Books and Blogs

Quite often, recruiters ask me to recommend today’s best books and blogs. I’ve compiled some links to blogs that are a bit out of the recruiting mainstream and are not written by recruiters. These blogs provide you with a slightly different view of things and often from a wider perspective as well.

Out of the hundreds of books that are published every month, only a very few make my list. I try to recommend books that I will refer back to and that carry a message that isn’t faddish. The three I list here are all keepers.

Blogs

The Future of Work written by Charlie Grantham and Jim Ware contains powerful commentary and research on how the way we work is changing. They document everything from work/life balance to telecommuting and explain the trends and issues that crop up.

These two have been working and documenting the changing workplace for several years. They have case studies and numerous examples of new styles of organizational structure as well as new ways that people are working. Every recruiter is going to face candidates and hiring managers who are in conflict over work styles, time, and place. This blog may help you (or them) better understand and find solutions to these clashes.

Fast Company, the magazine that probably best documents the emerging world. It covers everything from how we are changing work, travel, food, and clothing to how talent is changing. It offers excellent and insightful information on a range of topics, including talent and recruiting.

For insight into how the generations clash and mesh, Russ Eckel’s blog Generations at Work is essential reading. Russ discusses everything from the emerging millennial culture to mentoring.

Perhaps the funniest and most controversial of generational bloggers is Penelope Trunk (who will be speaking at the ERE Expo Spring 2008 in San Diego). Her blog, Brazen Careerist, is also the title of her recent book. She offers Generation Y career advice that is bold, fresh, and definitely her own! Take a look and see what you think.

For those of you interested in social networks Fred Stutzman, a PhD student in Information Science, authors an excellent blog called Unit Structures. His posts are deep and thoughtful and have links to many other blogs and resources of information on social networking.

Another commentator and researcher on social networks is Danah Boyd, a PhD student at the University of California at Berkeley. Her blog, Apopenia, has recently carried a fascinating discussion on the sociological difference between Facebook and MySpace.

Books

Brazen Careerist by Penelope Trunk

Penelope is the blogger I mention above. Her new book has been selling like hotcakes as it is the first I have seen to begin defining how young people are approaching the search for work.

Although written as an advice book for young job seekers and college students, it offers insight and fun commentary on our current employment practices and on what is emerging as the 21st century view of work and life. She outlines 45 new rules for success, many of which I am almost certain you will either agree with or absolutely disagree with. Penelope leaves little room for the cautious person in the middle. Her views are powerful and challenging.

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Career Distinction by William Arruda and Kristen Dixson

This book’s subtitle sums up its main message: Stand out by building your brand. Similar in theme to speeches and books by Tom Peters, it advocates the concept of developing a strong personal brand.

Chapters cover topics such as how to define your “brand community” and how to tell your brand story. They help you understand how to use career-marketing tools and assess your online identity.

With the growing use of search engines to look for people and the rise of social networks, it is critical to know what your online identity looks like and what people are going to find about you. An interesting and useful addition to your knowledge as a recruiter.

The Future of Work by Thomas Malone

Most everyone who works in a corporation participates in discussions about work, hierarchy, org structure, and leadership. He predicts that we will move to much less centralized organizations as we move into this century. He discusses how technology has already reduced the need for central structures and how it has opened up the possibility of decentralized communities and organizations defined by markets.

Along the way, he discusses the future of work and workers. He advocates defining jobs much more broadly and allowing people to cultivate new skills through experimentation and discovery. He says “let a thousand flowers bloom” in order to foster the creativity and innovation that will keep organizations competitive. If you have time to read only one book as this year draws to a close, consider this one. It is easy to read and filled with solid research (Tom is a professor at MIT) as well as thought-provoking ideas on the future.

I hope you find some of these useful, and I am always looking for some recommendations of good blogs and good books from you as well.

Kevin Wheeler is a globally known speaker, author, futurist, and consultant in talent management, human capital acquisition and learning & development. He has founded a number of organizations including the Future of Talent Institute, Global Learning Resources, Inc. and the Australasian Talent Conference, Ltd. He hosts Future of Talent Retreats in the U.S., Europe, and Australia. He writes frequently on LinkedIn, is a columnist for ERE.net, keynotes, and speaks at conferences and events globally, and advises firms on talent strategy. He has authored two books and hundreds of articles and white papers. He has a new book on recruiting that will be out in late summer of 2016. Prior to his current work, he had a 20+year corporate career in several San Francisco area tech and financial service firms. He has also been on the faculty of San Francisco State University and the University of San Francisco. He can be reached at kwheeler@futureoftalent.org.

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