Rules for Success in Academia

What if, at the very beginning of your career, somebody handed you a book with all the covert rules of your field in it?

Well, ‘Psychology 101 1/2: The Unspoken Rules for Success in Academia does exactly what it says in the title. This book by Robert J. Sternberg is somewhat of a self help book with all the things that you should know about the field of research for people who are starting their career in academics or are already in it from quite some time.

As the name suggests, or not, the book has a hundred-and-one rules (and a bonus rule) or ‘words of wisdom’ by Dr. Sternberg which stem from his personal experience and observations in the world of academia and research. This straightforward piece of writing is direct advice from the writer for you to have a less painful of a career in research and academics. From chapters titled ‘Don’t believe things just because other people do’ to ‘Getting it in writing’ to ‘Don’t bad-mouth people behind their backs,’ the book covers pretty much everything you might experience during the course of your academic journey, or in any career for that matter.

That said, the book can go in two directions for you. Either you might agree and appreciate most of his advice and keep his words in mind, or you might find them similar to the things that you already know or have heard from other wise people in your life. But the possibility of disliking his work is slim. No matter how obvious some of the chapters might sound, there are things in this book which you always wanted someone to remind you of, time and again.

Considering the challenges that might come up with a career in research and the difficulties that we always hear of from the people who have already been through the process, this book can be an ultimate collection of all the advice that you will ever get, jotted down in one book.

To sum it up, for beginners, it is a must read; just for heads up. As a beginner myself, and predicting most of the course of this field based on what I have heard from people, it is pretty much going to be like the way it says in this book. If down the line, I find myself in similar dilemmas as mentioned in the book, I would not hesitate revisiting it for some sane advice.  For people who are already in this field or are experts in their field of study, this book might be a funny reminder of their experiences; perhaps a journey down the memory lane.

Overall, this book is almost the perfect literature to read before you aboard this ship. Bon Voyage, fellow travelers!

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