing field that is not always predicated by superior grades or talents. In eighteen concise chapters, the author draws from her professional achievements and challenges to debunk common myths that can lead astray aspiring professionals in the early years of forging a career. This slim, indispensable book serves up the “aha!” moments that will assist young hopefuls and parents in navigating the path to success. Does practice really make perfect? Do good things come to those who wait? From teamwork to tooting your own horn, this matter-of-fact guide to greatness underscores that happily, successfully ever after does not just happen; it’s the result of planning, promoting, taking action, and going for it. Inspiring and uplifting, this simply brilliant take on creating a career will help anyone realize their goals, anyone avoid common pitfalls, and lay the groundwork through the secondary talents, skills, and mindset necessary for optimal success.

My Review:

This book should be a must read for every high school student who is trying to discover the world and their place in it.  While most US schools are designed to produce students who can regurgitate information and do well on standardized tests, once you get out into the real world there are no rubrics, no one to hold your hand through projects that may not have a determined outcome and no one to give you a gold star when you meet expectations.  This book gives practical and universal advice to those embarking on their professional lives and does it with both flair and fundamentals. 

This is a great read, flows well and offers good advice for everyone!  I found myself nodding in agreement throughout the book and am pleased to be able to share it with my eighth grader as she heads off to high school next year.

About the Author:
Cynthia is the founder of three tech companies. In the past 15 years, I have been involved in dozens of start-ups and have served on various advisory boards. These companies have collectively returned billions of dollars to investors. I have held various technical, marketing, and management positions at IBM and Matrox Electronics. She has an engineering and mathematics degrees from the University of Rochester and the University of Virginia.