Do What You Want on Wall Street (★★★★☆)



Geoff Blades  *  Wall Street Teach  *  November 6, 2015  *  380 Pages


Geoff Blades worked on Wall Street for a long while, eventually making his way up the chain to become a VP at Goldman Sachs. After living through the negative effects of two major economic downturns, though, he began to question what he wanted from life. Eventually he quit his job and, after many years of reading and research, he became a career coach.
Do What You Want on Wall Street is essentially a comprehensive manual for developing your career, and Blades’s main point is that you have to be intentional about your choices from the start. You need to define what you want in your career, develop a process for getting it, and then build yourself into the person who can achieve it. He offers a five-step system for accomplishing this.

Some of the tips I appreciated most from this book:

  • You don’t need to know exactly what you want from your job at first; you just need to know the general direction you want to go.
  • Spend 10 minutes telling yourself the story of your life every morning–where you are going and – how you are going to get where you want to go.
  • Know the “character” of who you need to be to get what you want out of meeting, negotiation, or other interaction.
  • Commit to the path in front of you, but always be considering your options.
  • In other words, don’t wait for change to happen to you. Always be on the offensive, looking for ways to move and advance in your career.
  • Always be developing your SELF. Read, meditate, grow.

And there is so much more information and advice in here. Most of it is insightful and helpful, and I think people currently working (or planning on working) on Wall Street will benefit from reading it.

I will say, though, that the book can be exhausting in its comprehensiveness. There are principles within principles within steps within chapters. It goes on and on. The information is organized, yes, but there are so many sub-points (even within sub-points) that it can be hard to follow and absorb. The planning and executing sections (Steps 3 and 4 in Blades’s five-step system) are insanely detailed and dense. For those two sections, especially, you really have to go slowly, take notes, and reread.

Certainly, needing to study a book is not a negative thing in and of itself! But I still maintain that the presentation would have been stronger, overall, if Blades had trimmed down his ideas a little. Instead of including every single bit of career advice that he gives his clients, Blades could have argued a few really strong, really clear points (and perhaps saved the rest for later books). At the very least, I would have appreciated being given the option to dig deeper or stay light (like, for example, how What Color Is Your Parachute puts the extensive personality/career test at the very end of the book, as an optional exercise to complete or not).

Regardless, there is no denying that Blades makes good points and offers helpful advice. I think most will find this book helpful. I definitely learned a lot.

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