I have a new book. Buy it now.

I know I said I’d never do another book. But I’m good at admitting when I change my mind.

Here’s how that happened.

Melissa was worrying that her life was going to end because she was quitting finance to be a nanny. She was worried that she was ruining her career, and that she was not cut out to navigate adult life, and that she was not living up to her potential.

I was trying to be a good listener, but my talents lie more in being bossy. So I said, when she got to the living up to her potential part, “That is ridiculous. The idea of living up to one’s potential is such BS. Read my post about that.”

“You always tell me ‘read my post about that’.”

“It’s because I’m sick of people telling me they hate to feel lost. Being lost is an amazing opportunity to define yourself. Being lost is so interesting.”

“Do you think it’s interesting that I spend every day in my pink Juicy suit?”

“Yeah. If it doesn’t smell.”

It sort of does smell, but we are easy going about that on the farm. Then I said, “Wait—I have to tell you something—”


“Read my post about how being lost is good.”

“Shut up.”

But she reads all my posts anyway. When I have fights with the Farmer I tell him I wish he’d spend all day talking to me like Melissa does. He tells me that he does not have a hero worship complex like she does and that I cannot get along with anyone who doesn’t worship me.

Is that true? I think, if I ever change the poll on my sidebar, it will say, “Does Penelope have trouble getting along with people who do not worship her? Yes or No”

The farmer and Melissa and I spend a week together eating lunches. The farmer eats like a 17-year-old boy who has not seen food in three days. Melissa and I eat like Asperger girls who were never told that we have to look normal at the table. So, picture this:

The farmer is eating two steaks, two baked potatoes, and five chocolate chip cookies. This varies slightly, but not by calorie count or carbohydrate/fat ratio.

Melissa is eating peas and pasta. This is all she eats. I do not have a post to encourage her to eat a more diverse diet because all I eat is PowerBars.

So there we are, and every day we are talking about how Melissa does not need to do a soul search because she is doing fine, but she does not feel fine.

So I decide to put together a book of posts for Melissa about how to keep her career on track.

I divide the book into sections:

  • How to be lost and still feel good about yourself
  • How to find a great job over and over again
  • The secret to feeling confident making career decisions
  • The key to making yourself happy
  • The best method for creating a safety net for yourself

These are all topics Melissa and I talk about, but I wanted her to have something to hold.

I do that instead of doing things I should be doing like remembering to take the farmer’s cookies out of the oven.

I show Melissa the book while the farmer eats burnt cookies.

But while she is looking through it, I take it back. I decide the book is ugly. I want the book to be something she takes out every time she needs a self-confidence boost and she reads one or two pages. I want the book to be beautiful and sit by her bedside, or in her living room.

So I look online for how to self-publish a book with a great binding and pages that are nice to hold. I find a publisher of hipster, linen-bound books, with gold leaf, and I decide the self-publishing industry is amazing.

But then I see that to publish my one single, book will be about $2000. And I have to save my money for when I start a new company and run out of money and have to not be completely unstable financially because the farmer does not like crazy instability. I have done that before. He read about it—in a post.

No thousand-dollar books.

But now I have a new idea. If this is a good book for Melissa it must be a good book for a lot of you. After all, I write all the stuff I learn as I learn it, and the book is full of the knowledge that helped me craft a career that I love — over and over again.

I can’t do the project alone, but I can do it with you. If we all buy copies of the book then we can have a beautiful and inspiring book to keep or to give to friends. It’ll be called “For the Soul Searcher” and it’ll look like the book at the top of the post.

The book is be $25 — no tax, free shipping, and I’ll sign and number all the books. But you can only buy the book for the next week. Because I have to know how many we are ordering.

Note to my brothers: you guys put up with so much on this blog, so you don’t have to buy a copy—I will buy them for you.

To everyone else: Click below to buy the book via PayPal. And thank you.





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  1. ann eichenberger
    ann eichenberger says:

    I don’t want a bound book. What about PDF version?

    $25 is too high. You might get more issues sold if you reduced the price. Did you do a competitive analysis of similar books before you set the price?

