Major in Success Book Report

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The book ‘Major in Success’ by Patrick Combs is essentially a self-help book for college

and life. Along with providing many real life success examples, Combs does a good job in

anticipating the arguments against his ideas and answers them. ‘Major in Success’ has some

great advice as well as some major flaws. The ‘aim for the stars’ mentality is good in fairy tales,

but in today’s cut throat job market, job searching individuals have to pull out all the stops.

Combs does not go into depth about his own success, nor does he really describe situations

surrounding an ordinary students success. Overall, a lot of the advice Combs illustrates comes

from a good place and is relative, and although useful for some, may be completely improbable

for others.

Combs coins the term ‘extraordinary drive’ (3) and explains that the difference between

mediocrity and greatness is not family or intelligence it’s this inner drive. Combs explains in this

book a well know, but not always followed, philosophy that we should do what we want to do,

not what is expected, standard, or necessarily safe. This is something I agree with to an extent.

I do believe that if one really does thoroughly enjoy what they do and they ‘discover their best,’

(7) then they will be more happy and efficient in their professional and personal lives. However,

in an economy like this it may not be economically possible or responsible for everyone to do


only what they want to do. This advice is good, but not always practical.

The statement that ‘your choice in major doesn’t dictate what careers you’ll be able

to enjoy’ (16) is a statement in which I agree, with some implementations. I think that what

ones degree is in is a good deciding factor for an employer’s decision on which person to hire,

in that they want to make sure that the person they hire has some pre-existing knowledge in

the field. Since each job is different, and many of the knowledge needed for a job is acquired

in-house, there is flexibility in each degree, but some preliminary knowledge is vital. With

some experience from my sister, who acquired a degree in photography and now works in

advertising, and my father who is a dean at a well respected college, many employers do not

look at what your degree is in, just that you have a degree.

‘Be true to your heart,’ and solely picking a job that offers the most ‘enjoyment,

satisfaction, and learning (26), not money and/or benefits is good, but not very realistic job

solution advice. Although money should not be the sole factor in choosing a job, it has to be

a main one. For me it’s about finding a balance in doing what I enjoy, and earning what is

acceptable. If I have to compromise and maybe take a job that I may not thoroughly enjoy but

pays enough to feed my family, it would be insensible to not take it, at least for the time being.

The ‘six big fears’ (39) and the ‘five prescriptions for fear’ (40) is good advice and

excellent self motivators as well. All of the fears, from the fear of poverty to the fear of

failure, are all fears that I have now and have regarding my future. The prescriptions are good

advice to help aid these doubts and illustrate the epitome of self-help. My only quarrel is

that I wish Combs wrote more about real life examples from ordinary people and how these


prescriptions ‘cured’ their fears.

The chapter on studying abroad, ‘Great Escapes,’ does a good job in explaining the

benefits of working abroad, and how to go about it. Combs does however fail to mention

the cons and troubles that can go along with working in another country other than one’s

own. Chapters 9, 15, and 20 offer good advices on lines for ones resume, how to do research

on jobs/industries, advice for interviews, and how to conduct an interview plan. One major

disagreement I have with chapter 9 is how this chapter puts a high emphasis...
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