Summary of What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

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8 Overall

8 Applicability

7 Innovation

9 Style


Tina Seelig, executive director of the Stanford Technology Ventures Program, offers an engaging perspective on making the shift from college to your career path with grace and finesse. Using her unique understanding as a neuroscientist working in innovation and entrepreneurship, she provides tips on how to unlock your creativity and achieve your goals – at work and in life. Much of what Seelig writes resonates as common sense, but she presents her ideas dynamically, with examples from Stanford University and Silicon Valley to emphasize and illustrate her points. She offers advice for those just starting their careers and for those seeking to reinvigorate them – by heading in new directions and adopting fresh points of view.

In this summary, you will learn

  • How the collaborative nature of the business world differs from the competitive environment of the educational system;
  • How problems at work can turn into opportunities to enhance your reputation and solve new problems; and
  • How failure can be an asset in developing your life and career.

About the Author

Tina Seelig, PhD, teaches entrepreneurship and innovation in the Stanford Technology Ventures Program (STVP).



School’s Out

Starting your career in the business world can be a change from your college experience. You need to make adjustments – some subtle and others that require you to think in different ways. Being prepared for these shifts and developing the ability to make the necessary leaps are important steps. To build a successful, fulfilling career, see your world in fresh ways, take on challenges and learn from both success and failure.

Problems Can Be Opportunities

Make a fundamental break with the way the education system presents the world. In school, you often must find a right answer, especially in test situations. The world outside the classroom presents many more choices, which can be daunting at times. Your school grades were based on a bell curve which makes an environment competitive: One person winning means someone else loses. In a company, the goal is for the entire organization to prosper and that requires people to work together.

The education system teaches you to avoid problems. Instead...

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