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Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  437 ratings  ·  31 reviews
From the creator of the popular Success Course at the Wharton School of Business
Finding your own true measure of success begins with two essential questions: Who am I? What will I do with my life? The answers can’t come from the outside. You have to search your heart and engage these questions honestly to discover insights that go far beyond conventional notions of fame
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published August 15th 2013 by Portfolio (first published August 13th 2013)
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Average rating 3.98  · 
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Jono Smith
Sep 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
The whole genre of career success literature and trendy business books usually leaves me rushing back to fiction, but I found Springboard to be a very thoughtful, common sense guide to defining success, assessing your unique skills, and getting on a path to finding meaningful work. Perhaps because the author did not start his academic career until he was 37 and spent most of his 20s unemployed, the book has a refreshing honesty and credibility that most "business books" lack. I'd highly recommen ...more
Ying Ying
Reading this book by Prof. Shell made me feel as if I were back in his classroom, this time learning about personal success. Prof. Shell always offers great stories and invites us to think about important and life-defining topics like nobody else can. In this book, he invites us to define what our own personal success means and how we could reach it. Starting from Chapter one and ending with his last sentence, I kept on discovering new aspects about myself. For anyone exploring the path forward, ...more
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Richard Shell literally teaches the course on success at Wharton, so who better than he to write the book? His 2013 effort, "Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success," is an even-handed, well-researched, and thoroughly humanistic book about defining and finding success…on your own terms. “If you allow others to define your goals for you,” Shell warns, “then there is a pretty good chance you will end up holding a prize you did not choose and do not want.”

"Springboard" is a surprisi
Soundview Executive Book Summaries
Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success by G. Richard Shell was chosen by Soundview Executive Book Summaries as one of the Top 30 Business Books of 2014.


There are far too many business books in today’s market that encourage (or even order) you to abandon your current position and follow your dream. The majority of these books are high on philosophy and low on practicality. As Wharton School professor G. Richard Shell suggests in his book Springboard: Launchin
Oct 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shell's 'Springboard' successfully gives you a foundation to understand what is important to you and how to move toward being more happy.

Please don't shy away from it in fear that it might be just a trite self-help book. Far from it. In fact, if anything, it leans in the opposite direction -- challenging and academically thorough, it at times seems an erudite taxonomy -- but it consistently sets you down a path of thinking promising for insights on how to get your life together.

I recommend it -
JY Tan
May 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is the most thoughtful book on success I have read. It has very smooth progression and flow, critical and reasonable about conventional notions of success, cites and interprets scientific literature correctly, highly interesting stories, and actually full of pragmatic exercises and principles. The whole reading process actually feels like a live conversation with a real professor.
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was ok
Perhaps I just didn't come across this one at the right time. Too many words for what the author had to say.
Jul 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read mostly during my commutes to work. Shell starts the book writing about his own past and the real (gritty) details of his 20s of travelling. I almost stopped reading it - it's interesting but it didn't become gripping until the subsequent chapters. Definitely glad I kept reading: this book resonates with my current journey changing careers to become a teacher and how "professors are able to create, not just follow, their passions".

Favourite quotes:

"I learned that success is not a place."

Dec 31, 2017 rated it liked it
I am a firm believer that "begun is half done." This book provides the 'begun.' It is like every other self-help, self-motivation book in terms of speaking to wants and desires. But it is superior to many in that it offers workable and concise outlines of how to get organized, how to refine goals, and how to keep going when you "donwanna." The time it takes to get ready will not exhaust all the available time to devote to the goals.

A perfect book for the new year.
Jan 19, 2018 rated it liked it
I appreciated this book a lot, but I think a lot of the perspective the author offers comes from a place of incredible privilege, and I would have appreciated a wider variety of voices when referencing human examples...or examples of literature. read as: there were a lot of white dudes in this book.
May 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent guide to determine your personal definition of success

The author leads readers on a guided tour of personal discovery through this book. If used fully, this book serves as a guide, workbook, and journal to explore success. It had me asking hard questions about how I personally define success and has already helped me shape the life I want to lead.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The best part of this book is really the Six Lives Exercise and is the most thought-provoking part.

