Book by Paul Gray & David Drew
Review by Derrick Gunter
Achieving College Excellence
Loyola University Chicago
Authors, Paul Gray and David E. Drew’s (2012) text is a well written, excellent read, that is insightful for those who are in the process of starting their academic career. From the start to finish, they provide the reader with a lot of useful tips to help one be more savvy and keen as an academic.
Readers should enjoy this book because it is well organized and structured. Additionally, the chapters and hints are laid out in a way that is easy and pleasurable to read. The authors do a good job of describing terms and breaking larger concepts into smaller sections or over several tips to allow for the reader to get a better grasp of the overall ideas put forth. They also write in a clear, concise and, more importantly, a direct manner. In essence, Gray and Drew do not try to stump you, nor do they try to act as if they are leading experts. Rather, they sincerely convey their thoughts based upon their experiences as professors.
This text could be used for one’s own personal and professional development. According to our academic backgrounds and as professionals who work in a university setting, we have, and had, access to a number of resources professionally and educationally. It could be easy for someone to assume that based upon these two notions, that persons such as ourselves would have a significant understanding of what it takes to complete a PhD and pursue a career as a faculty member, which may not be the case. That said, the topics covered in this book are essential and useful because they walk you through several stages of what it takes to have a successful academic career, such as ways to complete your dissertation and effectively publish to working through your first job search and colleague relations.
Moreover, their usage of the appendixes is notable. It is easy to say that if you would like to learn more about a concept, the appendixes add just a little more value to the text and provide more information instead of serving as a short reference guide, which some can be. Consequently, one could comfortably find a few things that they didn’t already know, such as ways to increase your financial earnings, writing hints and ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle during your career as a faculty member (which is another topic not often discussed).
The authors, sum up their text well, “In this book, we are frank, cynical when necessary, and hard-nosed. We provide you with the best career advice we can,” (Gray and Drew, 2012, p. 191), which I feel they did. Often, authors of books that focus on professional growth and development tend to have a slight undertone or purpose to their text. Gray and Drew do an exceptional job of being objective and sharing several sides of the academic lifestyle. That said, if you are considering a career in the professoriate or currently in a PhD program, and would like a few helpful hints please consider reading this text.
What They didn’t Teach You in Graduate School: 299 Helpful Hints for Success in Your Academic Career. (2012). Book by Paul Gray & David Drew. Review by Derrick Gunter. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing. 226pp., $17.95, (paperback), ISBN # 978-1-57922-644-2