Book Review: Effective Immediately by Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg

Effective Immediately: How to Fit In, Stand Out and Move Up at Your First Real Job
Authors: Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg
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Even though I recently hit my one year anniversary at my first real out of college job, for some reason, this book appealed to me anyway and I decided to pick it up. I really enjoy career books, and figured that even though this information is targeted at very new grads and professionals, the advice in the book could really apply to anyone looking to be better in their careers. And after finishing the book, I can say that this statement is 100 percent true. While this book was written for new pros, any professional can certainly use a refresher.

A very quick read, EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY is broken into several 1-2 page chapters with bits and pieces of advice. Much of the book is in bullet or number form, so the book is a very easy and manageable read. Plus, it’s good to take the advice in small doses, especially if you were planning on keeping the book at your desk and work and reading a page here and there when you felt like you needed inspiration or advice. Because the book is broken down the way it is, you could easily flip to a page and learn just as much as if you read the book cover to cover. Though I’d recommend reading the book cover to cover to get the full effect and take away the most valuable advice.

While some of the advice just felt like common sense to me (though much of business really is just common sense, right?), a reminder here and there never hurts. However, while I loved most of the advice in the book, I also just downright disagreed with some of  it.  There were several tips in the book that just seemed like sucking up to me… and that’s never good. Also, while I get that it’s always better to err on the side of ultra-professionalism, much of the advice in the book seemed extremely conservative and overly formal to me, especially depending on your work environment. Readers should absorb the advice in the book and then pare it down to best apply to their own work environment and culture.

Even though I didn’t agree with all of the advice in the book, there were several chapters that I whole-heartedly agreed with. One chapter advises blocking an hour a day on your calendar to shut down your email, let calls go to voicemail and just knock work out. Apparently, according to the book, the average employee is interrupted every six minutes. With constant emails and phone calls, it’s easy to see how your day can easily slip away while spending the day reacting to each of those demands. Just a few weeks ago, I had a speech to write that I really needed to just knock out in the matter of a few hours, so I did exactly what the book advised. I blocked two hours on my calendar, shut off my email, locked myself in a conference room behind closed doors, and banged the speech out. I was amazed at how much work I was really able to get done without interruption. I like the idea of setting aside one hour a day to get things done. I plan on trying this tip out very soon.

Another tip that really resonated with me was “do feared things first.” This short chapter discusses how important it is to get those assignments that you dread out of the way first thing in the morning, even if they are the most difficult items on your to-do list that day. I definitely find myself doing easy things like replying to email and taking care of other small items in the morning, while putting off some of the more difficult tasks. However, I’ve realized that it’s always better to tackle that big challenge early in the day, and this book definitely reinforced that idea.

If you’re a recent college grad or even still in college and embarking on a new internship, I’d highly recommend this book to you. I debated whether or not to post this review on the blog, but we all have careers, right? Or we’re all working toward a career. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY absolutely provides readers with the tools they need to succeed in their first job and beyond.

4/5

Comments

  1. As someone working her way into the professional world, I always find books like this to be helpful. I think you are right in saying that a lot of professional etiquette is common sense or something that you figure out as you work in a certain workplace. However, there is always something you could do differently to improve your work environment and help you go further in your own professional development. I loved the tip that you shared about blocking off a piece of your day for uninterrupted work. It is amazing how much you can do without distractions!

Trackbacks

  1. […] say a quick hello to author Emily Bennington (who by the way, wrote a fantastic career book called Effective Immediately) after her combined session with a high-profile former editor-in-chief of a prestigious magazine, I […]

  2. […] won’t be able to evaluate your work yet. As Emily Bennington and Skip Lineberg, authors of Effective Immediately, put it, you’ll instead “be judged on some very visible, basic parameters,” such […]