The rest is the usual "how to find yourself" - though I did like that there were exercises at every part of the book.

3.5 stars - I think this is among the better business books for "finding success/finding yourself".
Aug 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No matter where you are in your career, this is an excellent book to help you figure out what your best life looks like. Success often means a high salary with a fancy title, but in this book, Shell challenges you to expand your definition of success. Highly recommend this to anyone who is looking at either a career change or just to delve deeper into self-understanding.
May 27, 2019 rated it really liked it
This book had a lot of good info in it and I was really hopeful it would help me figure out what to do next with my life. It got really close. But it missed. Even so, as far as self-help goes, it was pretty good.
An Nisaa Gettar
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
my faves part of this book are topics about momentary happiness and meaningful work. a complete review hopefully will be posted on my Tumblr site soon.
Smijo Simon
Feb 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Liked part 1
Hari Kumar
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Rating solely because the author is my professor, but I didn’t want to seem like too much of a kiss-ass
Sylvia Lo
May 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
A good read. Author was so humble and genuine. A good exploration of what success is to you and some tips on how to find it.
Dec 02, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shell provides an insightful look into the drivers of success. He suggests that readers look inward, channel their passions and competencies into meaningful work, and seek sources of confidence to inspire them toward a holistic, successful life. I read this book with interest as Shell referenced work from psychology, sociology, and the classics to augment his arguments. The book also highlights the importance of goal-setting and following up with successful implementation. Overall, I recommend t ...more
James Barr
Apr 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
This book is the product of many years of carful thought and teaching on the subject of success. It is well worth the read. The bood addresses two questions: (1) What is success? (2) How do you achieve success? It truely provides a springboard toward success for younger people who have not yet learned the foundational lessons in this book, and it provides a reminder and encouragement to older people to live life with purpose and energy.
Nov 01, 2013 rated it really liked it
This was a very thought-provoking and inspirational book. I'm not big on self-help type books, and prefer that they be filled with lots of stories that both elucidate and inspire, and this did not disappoint. I'm sure it's no substitute for the course, but it certainly got me thinking!
Willis Roberts
Jul 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing
May have opened more doors than I realize right at this moment. EXTENSIVE research and experience placed in the book, if you want to take advantage of time you feel you've been wasting, read this book! Thank you Richard Shell
Oct 25, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
like What Color is Your Parachute with a bit more philosophy
Nov 12, 2013 rated it really liked it
Thought-provoking. Slowed down about 3/4 in but finished well. Overall a good read.
Del Gilbert
Dec 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
Good solid read with more depth than the average success book. Well rounded and researched. Not put in a particularly compelling way but I would recommend it.
Apr 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
Even if you're in a career you like, I would recommend reading this one! It gives you lots to think about in terms of how you view success as well as ways to help you improve. Well worth the time!
Jul 18, 2014 rated it really liked it
Repetitive, but good advice and a well presented walkthrough of how to approach success and happiness with references to philosophy and Eastern viewpoints.
Nov 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The book has a lot of valuable advice Of course, it would be more valuable to take his success course.
Danny Rodriguez
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Thoughtful, common sense guide to defining success, understand your unique skills, and getting on a path to finding meaningful work/life. A good candidate to read again.
Apr 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: career
Read 1st 1/2 of book. Inspiring the search of purpose instead of job titles etc. Impt to know your own goals and priorities more than chasing a "dream job/vocation".
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G. Richard Shell is the Thomas Gerrity Professor of Legal Studies, Business Ethics, and Management at the Wharton School of Business. His latest book, Springboard: Launching Your Personal Search for Success (Penguin/Portfolio 2013), was named Business Book of Year for 2013 by the largest business bookseller in the United Sates, 800CEOREAD. He is the Director of Wharton’s Executive Negotiation Work ...more

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