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What Color Is Your Parachute? 2012: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers

3.59 of 5 stars 3.59  ·  rating details  ·  5,729 ratings  ·  444 reviews
The 40th Edition.This is not your father’sParachute; and not your mother’s, either. They’d be astounded at the changes. This book keeps building--in insight, helpfulness, relevance, and urgency--through new invention and information each year. And this year it’s the critical resource to help Americans (and others) get back to work.

For forty years now job-hunters and career...more
ebook, 40th Anniversary Edition, 336 pages
Published August 16th 2011 by Ten Speed Press (first published 1970)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rachel Smalter Hall
I picked up this book at a time in my life when I was like, "ok, Rachel, it's time to figure some stuff out." Along came Richard Bolles, like my own sweet little Grandpa giving me life advice. He actually had me doing all the cheesy exercises -- lists, graphs, venn-diagrams, even a flower chart for Pete's sake. And in the end, gosh darnit, I knew I was going to move back to the Midwest and become a librarian!

FYI, this book does have some serious Christian overtones, but Grandpa Bolles is pretty...more
Patty Mora
I've read this book and completed the exercises twice during my adult life, and it has helped me tremendously in answering the age-old question, "What is my mission in life."

For those of us who live to work, and not work to live, this is the book for you. I highly recommend completing the exercises, or "homework" as I call it, and you will uncover your talents and dreams that have been buried over the years.

It will take a little bit of your time, maybe an hour a night for a week or two, or over...more
Seriously, this book is one of the best selling career self-help guides? I find that hard to believe. My issues with this book:

1) Awkward, and at times incomprehensible, sentence syntax. Dick Bolles comes across as a doofus with too much time on his hands who just decided to sit down and write a book, and not as a job-market-savvy consultant.

2) Seriously stupid advice. "Try a search engine, like Google, or Yahoo, or your favorite one if you have one." Yeah, thanks for the advice, Dick. I never t...more
Take advice from someone in the workforce development field: this book and some degree of common sense will take you pretty far. No, this man did not teach me how to write a resume or interview. No, he didn't show me a shining new path in life. What he does do though is illuminate those all-too-easy to overlook things known as "the employer's thoughts and needs."

Job seekers rarely have the opportunity or background knowledge to appreciate the employer as not only a representative of their compan...more
Jen Cloos
This was an interesting book, but A) I shouldn't have read it at the same time as another career book and B) I liked the format of the other career book better. This is more about sitting down and writing while the other (I don't know what I want to do, but I know it's not this) had more quizzes. They both had their positives and negatives, but I felt this one gave a lot of examples, which could have been pared down a bit (I get it - 3 illustrative stories aren't necessary) and went into more de...more
Scott Dinsmore
Why I Read this Book: I wanted to get a firm understanding of the career direction in which I wanted to head and how to go about it after finishing my university work. This book provided a wonderful road map.


This book, or I should say a version of this book has been on the best seller list for many years now. Bolles spends the majority of each year putting together the updated version for the year to come. This is not the type of book you buy once for one search and that is it. Every time...more
I find this book vastly over-rated.

I got it my Sr. year of college, at the recommendation of an academic advisor (the need for which I also found to be highly over-rated), and it did nothing for me. Yes, I ended up in an industry I LOVED, in a job that fit me well, but with no thanks to this book. It taught me nothing about myself I didn't already know and gave me little useful knowledge to go about my job hunt.

I suppose it could prove quite useful for someone who 1) lacks an intuitive introspe...more
Feras Hilal
This book finally made me swear off one-size-fits-all career books, which is a good thing. I'll admit that my infatuation with acquiring books that promise to "boost your career in 28 days", help you find your "purpose in life", or jump out of bed in the morning skipping merrily to your job, is akin to that of a fat kid with cake. Make that a stale cake, the one with Technicolor icing and texture that looks (and probably smells like) Play-do!

In any case, this book is terribly over hyped, I foun...more
Amanda (Pearl the Book Girl)
I think this is a great book for someone who isn't happy with their current job and wants to figure out exactly what they want to do that will be fulfilling, not just pay the bills.