    • Chris M.
      Chris M. says:

      Hmm… A friend of mine wrote an ebook (PDF version only), for a very small niche, and is selling a good deal of books at this exact price (I posted the link in my signature). Granted, all money is going to charity, but still, copies are being sold every day even without the support of a huge blog like Penelope’s.

      So I’d say the price is not high at all, and I bet Penelope will sell a lot of copies.

  2. amanda
    amanda says:

    I look forward to receiving your new book :) This is a great publishing model– remember to tell Seth Godin that your book is a fine rival to his Amazon imprint.
    I love your statement “Being lost is an amazing opportunity to define yourself” — this is absolutely true yet if you are jobhunting/transitioning and folks get the sense that your job hunt is related to an identity crisis.. the kind of help you get is like “well what do you want to do with your life, what’s your plan” — come on, obviously the plan went to hell when we got fired. Plus by implying that trying new stuff out makes you seem scattered doesn’t help you learn the tools to understand how to talk about failure, without which you’ll be hardpressed to succeed in an interview.
    thanks P for all you do! You keep us strong.

  3. Sharon Carl
    Sharon Carl says:

    I bought your book. I have a son with Aspergers, so I read your blog with interest. I would also buy an eBook if you make one available (I could even help you with that).

  4. Harriet May
    Harriet May says:

    I can’t believe how many people have already complained about this. “$25 is too high.” “I can’t deal with physical books anymore.” Whatever. I want a Penelope Trunk book, because I worship her. Which means that we’d get along great.

    Also, I only eat Luna Bars, so I’d fit right in at the lunch table.

  5. Maureen
    Maureen says:

    Example A of how computers are not easy for me… the ‘paypal’ button is not clickable… it’s just a picture for me.

    I want to buy the book… is there another link?


    • Penelope Trunk
      Penelope Trunk says:

      Oh. I am sure having a lot of problems with that button! Is it the button on my blog that doesn’t work? Can you click the button on this page if you scroll up?


      • Maureen
        Maureen says:

        Figured it out and ordered it! Really looking forward to it and I hope all is well on the farm today.

  6. Brian C Brandes
    Brian C Brandes says:

    Since you’ve said it’s “a book of posts,” aside from your name scribbled in script and a fancy number, is there going to be anything else included in this book that wouldn’t be available by merely browsing your archives?

  7. Lindsay Lennox
    Lindsay Lennox says:

    1. I second Brian’s comment above – will there be new content?

    2. Even if there is, I’m not sure I could purchase a book with the title you’ve selected, because if I gave it to any of my more ‘lost’ friends they would not read it, ever. They would assume it was one of those Chicken Soup for the Soul-type motivational books.

  8. Erin A.
    Erin A. says:

    Some commenters are whiny. Boo-hoo. You do not have to buy it. I on the other hand really want it and think its an awesome idea. This book looks way better than anything on Blurb…

  9. Erin A.
    Erin A. says:

    Also I use reader and the button on the new post doesn’t work, you might want to edit and just tell people to go to the regular web address. Or you could just not say anything because if they can’t figure that out they are just plain stupid.

  10. S. Miller
    S. Miller says:

    Thank you for the post about living up to your potential. It is one that I really needed to read. Yesterday, I was at work trying to figure out the answer to something when I started researching the author of the book that I was reading. She is my age and seems so much more competent in her career, and I felt like I hadn’t lived up to my potential.

    I am surprised by all the criticism in the comments on this of all posts. I think $25 is about how much you would pay for a first run edition of a hardback book, but I think Brian made a good point about it all being content you have posted here before. He did not consider the value of how you have organized these posts. I think that it would be nice if the book was a little less expensive, but I don’t think that the price is completely out there.

  11. Colin Bodell
    Colin Bodell says:

    Bought my copy. While I would like the option of an Kindle version, I value and treasure the feel of hard copy; showing my age I guess. Also, electronic copies are tough to sign!

    Penelope – for funding such endeavors you can always use kickstarter.com — I contributed to the “Designing Obama” book which turned out amazingly well!

  12. Steven Grant
    Steven Grant says:

    I put my order in.

    I have been reading your work for so long I feel like we are old pals.

    And people: Sometimes the more you pay the more it’s worth. It’s not a book, it’s a celebration of a lifetime of work.

  13. Amal
    Amal says:

    I bought this without hesitation, I think your posts are shocking and searing and I look forward to reading them. Thank you for creating what you create everyday, despite how hard it can be.

  14. Melissa Breau
    Melissa Breau says:

    For future reference, PT, if you had wanted to you could have created a “magazine” instead for much less money (see: cloudmag.com) and probably have made an equally beautiful publication. :-)

    • Yvette
      Yvette says:

      It’s really: MagCloud.com, and looks interesting.

      Also, self-publishing is a fascinating topic…!

  15. B
    B says:

    Great idea! Even though I can always look on the site, I still very much appreciate my copy of BRAZEN CAREERIST, with most of the direct jobseeking and on-the-job-related posts in one book. Would be great to have the same thing for the “soul-searching” posts.

  16. Laya
    Laya says:

    So, I’m wavering about buying it, because I’ve done that so. many. times.

    I like you. I like your blog. I don’t always like your opinions, but I like that your opinions challenge my view of the world, which is much, much cooler (to me anyway).

    But so many times I’ve bought the book or product or what have you of someone online who I like, who promises their advice will be the something to make me feel a little less uncertain about my life.

    I buy it, I read it, and…I’m still the same person, in the same place.

    And don’t get me wrong – the fault of that is totally my own. I mean, if I get the advice but don’t do anything with it, then it’s my fault, right?

    So what motivation do I have to spend yet another $25 when I can’t even promise myself that any of it will really change me? What if I am fundamentally a fuck up, and no $25 book is going to change that?

    • S. Miller
      S. Miller says:

      Laya, you sound like my best friend. She wants to apply for a new job, but the idea of applying terrifies her because it means that she has to write her resume, and she always feels inadequate when she has to do that.

      No amount of begging and pleading, no life coach, no book is going to change that for her. Ultimately, the desire to change and the willingness to overcome the emotional obstacles to do so has to come from within.

      Thinking that you are a fundamental fuck up is a sign that you are being much too hard on yourself.

  17. Gib Wallis
    Gib Wallis says:

    Have you read about Amanda Hocking? She’s a Gen Y who’s taken self publishing to millions of dollars, with eBooks and hard copies.

    It would be cheaper if you bought Melissa a Kindle and a cover and put the book on their for her by a factor of ten.

  18. Mimi
    Mimi says:

    Do you tell women not to go for jobs that involve higher math in this book?

    I *might* read this book as a $4.99 ebook, just to check it out. No way am I going to spend $25 on something that will probably piss me off.

  19. Patrick
    Patrick says:

    As the comments have indicated, you’re missing the part where you bundle your posts into an ebook, sell it for Kindle, and make a killing. As I’m sure you know, Kindle ebooks are hot, hot, hot right now, and the costs to format content for Kindle and have a cover created are minimal. Write a ebook-only bonus chapter to get your blog readers to buy, charge 99 cents, and you’re set.

      • Teri Litorco
        Teri Litorco says:

        Read Carol’s post below. That’s what you’re not getting.
        It’s not just about making this available to the masses – sometimes the friction is what makes things valuable. There’s no such thing as a limited edition e-book for a reason.

  20. Carol
    Carol says:

    Those of you who want a kindle copy can just read back over the posts. I’ve ordered a bound copy because Penelope was my inspiration to start my own blog (mentioned in http://blog.penelopetrunk.com/2008/01/28/quit-work-for-a-while-to-have-kids-your-career-will-be-just-fine/) and the blog has got me all sorts of kudos in my field, and is helping land me another great job when I move country again this summer. So while being a keen kindle reader I’m looking forward to receiving the lovely bound thing, and also being able to say thanks again by submitting my order.

  21. Penelope Trunk
    Penelope Trunk says:

    Hi, everyone. Today has been such a fun day for me. There has literally been at least one book ordered every minute since I posted.

