The Highlands Company Blog

The 6 Most Important Rules For a Successful Career

Book Review and Podcast Interview with Daniel Pink, author of The Adventures of Johnny Bunko – The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, art by Rob Ten Pas, Riverhead Books, Penguin Group publishers 2008.

Have you followed all the career success rules? You went to a good school, worked hard and joined a good company, yet you are still not fulfilled? This week’s podcast is with New York Times best-selling authors Daniel Pink and Rob Ten Pas who are the winners of TOKYOPOP’s annual Rising Stars of Manga Competition. Daniel and Rob are the creators of Johnny Bunko – The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need. This is America’s first business book created in the Japanese comic format known as manga.

My 11-year-old son, who has never read one of my business books, picked up Daniel’s book and read it from cover to cover. At age 11 he figured out what he wanted to do with his career (well maybe that is a bit exaggerated). I also like the fact, like any great book, the answers are on the last page.

Johnny Bunko is very similar to a lot of people. His story is universal. In fact, the book is currently being translated into a number of languages for different markets around the world. The premise is that Johnny followed the universal rules on how to manage his career.

Listen to parents – Check. Listen to teachers – Check. Get a good education- Check. Hired at good company- Check. Work hard – Check.

Yet, he is stuck in his career. Now what?

Now the true universal part of the story, Johnny meets a girl. Diana is a very interesting career coach. “She is part Cameron Diaz part Barbara Eden,” Dan said. Diana has been hanging around offices for years observing some professionals succeed and seeing others totally flop. She shares with Johnny, 6 essential lessons to help him get unstuck and get on the right track in his career and his life.

1. There is no plan.
Diana advice: “It’s nice to believe that you can map out every step ahead of time and end up where you want, but that’s a fantasy – the world changes.”

2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
Diana’s advice: “What do you do consistently well that creates flow and gives you energy?”

3. It’s not about you.
Diana’s advice: “Of course you matter, but the most successful people improve their own lives by improving others’ lives.”

4. Persistence trumps talent.
Diana’s advice: “The world is littered with talented people who didn’t persist. The more you persist, the more likely you are to succeed.”

5. Make excellent mistakes.
Diana’s advice: “The most successful people make spectacular, huge, honking mistakes. They are trying to do something big.”

6. Leave an imprint.
Diana’s advice: “When you get older you will ask, did I make a difference? Did I contribute something? Did my being here matter?”

I have a question for you. If Diana was hanging around your office, what would she say to you about where you are in your career? I think the real reason that Dan wrote this book is expressed through a comment from Diana, “So that you will not screw up your career and your life” – that is the bottom line.

Ja mata, along the road with you!

Listen to Alan Kearn’s podcast, CareerJoy Conversations: Interview with Daniel Pink – New York Times best selling author of The Adventures of Johnny Bunko- The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need.

Listen to the Podcast-