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I’ve got a substantial library of books about writing, but the Amazon Fairy just brought some slim, read-in-one-sitting books on careers too. And we’ve also got a couple good reference books for non-native English speakers. If you’d like to borrow one, it’s easy: hit the “Borrow” link at the book of your choice and you’ll get taken to a form asking for your name, rank, serial number, blood type, next of kin, etc. Then come by the office at 1521 and pick it up. Fair warning – you’ve never been stalked the way I’ll stalk you if I don’t get my books back. So feel free to take them out for a test drive, friends – but bring ‘em back! There’s also links to Amazon if you’d like a copy of your very own, but I encourage you to do as I do and buy second-hand copies from Amazon Marketplace sellers for a lot less, unless you’ve got Amazon Prime, in which case you’re golden.​

THE BOOKSHELF -- New Arrivals!

Adulting: How to Become a Grownup in 468 Easy(ish) Steps

Adulting Book

Randomly leafing through this book, I landed on Step #180: "Be quiet when you start looking for a new job", and Step #302: "Don't gossip about a friend with someone who doesn't love him as much as you do." There are also handy tips on what to keep in your work desk (deodorant, comfortable shoes, a little first-aid kit) and lots of other good advice. Discussed on episode 3 of the "Don't Fear the Career" podcast.


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Ask A Manager: How to Navigate Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work

Ask a Manager Book

Hilarious, serious and useful all at the same time, this book covers just about every possible situation you might find yourself in at work. Discussed in episode 2 of the "Don't Fear the Career" podcast. Highly recommended!

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The Essentials of Business Etiquette

The Essentials of Business Etiquette Book

Whether you’re eating lunch with a client, Skyping with your boss, or meeting a business partner for the first time--it's all about how you present yourself. The Essentials of Business Etiquette gives you 101 critical tips for improving behavior in any business situation--all delivered in a quick, no-nonsense format.

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English the American Way: A Fun ESL Guide to Language and Culture in the U.S.

English the American Way book

Written by experienced ESL instructors, this handy guidebook was designed for non-native speakers of English who want to improve how they speak the language as it is spoken in the United States.

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Slang Rules! A Practical Guide for English Learners

Slang Rules book

Another entry in our selection of books for non-native English speakers, this book provides lots of practical tips about American slang -- both what is okay to use in mixed company and what is definitely NOT.

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The Adventures of Johnny Bunko

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko book

Based on the work of Daniel Pink, author of A Whole New Mind, this is a serious career guide written in manga style. Our confused hero, Johnny Bunko, who “did what everyone told him to do,” finds himself struggling to survive at a job he hates and is terrible at, until one day a magical manga-style hipster fairy comes along to impart “the six essential lessons he must learn to thrive in the world of work.”

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What Color is Your Parachute Guide to Rethinking Resumes

Guide to Rethinking Resumes book

Resumes get an average of eight seconds of attention before going in the trash—or getting on the shortlist. That’s just one of the findings reported here, as legendary career expert Richard N. Bolles presents new research about resumes in a guide that summarizes everything job-hunters and career-changers need to know about this essential tool. This timely resource features the latest research on important resume topics such as key words, soft skills, scanning software, social media, and online posting.

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The Elements of Style


Elements of Style book

What’s your first thought when you hear a book or movie described as “classic”? a. “That’s a nice way of saying its old” b. “Maybe I should check that out” Well, in this case both of those statements are true. It IS old, but it’s really good and you should check it out. E.B. White is one of those writers that other writers want to emulate, but rather than going on and on and on about what NOT to do, he very simply, elegantly, and concisely shows you what TO DO. Plus – BONUS! This edition of the book has been redesigned with colorful, semi-wacky illustrations by one of my favorite authors and illustrators, Maira Kalman.

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What Color is Your Parachute Guide to Rethinking Interviews

Interviews instill fear in many a job-hunter, but this empowering guide from legendary career expert Richard N. Bolles reveals that interviews are really just conversations to determine if the work—and workplace—is a great fit for both parties. For the first time, Bolles combines his decades of experience with the latest studies and job-market research to create an all-in-one guide for the whole interview process, from pre-interview research to elevator pitches, “tell me about yourself” questions, and salary negotiation.

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LinkedIn in 30 Minutes


LinkedIn guide - updated in 2018! If you're serious about taking your career to the next level, you need to be on LinkedIn®. In LinkedIn In 30 Minutes (2nd Edition), author Angela Rose will show you how to make a rock-solid LinkedIn profile and expand your network. Whether you want to find a new job on LinkedIn or advance your career, this guide can be the blueprint for a supercharged LinkedIn strategy.

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What Color is Your Parachute Guide to Job-Hunting Online

Job Hunting Online book

Before you start your Internet job-hunt, there are some things that you must know, like: • Why are job sites like Monster and CareerBuilder so stunningly ineffective? • What can you do to make sure your resumes survive the elimination process? • How do you find the information that search engines like Google can’t? The Guide to Job-Hunting Online, 6th Edition, not only answers these questions and many more but shows you how to comprehensively and effectively use the Internet for all aspects of your job-hunt.

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On Writing Well


This might be THE best book about writing cleanly, clearly and simply that was ever written. Zinsser was a student of E.B. White (author of Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and many, many essays) who believed that less is more. Actually, that WAY less is more. Now I don’t know that I totally agree with him on every point – an adjective here and there never killed anybody – but he does point out the useless and irrelevant words that we too often put between us and our readers. (What he would have done to the previous sentence I don’t want to think about.) Also, Zinsser actually edits himself: using a passage from an earlier edition of the book, he mercilessly prunes his own work of all the horrible stuff he let slip in the first time. Yeah. A major selling point of this book: because Zinsser believes in being concise, the book and its chapters are short. Highly, highly recommended.

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Line by Line: How to Edit Your Own Writing


Check out the subtitle of this book: How to Edit Your Own Writing. Learning how to edit yourself is one of THE best things you’ll ever do. HOWEVER, and this is a big however, editing yourself assumes that you write more than one draft! No editing can take place when you just dump the contents of your brain out on a digital page and call it a day. What some people consider a finished document ready for submission, others (yes, I am one of these others) would call a rough draft. So okay, sure, maybe you start out with the brain dump, but then you revise, refine, add, remove, revise again – however many tries it takes to produce something you won’t be ashamed to claim as your own. And this book will help you do that.

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Eats Shoots and Leaves


I love this book so much I’ve thought about having it tattooed on my feet, just so I could take my socks off and read it whenever I want to. Then I think about how much it would hurt and that my feet aren’t big enough and how weird it would look and the thought fades. ANYWAY, this is a very witty, at times hilarious book about punctuation – and who would think that something like that exists? A funny book about punctuation? Granted, Lynne Truss is British and her humor (or humour) might not be to everyone’s taste, but she also does a great job explaining how to correctly use apostrophes (not apostrophe’s), parentheses (or “fancy brackets” as they call them in the U.K.), semi-colons, and even the dreaded COMMA. She acknowledges that writers and editors often disagree so violently about proper comma placement that they nearly come to blows, but also shows what terrible things can happen when you just throw them around willy-nilly, or leave them out altogether. Love, love, LOVE this book.

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Don't Reply All


A nice BRIEF book that BRIEFLY explains some excellent BRIEF rules about email etiquette, which – trust me, EVERYONE needs to know. This guy worked at Cisco Systems and before that at Ernst & Young, so he knows whereof he speaks. He admits to writing the book because he was forever lecturing everyone on how to write better emails and complaining when they didn’t, so he figured he might as well write a book about it. I’ve been writing emails since the 80s (!) and I thought I wouldn’t learn anything new from this skinny little book, but I did. I learned ONE thing. And I’m not going to tell you what it was, so there.

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Rules for Writers


Rules for Writers

My copy of this cool not-so-little spiral-bound guide is marked with tons of flags to bring me back to my favorite sections. So far I’ve tabbed “active verbs / strong verbs,” “mixed constructions,” “misplaced and dangling modifiers,” and my all-time favorite (drum roll) – “using articles and other noun markers”! I know, right? Who has more fun than me? (sigh). Back to Rules for Writers. This is a reference book that doesn’t encourage you to read it so much as tab through it for the specific thing you need, which when you find it will be briefly and clearly explained, so you can get on with your day. I’ve recommended it to non-native English speakers to refresh their memories of the grammar they learned in school, and I’ve heard it was helpful. It won’t change your life or anything, but it’s just what it needs to be.

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Using Sources Effectively


Using sources Effectively

Anyone who’s watched my video on avoiding plagiarism may remember my pitch for this book, Using Sources Effectively, by Robert Harris, upon which I based much of the video’s content. This book is the real deal: a practical, clearly written guide to not only keeping out of trouble with the Plagiarism Police but actually doing what the title says – using sources effectively. It’s been revised a number of times (I have a cheapo second-edition with a blue cover), the image shown is of the third edition, and there’s now a fifth edition – VERY expensive. But I console myself that there isn’t much new under the citation sun, except maybe the latest and greatest info on Internet sources, which can be Googled, so I’m content with my beat-up old copy of Mr. Harris.

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Oxford Collocations Dictionary for Students of English


Oxford Collection Dictionary

As non-native speakers of English know only too well, there are ways of saying things in English that might not technically be incorrect but that sound odd to a native speaker. Of course there are idioms, or slang, but this is something a bit different, and more practical for academic or business writing, where slang or idiomatic expressions are often inappropriate. What I’m talking about are collocations. Definition of collocation: the habitual juxtaposition of a particular word with another word or words with a frequency greater than chance. Or put another way: how we usually say things in English. I had never heard the term until a few months ago, but believe me, collocations are a big deal, especially if you’re learning English. Actually, they’re only a big deal for people learning English or any other language, because native speakers of any language have collocations imprinted on their brains from childhood forward. Example: the word “hoax” is typically paired with the adjectives “elaborate” and “cruel” to form the expressions elaborate hoax and cruel hoax; or with a verb: “perpetuate”=to perpetuate a hoax; etc. Here’s another: the word “pursuit” paired with the adjectives “dogged,” “single-minded,” or “relentless”: try putting each of them together with “pursuit” and see how well they fit. They just sound right, don’t they? This dictionary is full of thousands of them. And it’s from Oxford, so how bad can it be?

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