4 out of 4 stars
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In A Lawyer’s Guide to Creating a Life, Not Just a Living, a non-fiction book, Paula Black addresses some of the challenges, obstacles, and myths lawyers face in their careers. The author is an experienced coach who explains and illustrates “ten bedrock principles” for lawyers “to advance in the profession without sacrificing their personal lives.” Interviews with twenty-two lawyers and four experts are transcribed and analyzed by Black throughout the book, with takeaways at the end of each chapter. The book is a short, inspiring compilation of true stories meant to instigate readers to reflect on their careers.
The author investigates and discusses the experiences of seasoned men and women who have overcome various obstacles and found their true callings. The interviews are numerous and diverse. Black talks to judges, lawyers, strategists, and professors of different genders, ages, nationalities, and ethnicities. These individuals' backgrounds may be different, but their narratives have a common element – they share the dream of simultaneously attaining a happier life and a successful, balanced career.
I particularly enjoyed Candice Duff’s interview and remarks. I admired her career journey as an African American attorney, published novelist, and book writing coach. I also thought it was a great idea to bring up a discussion about retirement. I enjoyed the insights of Cathy Pareto, an independent registered investment adviser, on the subject. I also liked to see the interviewees’ pictures – it was nice to see the human face behind each life story. I felt as if I were actually talking to each person.
The way the author weaves a personal dialogue with the reader makes the book a fast, easy read. The direct language and recommendations make it a motivational handbook, distinguishing it from the garden-variety self-help titles. I believe it can be a useful tool for everyone, especially law students and professionals. The author comes across as a well-meaning person, as well as experienced and passionate about the principles she presents in an enthusiastic and organized manner.
Lastly, I rate the book 4 out of 4 stars. I found no negative aspects to mention. It is well edited, with just a few minor errors. I believe it will appeal to readers who are interested in career coaching, particularly law students or lawyers. I’m sure there will be a couple of takeaways for each reader, regardless of their profession or career path. Readers who don’t value self-help titles might not like it as much.
A Lawyer's Guide to Creating a Life, Not Just a Living
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