I had the pleasure of interviewing Richard Nelson Bolles, author of the #1 brand in the job search / career management genre on Friday, May 13, 2011. The 40th edition of What Color is Your Parachute? will be released August 15th and, at age 84, Dick is redoing the entire book.

The man and his affair with “Parachute”

I began the interview by asking the question, “Dick; you have had a 40-year love affair with Parachute.  Can you tell us some of the highlights of your  affair over the past 40 years?”  Dick is anything but shy, and he wittingly responded, “I didn’t ‘have’ a love affair with Parachute; I’m ‘still’ having one!”

The classiest brand in the job search / employment industry

What Color Is Your Parachute? is, unquestionably, the best-selling job-hunting and career-changing book in the world. The book has sold over 10 million copies since Ten Speed Press began publishing it back in 1972.  Dick was proud to tell me that today, more than 20,000 books are sold every month.  Not only is Parachute the #1 brand in its class, but Dick is the classiest brand in the job search / employment industry.

A little history on the brand / man himself

Dick grew up in Teaneck, New Jersey and now lives in San Francisco with his wife Marciana.  He graduated from a little known school in Massachusetts called Harvard University with a degree in Physics.  Dick attended the General Theological Seminary (Episcopal) in New York City and graduated with a Master’s Degree in the New Testament.  He was a Fellow and Tutor at the Seminary and then served churches throughout New Jersey.  When members of the church were let go due to budget restraints, (“they didn’t use the work downsizing at that time,” Dick reminded me), he researched what little was available on the subject of job hunting and, in 1968, wrote a 160 page manuscript on how to land a job.  He humorously entitled his work, What Color is your Parachute? and self published it in 1970.  Two years later, Ten Speed Press gave him an offer he couldn’t refuse – to publish Parachute providing Dick total control over every aspect of the book – from  content, to layout, to final say over every aspect of his work.

One of 25 books named that has shaped reader’s lives

Since 1975, Parachute has been revised and updated annually, often times almost start-to-finish.  The book has been translated into 14 different languages worldwide; though Dick informed me that it will soon be published in Polish – the 15th language.  What Color is your Parachute? has been on the New York Times Best-Seller list 288 weeks, and The Library of Congress, in 1996, named Parachute as one of 25 books that have best shaped reader’s lives.  In 2006, Dick was the recipient of the National Samaritan Award, joining other prestigious individuals including Peter Drucker, Norman Vincent Peale, Betty Ford, and Sir John Templeton.

Survival job hunting in the NEW workplace

Dick said that he is completely revamping / rewriting Parachute to meet the job hunt needs of the new global workplace.  He told me that the future will be difficult, and that job hunters will have to go into “survival mode.”  In the 40th edition of What Color is your Parachute? Dick will introduce many new and updated strategies, tools, and methodologies for conducting a successful job hunt. One of the key sections will be The Five Steps to Survival Job Hunting:  The five steps include:

1)  Attitude

2) Get better at finding jobs that exist

3) Create jobs through entrepreneurial endeavors

4) Take an honest self inventory and discovery what you love to do

5) “Each one teach one.”  A philosophy where more people will need to master and teach the skill of survival job hunting

The 40th Edition of What Color is Your Parachute? comes out August 15th.

It’s a world-class brand that should be read and kept in plain sight in all our libraries.  For the full hour interview go to: http://www.byoaudio.com/website_audio/WYmjZ0Ds


Jay Block is an industry pioneer and the nation’s leading motivational career coach.  Jay is a best-selling author of 15 books, including his latest blockbuster: 101 Best Ways To Land a Job in Troubled Times (McGraw-Hill).  He has a 20-year record of success for creating and recreating the career management industry. His website is: www.jayblock.com