Book review: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

By Philip Brewer on 20 August 2008 2 comments

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You'll Ever Need by Daniel H. Pink.

Do you need a career guide?  And, if so, do you need one written as manga?  It almost doesn't matter--Daniel H. Pink has written one, and it's got enough good lessons packed into a tiny little book, that it's worth reading whether you need it or not.

Let me begin a bit oddly (given that I'm recommending the book) to say that I've long disagreed with Pink.  He's always been something of a cheerleader for abandoning the old employer-employee social contract in favor of the modern reality--that the people who used to think of themselves as employees need to think of themselves as free agents instead.  The thing is, though, I've never thought that Pink was wrong, just that the changes were a poor public policy choice--I don't disagree with the analysis, just with the cheerleading.

I've talked before about the importance of finding work worth doing--I've even come up with some tips on how to do it--but I've always felt like I've fallen short when it comes to helping the guy with no clue what he wants to do for the rest of his life but who needs to earn a living now.  How does he thread the needle of finding an income to pay the bills while at the same time making progress on finding his true calling?  Well, Pink has a big chunk of the answer right here.

Johnny Bunko isn't a job search guide--there's nothing about resumes or cover letters (there is a bit of clever mockery of the interview process).  It's about moving from where you are in your career to where you ought to be--by giving up on the notion that there's a specific path that you ought to follow, by using your strengths, by focusing on making your team and your boss a success, by sticking to it, by being bold, and by making a difference.

Johnny Bunko is aimed at young folks at the start of their career, but anyone who hasn't found his or her life's work--and even some who have--will find its advice applies to them too.

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Constance Mettler

Philip, I enjoyed this review of Johnny Bunko and your writing style. Can I send you another book on career building in a frugal manner for possible review? The book is Internet Riches by Scott Fox. It is full of pragmatic tips and strategies to build an income online. It is NOT a 'get rich quick' book...the publisher chose that rather boisterous title, but it is full of stories of how regular people used the Internet to build businesses, frugally. I think it has a place at Wise Bread.

Constance Mettler

Philip Brewer's picture

The admins are contacting you directly with my email address.