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Book Review: The End of Jobs

This book is a must-read for Millenials as technology is threatening traditional jobs, while making entrepreneurship safer and more profitable.

The End of Jobs: Money, Meaning and Freedom Without the 9-to-5, by Taylor Pearson, self-published.

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Taylor Pearson doesn’t do boring. He studied history and Spanish in college and was getting ready to apply to law school. Then on a whim through a Craigslist ad, he found someone who had a friend that ran an English school in Sao Paulo, Brazil. He offered him a job. And Pearson took it. Pearson has a nuanced approach to life which is reflected in his bestselling book, “The End of Jobs,” a riveting take on careers for Millennials.

Pearson graduated from college in 2011, as the world limped back from the 2008 financial Armageddon. Though “The End of Jobs” Pearson gives powerful voice to the skepticism many young people developed — and still feel — about traditional jobs.

“Everyone knows what the lawyer, doctor and accountant life script looks like. It is pretty well laid out how to become a doctor or a lawyer: which classes you need to pass and what scores to get,” writes Pearson.

“What’s the internet entrepreneur equivalent? How can someone break smart, leverage technology to take control of their life? It’s a complex question, one I had spent the past five years trying to figure out for myself. I had travelled to half a dozen countries, read dozens of books, and met with hundred of entrepreneurs trying to understand why it was possible and how to do it. So I started writing about it,” added the author.

The result is “The End of Jobs” which sold tens of thousands of copies, and has been translated into Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Thai.

Pearson’s book describes how our economy is changing and why the old “safe job” model isn’t just unreliable — but downright dangerous. He makes a case that self-employment could offer young people greater security and control over their opportunities than a conventional career path.

“The same technologies and remedies that have increased your competition in the job market have been a boon to entrepreneurs. They’ve dropped start-up costs, opened new markets and created new distribution channels. It’s easier and than ever to make something and tell people about it,” writes Pearson.

Seth Godin, in his now-classic book, “Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?” defines a linchpin as “an individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create and make things happen.”

Pearson borrows Godin’s definition and tweaks it a bit:

“Entrepreneurship is connecting, creating, and inventing systems be they businesses, people, ideas or processes,” writes Pearson.

“A job is the act of following the operating system someone else created.”

In order to inspire his generation, the author channels Steve Jobs who said “Life can be much broader once you discover one simple fact, and that is — everything around you that you call life, was made up by people that were no smarter than you. And you can change it, you can influence it, you can build your own things that other people can use. Once you learn that, you’ll never be the same again.”

The book then guides readers, quite expertly on the hottest trends in entrepreneurship, the new leverage points that define them — and how Millenials can begin to use them to create more money, meaning and freedom in their life, and the lives of those they love.

“The ability individuals have right now to deliberately design their lives and realities is greater than any time in history,” acknowledges Pearson.

“Instead of choosing from a set of available options, we can create our own,” writes Pearson. “Instead of ordering from the menu, we are more empowered than any prior generation to be the cooks.”

Significantly, the author discusses the vital importance of learning new skills — not by paying for them, but by earning them through experience. Pearson underlines that new skills bring new earning opportunities, and new markets to grow for your future.

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Author and entrepreneur Taylor Pearson

At every turn we see the author teaching himself new things, observing the world, absorbing things almost through osmosis as he bounces around from Tennessee to Argentina, Brazil, Vietnam, Thailand, California, and Texas to New York.

He taught English in Brazil, then moved to Cordoba, Argentina and studied at the Social Justice Department. He marched for the rights of Bolivian workers and studied existing social movements and became curious about technology and entrepreneurship.

Then he moved right back to Memphis and cold called several online marketing companies till he winged a job on minimum wage. Just by observing, learning and teaching himself, Pearson made himself indispensable by becoming a skilled digital marketer.

He learnt about search engine optimization, WordPress, and managing customer support on the job. The more he learned, the bigger became his ideas, until using his small cash flow, he bought a software firm as a stepping stone to entrepreneurship.

Parson explains through myriad examples that the costs and risks to entrepreneurism are much, much lower than they were even five years ago. Playing it safe is the new risky. Taylor talks about stair-stepping to entrepreneurship. He notes that we now live in world with China as a manufacturing hub for the world.

He explains that Chinese companies will take purchase orders for $5,000, if you want to sell physical products; the entry barriers are low with the result that new entrepreneurs can experiment, and learn inexpensively.

“The rapid development of technology and globalization has changed the leverage point in accumulating wealth: money, meaning, and freedom,” writes Pearson.

This book is a must-read for Millennials as social and technological inventions of the past one hundred years are creating paradigms shifts in jobs and traditional careers. Pearson is onto something when he says entrepreneurship is safer, more accessible, and more profitable than ever.

Pearson’s book will definitely appeal to Millenials. If past generations dreamed of the prestige and perks that come with a corner office in the executive suite, the dream of the Millennial generation (also known as Generation Y) appears somewhat different. A new survey released by Bentley University suggests that Millennials sense that career success will require them to be more nimble, independent and entrepreneurial than past generations.

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