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BOOKS: Reinventing You
by Sally Parsons
2013-11-13

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By Dorie Clark, $25; Harvard Business . Review Press; 240 pages

To succeed in today's job market and build a career, the author contends, you'll need to continually reinvent yourself. In Reinventing You, she provides the tools to do it. And, if experience counts, Clark's own background proves her approach works. Clark is a consultant and speaker for clients including Google, Yale University and the World Bank, and an adjunct professor of business administration at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. She has been a journalist, documentary filmmaker, and presidential campaign spokesperson. She is quoted frequently in media, including NPR, the BBC, and U.S. News and World Report. She is a columnist for Mint, India's second-largest business newspaper.

In Reinventing You, an engagingly written self-help book, Clark provides guidelines for answering the questions, Who do you want to be? and What do you need to do to get there? She suggests the process should include discovering what might be holding you back, researching your destination, test-driving your plan, skills development, finding a mentor, leveraging your points of difference, building your narrative, and introducing your new brand. Each chapter has helpful exercises ( "Make a list of the things about yourself that most surprise people …." ) and summation points. At the back is a self-assessment and a list of questions for book discussions.

Clark makes clear her book is not about spin or claiming you're something you are not. She says it's about "taking control of your life and living strategically." What that means to her is "…defining your goals, working hard and ethically to get there, and then making sure that people notice once you do."

Reinventing You is enhanced by Clark's examples from successful re-inventers she has studied or interviewed—including Mark Zuckerberg, Al Gore and others, as well as a peek into her own achievements in rebranding herself. A notable example Clark highlights is the success of hotelier Chip Conley, who is openly gay. As Clark recounts, Conley decided to use his identity as a gay man as a source of strength. "If you're gay or lesbian, you have to figure out how to walk into a room and make yourself comfortable in an environment where you feel like you're different," says Conley.

Readers can key in "Dorie Clark" on YouTube, where she is featured in multiple lectures about business success.

A former board member of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, Clark was the Liaison to the GLBT community for Somerville, Massachusetts. Clark has consulted for MassEquality, Massachusetts' statewide GLBT political organization, and was a recipient of the Young Democrats of Massachusetts' GLBT advocacy award.


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