Many career books aren’t worth the paper they’re written on, but Fail Fast, Fail Often is good. (It’s also helpful for business owners.) The theme of Fail Fast, Fail Often is that change begins with small steps. Whether you’re starting a business or embarking on a new career, begin with the smallest, least costly action you can think of. Then take another action. This advice makes sense. I’ve seen clients paralyzed by all the steps they must take for a career change or even a promotion. Don’t let a day pass without having fun (p 14). When I’ve made this suggestion to clients, I find they resist. It seems so fluffy and, well, coach-y. The truth is you will reap rewards in all aspects of your life as soon as you begin making time to do something you totally enjoy. Psychological studies show that people in good moods enhance their decision-making ability as well as their analytical skills. Go for it! “Don’t marry a job before your first date!” (p 53). I’ve seen people doing this – and I’ve done it myself. We hear about a new career field and we talk ourselves out of it before we even begin to investigate. We assume the jobs won’t pay anything, or they have requirements we don’t meet, or they require too much travel. Sometimes our assumptions turn out to be right, but it’s worth investigating what “everybody” knows. Career matching is silly (p 54). Yes! I’ve been saying this for years. As the authors say, career matching – i.e., taking tests to figure out what career is best or you – “is based on the assumption that people and careers can be characterized by specific sets of features that can be matched with one another.” “Lean planning is smart planning” (p 57). “Get going with the smallest investment.” (p. 67) What is the minimum you need to make or create to test an idea? Build on your strengths (p 92.) Use your current contacts and associations to get the information and introductions you need to get started. “Overcome analysis paralysis” (p 121). “The advice people give us is sometimes more about what they want than what is best for you.” (p. 130). This observation is offered as an aside to a story about how one author made a decision to accept a new position, but I see this type of misplaced advice often (and experienced it myself). I particularly like the case study of Emma (beginning on page 94), a forty-something woman who was laid off from her job. Emma had always loved photography and had pursued photography as a hobby. She had equipment, tech skills and talent. Emma hired one of the authors to coach her through her transition to a photography business. Initially she planned a fine art photography business. She wanted to develop an online portfolio with 100 or so photos. Her coach persuaded her to put up a fast website with just a few of her best photos; she could always add more. He further challenged her to get something up fast. She got a site up in two weeks. Next Emma began volunteering her services for commercial photography so she could build her portfolio. Again, she started small. She took photos for local retail stores. She photographed friends’ weddings and graduations. She joined a local business group. Along the way, Emma discovered she liked commercial photography, which brings in revenue while she works on some fine art projects that she hopes to place in galleries. She’s making progress slowly but she can see “wins” and enjoy the feeling of success in the early stages. This story serves as a model of realistic career change – starting small, taking small steps faster, and being open to new ways of moving to your goal. I just wish the authors had more examples of mid-life, mid-career executives and professionals who changed careers and found new lives. Fail Fast, Fail Often seems to be targeting younger career changers. If you’re a mid-life career changer, you’ll need to adapt some of the strategies. Going to vet school in your thirties isn’t the same as going to a professional school in your forties and fifties.” On the other hand, you probably have skills you can leverage to do the things you really want to do. Additionally, it is important to realize that talents and skills don’t always translate to a new career, especially if you want to be hired instead of starting your own venture. Often employers look for specific evidence that you have specific experience. So … what do you want to do? And what can you do now?