I graduated from college a few years ago and back then I was just sending out resumes and I accepted the first offer I got. I didn't worry to much if I was going to like the job, just that I needed to find one. Now I have a few years of experience under my belt and I think I can afford to be a little choosier.

I liked...more
This book has been immensly popular for a long time. Its popularity is not due to the the author's writing style. For something that has gone through so many revisions, one might expect a polished, well-written tome. This is not the case. The book is written like a very lengthy ad; full of hyperbole, simplistic statements, and grammer that may be acceptable in the world of advertisng, but not that of non-fiction prose.
It's hard to see why this book is so popular. Perhaps unemployment lowers peo...more
I wish this book would have told me something other than it did. I knew I was an artist with day jobs in everything from bar tending to accounting, married to another artist with a day job in civil service, trying to survive and feed our kids. I guess this book can't help someone make it easier financially in this world that makes no sense to someone who might have autistic tendencies. I had a hard time taking the time needed to focus on working on the flowers.
Jan 11, 2009 misstippin rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the unemployed & job-weary
3.5 stars, truly.
So, I'm jobless at the moment and this book has had rave reviews in all its incarnations for many, many years as an invaluable resource for "job-hunters and career-changers." I certainly can't argue with that. I thought the most useful thing about it was Bolles's repeated insights into the minds of employers. He makes a point of helping the reader understand that they're not the only one facing risks and fears in a new position; employers also have myriad concerns about hiring n...more
Richard N Bolles is like a god in the career counseling world, but I have to admit that I have never been much of a What Color is Your Parachute? person. Knowing that makes me a pariah in career counseling circles even if my colleagues don't know they should treat me like one. However, I know that many job seekers every year turn to Bolles, and given The Great Recession, this minister's words of comfort have been greatly needed. Actually, when I found myself going through my own career crisis wh...more
Note: I actually read the 2012 version, but I didn't see it listed under the available versions to review.

I had been aware of this book for quite awhile, but never had any desire to read it. I figured it was one of those "I'm okay, you're okay" touchy-feely find yourself sort of book. And, well, it is that. But it's a lot more, too. There is a reason this book has been published in one form or another for the past 40 years: it's an excellent guidebook for thinking not just about how to find a jo...more
Lis Ann
See full review @ The Indigo Quill:

What Color Is Your Parachute? is a book I always heard of, but never actually read. I can't say this book fully applies to me since I'm pretty set in more than one career at the moment (Cosmetology until I graduate college, then teaching music), but I thought I could look at it from a different perspective than one who is already feeling a little discouraged or stagnant in their search for their "calling" in life. I thi...more
Kater Cheek
A friend of mine bought this for me on kindle, saying it was a great way to find out what job best suits you. This book has been around for years and years, but as with textbooks, the author is quick to assure you that you really need the latest edition, as it's constantly being revamped. While there certainly are new addresses and new urls in this book, the basic principal, I'm sure, hasn't changed much.

Most of the book consists of a guided self-assessment of what your likes and dislikes, skill...more
Clea M
(I read the 2013 version.) I mostly read this to make my mother happy. The cheesiness aside, it committed one of the mistakes of the self-help genre that most aggravates me: it convincingly and with great detail outlined the problem with the traditional approach to its subject, namely job hunting; its stated problem is that just emailing your resume out to job postings online won't work for a variety of reasons. It made a pretty convincing argument for this approach being pretty pointless. But t...more
Greta Stough
I don't know if this book just makes me feel lame, or if it makes everyone who reads it feel that way. I'm a third of the way through it, there has been no mention of parachutes (not to mention their potential color), and every time it tries to empower me, I feel myself slipping into apathy. Maybe it is a kind of reverse-psychology effect, i.e. I decide to go out and get a job just to prove this silly book wrong? We shall see.

Ok, ok, for those of you who already believe in yourselves and your cu...more
This is the best job-hunting book I read so far! What makes it better is the author Richard Nelson Bolles is also a Christian. By reading this book, I understand more about the new job search techniques. I guess the hard part is really practicing it cause networking IS hard. I really appreciate the chapter about job interviewing, letting me know how it is like a "date," so I won't be as nervous. I think either way, you will still be nervous since our natural tendency is for the other person to l...more
Meldi Arkinstall
An incredibly useful book.
Covering everything from how to decided what your passion is to the most efficient and effective ways of looking for a job, this job should be compulsory reading for everyone!

