VOYA - Colleen HarrisThe Career Skills Library is a unique entry to the career education field. Eight volumes, identical in length and format, are not tied to any one career field. Instead, each title discusses one skill that is necessary in all careers: Teamwork, Communication, Organization, Leadership Skills, Problem-Solving, Self-Development, Learning the Ropes, and Information Management. It is very obvious that the publisher and editors studied and analyzed the demographics of the intended audience-high school students and young people starting out in entry-level jobs. The layout is crisp, with short paragraphs, numerous cartoons, boxes, quizzes, pictures, lists, and factoids. I almost thought I was reading a high interest young adult magazine rather than a nonfiction book. Included are examples and quotes from well-known people in all walks of life, from Sam Walton to Gertrude Stein. The underlying principles used in presenting the topics are from the standard practitioners in the fields of business and psychology. The writing is fairly consistent, and has been well edited. However, in some volumes, such as Self-Development, it is a little didactic, with stern warnings about being on time for work and dressing properly; but with some teens, you cannot overly emphasize these work skills. All of the examples and stories relate directly to teens, and all technical jargon has been replaced with simpler terms (almost too simple in some cases). The volume entitled Information Management is a good example of tight editing and focused goals. Mackall did his research in knowing that students do not need to know how to use a computer. Instead, they need to know how to manage a bombardment of information and apply critical thinking skills to using that data for time management and making presentations. The chapter headings, such as "How to Become a Picky Eater at the Information Buffet"; the quotes, "Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense" (Gertrude Stein, 1874-1946); and real life examples, such as Chris, who learned to organize his baseball cards as a kid and applied those skills as a junior stockbroker, are all woven together to make a single point. The author does remind the reader that libraries have many resources that need to be consulted to form a total picture of the research topic. The book concludes with presentations skills and the correct use of graphics. The weakest volume in the series is Self-Development. The information on personality styles is also in the book on teamwork and since numerous models exist, it would have been nice to see the topic approached from a different, but similar, viewpoint. For instance, the Mok-Bledsoe model also uses four personality styles, but applies them directly to work-related situations. The approach to the topic is the same as other volumes-short paragraphs of information, quizzes, factoids, etc.,-but it allows the reader fewer choices. Dos and don'ts are clearly spelled out with no discussion or room for subtle variations. Also, some topics seem too simplistic, such as "Tips for the office luncheon"-"Don't eat with your mouth full." The seemingly innocuous quiz "How Nice Are You?" evoked a spirited conversation in my library with some surprising answers. A more in-depth follow-up of the quiz would have made the application to customer service clearer. I searched for another series that covered the same topics on a young adult level, and did not find anything from VGM or Petersen's. Rosen's Self-Esteem Library and Lifeskills Library have similar topics, but they are not covered in an in-depth manner or are not career-related. The goal for the media specialist who purchases the Career Skills Library would be to get the guidance counselors and/or teachers to integrate the information with their curriculum. The topics are up-to-date, including sexual harassment, and would generate thought-provoking discussions from teens. Glossary. Index. Illus. Photos. Charts. Biblio. Note: This review was written and published to address two titles: Self-Development and Information Management. VOYA Codes: 4Q 3P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Will appeal with pushing, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9 and Senior High-defined as grades 10 to 12).
Write a Review
and post it to your social network
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews >