Maybe I’m just in a “valley” today as I write this, but I’m afraid I can only offer a lukewarm recommendation of the latest career-related book I’ve read — Peaks & Valleys — which is the newest installment from Spencer Johnson, the best-selling author of The One-Minute Manager, The Gift, and Who Moved My Cheese?

Is it that I’m getting burnt out on the genre of “life lesson” advice packaged in short, allegorical, fairy-tale form?  Is it that we’ve all heard this same basic advice (i.e. “we all have good days and bad days; that’s life”) many times before?  Is it because I spent $20 on a book that literally took me less than 30 minutes to read?

I’m not sure what the reasons are, exactly, but this book isn’t one that I think will stick with me as much, emotionally, as several other books I’ve read on the same subject — or even any of Mr. Johnson’s earlier works.  Ironically, though, P&V is the book of his that’s arguably the most relevant to members of the Career Horizons community, since it directly deals with the subject of career transition and discusses the experience of going through various setbacks and successes in the course of one’s working life.  So in that sense, despite my own personal feelings about it, I WOULD recommend this book strongly to anybody who has gone through a recent layoff or found themselves in a bit of a funk with regards to their career future.

Among the various nuggets the author passes along in Peaks & Valleys is the idea that “the pain you experience in the valley (of a career or life setback) can wake you up to a truth you have been ignoring” about yourself.  And to those people going through tough times, he suggests that they “Relax, knowing the valleys end.  Do the opposite of what put you in the Valley.  Get outside of yourself.  Be of more service at work and more loving in life.  Uncover the good that is hidden in a bad time and use it to your advantage.”  Quoted in isolation, these statements may sound a bit silly or shopworn.  When you weave them into the context and storyline of the book, however, they definitely make you think about times in your life that you’ve faced adversity — and how you might have dealt with such times more appropriately and productively.

As for the price tag, well, I guess I’d rather pay $20 for a short book that contains a few pearls of wisdom versus a long book that doesn’t say anything all that meaningful.  But if you’re interested in adding this title to your library, it might be wise to track down a used copy via the web or your local second-hand bookstore.  For example, I spotted a copy on currently selling for $3.08 plus shipping…