I have used it many times, and have recommended it to many friends as well.
I wish I had read this book when I was younger like my dad recommended. This book is full of great ideas and provides a new holistic way to look at career choices. The bulk of the book is comprised of the chapter that deals with creating a flower – basically a complicated inventory of everything you need to know about yourself to choose the right career. I still need to do the exercises but I am very happy with what I have read.
I found the 1995 version in my apartment, decided to read the beginning before giving it away, and ended up reading the whole thing. Sections about talking to your librarian to find places to call for job listings or checking out the classifieds in your newspaper were adorably antiquated, but other sections were quite helpful. One part explained that you should care about not only the job that you do, but the kind of company you work for/context language you speak in at work, thus reaffirming my...more
There were definitely some useful tips in here, as well as worksheets (that I didn't do) which might help people define for themselves what their main skills are, and what kinds of professions they can have with those skills.

But there was also a lot of "To find out more about ____, use a search engine. My favorite is Google, or you can look up a list of popular search engines at"

Also, I had no idea that in the last section of the book, he would suddenly go "and by the way, t...more
Some items in this book may be very helpful to people who haven't really had to go job-hunting in the past, or whose jobs didn't already entail internet research, networking, etc. Some items in this version of the book are a bit out-dated for today's market. Maybe the newest versions are more apt for today's market. Some information can be useful, such as the insights into what challenges employers face.

All in all, an okay book, though really didn't help me in finding a job that I'll love or ha...more
Kate H
Another re-read. Read this in my early 20's, again in my mid to late 20's, and this past week and I have thought about the things Bolles says throughout my career. I really believe this is the best career book out there--Bolles takes you through a number of exercises to determine your ideal work situation, with the idea of rather than fitting into the box, you go out and find the box you really want to inhabit. And, of course, there's lots of advice for job hunting which should be no surprise to...more
Batch Batchelder
Very good resource for the career prospector/"introspector".

A little bit "I need a job" focused in places, but the diagnostics (chapter 13) are very good for self-examination toward determining strengths, weaknesses, preferences, etc...

Overall, very helpful. Highly recommended for "job" seekers as well as anyone who is on the "what should I do with my life" quest.

Format: Paperback via Amazon ($12.91)
Not really the kind of book helpful for recent professional school grads who know what they want to do and are just waiting for the right opportunity. I did like 2 things about this book, though: (1) The list of action verbs and skills prove very useful for resumes, interviews, and general self-assessments, and (2) the idea that time spent out of work is time to think and exercise, which is a comforting notion to those who have been out of work for a while and are looking for purpose.
Chris Lawson
This book is widely recognized as the top guide to finding a job. Various editions of this book have sold MILLIONS. It is easy to see why. The author has extensive experience in the field, and backs up his ideas with impressive evidence.


♦ Insight into the actual interviewing process--especially the suggested time min/max for your responses. Bolles provides "Conversation Tips" to prepare for. This section alone is worth the price of the book. They are also "Ten Commandm...more
Marti Monroe
I read the 2014 version, so it's a little different from the summary above there. I rated it so low because I didn't really have a need to read this book, other than it was part of my book challenge. I'm not looking for a new job or career or anything so adult-like at this point in my life.

However, it did have some good tips on how to format your resume, and also some great questions to ask during interviews that I wouldn't have thought of on my own. I think if you are having troubles finding a...more
A solid career manual for new seekers of what to look for when you are on the hunt for a job or career change. Nothing earth shattering here -- pretty much common sense but said in down in a logical step-by-step process that helps you think through what you need to do to move forward to be successful. A solid, no nonsense help.
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“So many times you will see people wringing their hands and saying 'I want to know what my mission in life is,' all the while they are cutting people off on the highway, refusing to give time to people, punishing their mate for having hurt their feelings or lying about what they did.” 4 likes
“Always define WHAT you want to do with your life and WHAT you have to offer to the world, in terms of your favorite talents/gifts/skills-not in terms of a job-title.” 4 likes
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