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BOOK REVIEW – Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level


by Julia Lebedeva

Joel A. Garfinkle, Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level (Hoboken, N.J.: Wiley, c2011)
This book focuses on three of the four building blocks of success – perception, visibility and influence (PVI). The use of three items is connected to the title, Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. Performance is not included, being one of the most highlighted topics in other publications. Developing perception, visibility and influence is an option and choice to which most professionals give little conscious attention. Working to increase PVI is more complex than going to business school and working towards an MBA because it is less structured. Getting Ahead is written as the step-by-step PVI model instructions that will ensure your future career success. PVI is not a degree, but should be taken as seriously as an MBA, PhD and other degrees, since mastering these factors are so important for career advancement. There are, however, several reasons why PVI is considered optional: it is not a part of any job description, and there will not be any direct payment for this work. In many cases, working on PVI may be confrontational and challenging. It can take individuals outside their comfort zones, and it involves risk taking. It takes a lot of courage and confidence to create an ideal PVI state. This book gives the PVI concept a structure. Reading this book leads to the start of making the commitment to implement as many of the ideas, concepts, tips, suggestions and insights shared by the author as possible. You also become a true believer in the concept. This resource is as motivational as it is instructional. We all are familiar with the classical theories of motivation as being conceptual: ERG Theory, McClelland’s Theory of Needs, Goal Setting Theory, Reinforcement Theory, Equity Theory of Motivation, Expectancy Theory of Motivation. This book is an additional practical tool to support these theories.

At a certain stage in your professional life, you’ll be working with the best. Everyone will be as good as or better than you. It becomes more difficult to gain the recognition and promotions you deserve. The three easy steps of implementing the PVI model is the solution to this problem. Let’s have a closer look at what PVI stands for:

  • Perception is the assumptions people make about us, and it is very difficult to change this. You need to learn how to build and protect your image. The author talks about protecting your online image as well, and gives great tips for creating a positive online image. One of these tips is check your own name on the Internet to see what content is there about you.


  • Visibility is addressed from a very interesting angle. It is tailored for different types of personalities. People come from diverse backgrounds: different families, genders, races, classes, and cultures. The book instructs how to be visible and be true to yourself. The author portrays two types of dysfunctional dynamics at the office. Advice to not be one of these types is of great value. We often want to hide behind the job done well and wait to be “noticed”. We also notice people who are promoted to the level of their total incompetency, the “Peter principle”. The book offers good advice on how to not be visible as one of these two extremes, either unseen or being seen as above your level.


  • Influence is the ability to alter or change a situation. It could mean swaying just one other person or a large group. You influence the outcome of something by improving it, and you make important decisions that have impact. The book gives a good step by step approach for improving influence.


The author is in general true to his three-step approach throughout the whole book and his three steps to self-marketing techniques are very practical. The book is well structured with easy to follow, easy to memorize actions. The book develops dynamically and is full of action, increasing your confidence as you read. You want to try doing it yourself. Readers are motivated to try the steps in their own lives. You learn how to wrap your projects into a perfect presentation, and develop excellent self-marketing skills. It is an intriguing, dynamic book. The techniques are useful for professionals at all stages of their career development. Modern challenges for women did not escape the author’s attention. He dedicated an entire chapter to this topic.

The Olympics of 2012 were going on while I was reading the book and writing this article. Through the book I felt a connection to events in the Olympics, since many success stories were about athletes. Every four years, Olympic athletes compete and achieve incredible feats that make us remember them. The lesson is to be memorable.

A lot of real-life success stories are capsuled into the texture of the book and make it believable, reliable and interesting. The most compelling success story was about the Sony PlayStation, which is a vivid drama that is a story within a story.

Putting the PVI Model into action is to live in “follow your reality” vs. “follow your dream”, while acknowledging the importance of your dreams. By following your reality you get to follow your dreams.

The book contains references to useful resources including the author’s blog, Twitter, and newsletter. You’ll gain articles, tips and quotes from industry leaders. There are free articles that provide practical, “how-to” information and insights to help you become an effective leader and boost your career success. There are more than 80 free articles on executive leadership and 200+ free articles on career transitions and dream jobs. The book is available from any Canadian library as an eBook for all kinds of devices and can be read free. It is also available at Safari Books Online. This is a very green, ecologically friendly alternative to a traditional printed book.

The author, Joel Garfinkle, is recognized as one of the top 50 coaches in North America. The companies he worked for include Google, Amazon, Hewlett-Packard, Gap, Starbucks, Deloitte, Cisco Systems, Oracle, Bank of America, Citibank, Microsoft and many more. Joel is the author of seven books and more than 300 articles on leadership, executive presence, getting ahead at work, career transitions, and work fulfillment. He is regularly featured in the national media, ABC News and theNew York Times.



80+ free articles on executive leadership, 200+ free articles on career transitions and dream

Fulfillment@Work E-mail Newsletter:


Julia Lebedeva has a Bachelor’s degree in linguistics and education, and had worked on various international projects funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) supporting employment across the region as well as promoting improving social cohesion and economic well-being before coming to Canada in 2000.

In Canada, she continued her career in project administration in various non-profit and government offices, including the United Nations Association in Canada. Julia also works
as an interpreter in the Russian and Belarusian languages for the Immigration and Refugee Board. Julia is currently working towards a Diploma in Career and Work Counselling at George Brown College. She did a practicum at CERIC from June to August 2012.


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