Home > Diversification > Professional Diversification for Dummies: 4 Books that Helped Me Turn Inexperiences into Skills

Professional Diversification for Dummies: 4 Books that Helped Me Turn Inexperiences into Skills

GMAT Access Visual Basic VBA Software Project Management Dummies

My last blog, 3 Professional Portfolio Must-Haves, talked about identifying your interests, skills, and inexperiences.  This time, we’re going to look at our inexperiences more in depth.  I’ve found that when I want to know more about a particular subject, I look no further than the …for Dummies series of books.

    1. Excel 2007 VBA Programming for Dummies.

    My addiction to the …for Dummies books started during my junior year of my undergraduate studies.  I was taking a course called Logistics Modeling Methods.  The course was based around using Visual Basic for Applications, within Microsoft Excel, to create simulations to help emulate and solve typical logistics problems.  There were no required textbooks for the course, but we were encouraged to buy a book on VBA to help us throughout the course.  So, I went to Amazon.com, searched for “Visual Basic for Applications,” and sure enough, one of the best-selling, highest rated, and lowest priced books was Excel 2007 VBA Programming for Dummies.  I passed it up, thinking “I’m no dummie.”  So, I ended up buying the 1,700 page VBA book for “Power Programmers.”  After about a week of trying to figure out what I got myself into, I sent the book back and ordered the dummies book.  Best decision I ever made.  I was amazed at how easy to read and overall informative the book was.  And, they throw in a good deal of humor to make the material interesting.

    2. Access 2007 for Dummies.

    I did the same thing in another course I was taking that semester called, Analysis and Design of Logistical Systems, which focused on utilizing Microsoft Access to create an inventory tracking database.  I bought a book called Access 2007: The Missing Manual at the beginning of the semester and found it was just too hard to understand.  Instead of going through the trouble of returning this book, though, I kept it and ordered Access 2007 for Dummies in addition to it.  Again, the dummies book far exceeded my expectations.

    3. GMAT for Dummies.

    After graduating, I decided I wanted to get my MBA, but in order to do that, I had to pass the GMAT.  So, what did I do?  Without thinking twice, I bought GMAT for Dummies!  The book explained the structure of the test and gave examples of all the questions I would expect to see.  It even had two practice tests.  As you can guess, this book helped me pass the GMAT and get into grad school.

    4. Software Project Management Kit for Dummies.

    Just recently, I was asked to work on a project that involved implementing a new piece of software from the operations side of our company.  I knew this was a big opportunity and didn’t want to waste it.  So, I bought Software Project Management Kit for Dummies.  Again, this book exceeded my expectations and outlined step by step what had to happen to successfully implement a new piece of software.

My point here is the …for Dummies series provides a relatively inexpensive and easy to understand way to turn your inexperiences into skills.  As an exercise, look through your list of inexperiences.  Find something you wish you were better at or simply wish you knew more about.  Go to Amazon.com and search for that topic and add …for Dummies (e.g. “stock trading for dummies”) and strongly consider buying it.  Most of these books can be found used on Amazon.com between $4 and $15.  If you haven’t identified your inexperiences, go to Amazon.com and just search for “dummies” in the books category.  Browse the long list of books available and find one that interests you and consider buying it.  Take my word for it, you won’t be disappointed.  And once you’ve read the book, feel free to move that inexperience to the skills section of your portfolio.

Webpage Credit:

Amazon.com: Online Shopping

Amazon.com: Dummies

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  1. February 28, 2011 at 7:17 PM

    Another good post Eric!

    I have also used thes books much to my benefit. In perticular the GMAT and the Access book.

    I think that people tend to be too fixated on textbooks, and should perhaps branch out other books (like this series) for help in their studies.

    I have also had very good success with the Princeton Review books.

    Thanks for another great post!

  2. February 28, 2011 at 7:20 PM

    Thanks Ryan. I appreciate your interest and I’m glad to see these books have helped you.

  3. July 8, 2013 at 6:36 PM

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