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Lucht's Book Delivers Helpful Advice Overall
on 22 June 1999
"Rites of Passage" provides an insider's advice on how to navigate through the often uncertain waters of job-changing at the executive level. It should be distinctly understood that the book is intended for higher-level executives -- much of the advice in the book is unsuitable for lower and mid management career changes. I especially liked the well-developed idea that an executive should avoid being presented to a company with a price tag on her head (the recruiter's fee), and should attempt to make herself known directly, without "representation". This is a novel idea that makes sense after you read the book, and this one idea alone is worth the read.
Lucht details an effective plan to go directly to company decision makers for the top jobs. The plan is not presented as a faddish, magic wand technique, but as a no-nonsense "elbow grease" way to get noticed.
There are some problems with the book. First, job changing at all levels is in flux these days, largely because of -- you guessed it -- the Internet. You get the idea that Mr. Lucht was caught off guard by this new big thing. He devotes only a couple of pages, stuck disjointedly in the middle of the book, to online recruitment and job-posting, and nothing at all to how technology will affect the industry.
I would have preferred a more thorough going-over of the world of contingency recruiters, but since they find jobs for lower level managers, Mr. Lucht gives the contingency recruiters a light touch.
The book is odd typographically. For some reason, text in parenthesis is in a font that appears to be several sizes smaller than the regular text, giving the reader the impression that the typesetter just discovered font menus in Microsoft Word. The text often switches between bold and regular and italic, sometimes on the same page. My eyeballs at times were crying "enough already!"
Overall, however, I would recommend the book because it contains some powerful ideas, along with an understanding of the motivations and limitations of executive recruiters. "Rites of Passage" leaves you with the impression that you just got good advice on executive job hunting from a distinguished uncle, without having to feed him dinner.