    But the nicest part is the comments on the order form. I didn’t realize you can write a note with your order. The notes have been so incredibly nice and encouraging, and thank you so much. This book is turning out to be exactly the type of community project I was hoping for.


  22. Patti Tuohy
    Patti Tuohy says:

    I have only recently stumbled across your Blog and have been happily reading posts since! I bought the book without hesitation. I cannot wait to read it. Thanks for being you and sharing “you” with us.

  23. A.B.
    A.B. says:

    Alright, I’m back to crushing on you, Penelope. I wavered a bit after your post on unions and the protests in Madison, but with this post you have won me over once again. It speaks directly to what so many of us are challenged by but don’t know how to deal with. Being lost is far more interesting, indeed. I would caution, however, that once you “define yourself” it does not mean that you will never be lost again. You will, of course. So, self-definition is really more of an on-going practice for life rather than a singular event. But anyone who reads your blog already knows this.

  24. Tatiana
    Tatiana says:

    Will it just be a book full of posts? Or will you re-write the information from the posts into a more typical type of book?

  25. Allison
    Allison says:

    Bought the book. Not so much for the book, but because I have easily gotten more than $25 worth of entertainment and advisory value from Penelope’s writing, over the 10 + years I’ve been reading her stuff. Penelope, please, please, please, don’t EVER stop stirring things up, unless unexpected stillness is a provocative move itself. Be well.

  26. James
    James says:

    A few years ago you did a book signing in Tampa. I was all set to go and then I chickened out for some strange reason at the last minute. So I am buying your book and hoping you sign it ” To James, the most interesting person in Tampa that I have never met”

  27. Cranky Geek
    Cranky Geek says:

    You’ve won me over with your transparency and honesty. Look for my order! I love the fact that you are unabashingly you! I got laid off 4 months ago, and reading your columns have helped me not feel sorry for myself but get my thoughts beyond that to whats next for my family! (I’ve been told I’m borderline Aspergers as well and I like that you’ve brought your whole person into your blog)


  28. Molly
    Molly says:

    I’m confused :). I paid through paypal, but where do you get the shipping address from?? I have more than one on my paypal acount and I wasn’t prompted to select one.

    Can’t wait to read it!

    • Molly
      Molly says:

      Oy vey. You would never know I was geek based on that question. I sent you an email with my new address. Sorry for the confusion!

  29. patrick
    patrick says:


    Books are books, and I still like loaning books to friends and family, which is mainly why I bought this book.

  30. Maria Killam
    Maria Killam says:

    Content or no new content, everyone should buy your book in a heart beat!! I have learned so much from reading your blog, even if I never received the book, I’m happy to contribute $25 to you because you are amazing and deep, and bossy and insightful and never afraid to demonstrate over and over again what writing an interesting blog looks like.

    Love your blog Penelope, I hope you sell a gazillion copies. I can’t wait to review this one on my blog!

    ps. Really I just want to be Melissa and come and visit you on the farm.

  31. Ron
    Ron says:

    I bought your book because you said “I have a new book. Buy it now,” because I drank three glasses of wine on an empty stomach, and because I am feeling lost. Be nice to the farmer.

  32. Kathryn C
    Kathryn C says:

    this is kinda like NPR. I listen to them every day and pay nothing so when they ask me to pay, I pay, because otherwise I feel like a moocher who’s getting something really good for free. I’m buying….have easily already gotten my 25 bucks worth from just reading your blog posts. Now that I’m actually paying for something, I can’t imagine how good the book will be! Can’t wait to get it! sounds like it would be a great gift for friends……hopefully we can order more in another batch if we like.

  33. Alice
    Alice says:

    I would like to join the book-buying frenzy, but my Paypal account was hacked and they’re making my life a living hell. I would like to continue boycotting Paypal if at all possible. Are any other forms of payment available?

  34. sarahayars
    sarahayars says:

    I’m ordering one for me and one for my (currently unemployed) sister. One will be for overseas. Let me know if you decide on additional shipping for orders from another continent.

    • Michael Cruse
      Michael Cruse says:

      I agree. I would spend the cash for a Kindle version in a second. I love having all my books with me no matter where I go. Penelope please seriously consider it.

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