Why “What Color is Your Parachute” More Important 47 Years Later


The Social Syndicate review Parachute 2018

I first became acquainted with “What Color is Your Parachute” when I managed a Borders bookstore in West Los Angeles. This “Parachute” book used to fly off the shelves and we were always running out of stock on the title. Years later, when Borders bit the dust, and the world went through the 2008 recession, I found myself in need of Richard N. Bolles book and discovered what all the fuss was about. It helped me through a tough time in an overcrowded and treacherous job market. When the recession hit, many Americans found themselves pulling the proverbial ripcord and realized they didn’t pack a chute. But Bolles kept our heads up and taught job seekers and career changers to think outside the ineffectual internet job search and job boards that everyone else was on. The traditional job search no longer worked and the “parachute” way got us thinking in a new direction. Remember that back in 1972 when his book first hit the shelves it was already a game changer, and since then it has never been out of print and continues to be a bestseller and is updated yearly. The 2018 version does include some new insights, but retains the majority of what made “Parachute” a classic.

There are myriad books on job seeking, resume building, career counseling, etc. but Bolles book remains the only one in this genre that has soul and doesn’t just help with job searching, but more importantly with soul searching. Bolles boldly included the God factor into the job search, being a man of faith. If you’ve been in dire straits, as I have, Bolles is right when he states: “unemployment, particularly in this brutal economy, gives us a chance to contemplate why we are here on earth, and what our Calling, Vocation, or Mission is, for each of us.”

Richard N. Bolles was a good soul and helped a lot of people and readers through a very difficult time in their lives He passed away last year, but wanted to keep the “Parachute” legacy alive. I am glad to see “What Color is Your Parachute?” live on and understand why this particular book is more important 47 years later. The job market is getting tougher, and the way we work is changing. For many, Google is your new resume, and employers are speaking a different language post recession. This practical manual will never go out of style because Bolles spoke universal truths, and as Robert Schuller once said, “Tough times don’t last, tough people do.”