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Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist
By Steve Litt 

This book is now out of print and cannot be ordered.

Order Rapid Learning For The 21st Century Instead.

Book Cover Price: $39.00 

Availability: Usually shipped within 48 hours of receipt of check and order form.

Paperback, Staple Bound, 312 pages, 111,000 words

ISBN 0-9724825-0-4

Don't buy this book if:

  • You believe the job market is a meritocracy, with the most able and productive getting the job.

  • You've always been treated fairly by current, past, and prospective employers.

  • You're willing to trust your livelihood to the judgement of HR people and headhunters.

  • You believe your competition in the job market is being completely truthful in their resumes and interviews.

  • You believe that putting a good "spin" on your resume is dishonest

  • You aren't willing to assume the risks that come with putting the best possible spin on your resume.

  • You're the kind of person who takes risks, but then when things go wrong you sue. This book has a very clear disclaimer.

  • You don't read 9 year old books. This book was written in 1999.

  • You're an employer looking to train your employees in Rapid Learning.

If any of the preceding criteria apply to you, this is the wrong book. Instead, you need to order Rapid Learning for the 21st Century.

Whew! That was quite a screening process, wasn't it. If you got this far, you just might be a candidate for "Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist". This book is made for the technologist who's mad as hell, and isn't going to take it any more:

  • You're disgusted seeing people with half your drive and ability getting the high paying jobs.

  • You know you're a lot better than your years times acronyms indicate, but you're tired of explaining that to HR drones and fast talking headhunters.

  • Yes, you were unemployed for a few months, a couple years ago. So what? You don't think this makes you deserving of a lifetime of underemployment.

  • It seems that on every prospective position, you're lacking one skill out of the ten they demand, and you get screened for it. You could have learned that skill in a few days, but they just don't care.

  • Pundits and politicians cry out that no American is willing to do the job, and nobody listens when you stand up and say "I will!"

  • You've had your fill of responding to no-job job ads whose real purpose is to prove no American qualifies for the job, so they can hire cheap foreigners

  • In order to collect your rightful severance package, you've had to sign an agreement not to sue, and you've had to train your cheap foreign replacement.

  • You were worked 60 to 80 hours a week for years, and then thrown away like a tin can the minute the economy went sour.

  • Employers seem enthusiastic until they see your gray hair. Or your dark skin. Or that you're a female of childbearing age.

  • You believe that prospective employers and headhunters deserve no more of a break than they've given you!

Are you angry yet? If not, this book isn't for you. Go ahead and order Rapid Learning for the 21st Century. If you're angry, and you're willing to do something about it, and you're willing to take the necessary risks, and the responsibility for those risks, keep reading...

Don't get mad, get even! If employers, prospective employers and headhunters have ridden you hard and put you to bed wet, get even! If competitors for the same jobs you wanted cheated you by telling big, whopping lies, and not delivering on those lies, get even! For every hour you wasted filling out an application they knew darn well wasn't backed by a job, get even! For every HR dummy who screened you for not having 10 years of C#, get even! For every "job fair" where the recruiter looked straight through you, walked right past you, and began chatting with someone younger, or whiter, or more male, get even!

My dad, a ninja salesman, had this saying: "The best way to get even with a customer is to sell him!" In the context of the job market, the best way to get even with all these clowns is to get them to hire you, for good money, by almost any means necessary. That, my friend, is what this book is all about.

Here's how you sell them. You hear about the job, promotion, or other opportunity, and you learn all the required prerequisites. Using Rapid Learning techniques, within 24 hours you learn enough about all of them to discuss them intelligently. So far it's plain old Rapid Learning.

Now, what do you do about your resume? If they want three years of jifty development, and all you have is maybe a week fooling around with it on your own computer, what do you do? With your experience in the job market, you know that leaving jifty off the resume means you never get an interview. What do you do? You know Perl like the back of your hand, you know everything else they need, and it's quite likely you'll be able to out-produce whomever they decide to hire instead of you. You know that with a few days practice, you can make jifty walk and talk, and you're willing to spend nights and weekends getting that practice before you begin the job. But they demand three years of jifty. What do you do? If you believe, as I do, that in competitive times like these the successful candidate has stretched at least a little of the truth, what do you do?

If you decide to put jifty on your resume, this book will show you ways to do it credibly. This book will show you ways to discuss it credibly, with very technical people. This book will show you how to perform as if you've actually had three years of professional jifty. This book shows you how to play it so they'll probably never know, and even if they do, they'll be elated with your work, jifty and non jifty alike.

Bottom line, this book shows you how to get a job in the real job market, not an idealized meritocracy with smart HR people, honest-to-a-fault competitors, and employers who really try to hire American. If you've tried total honesty hoping for a meritocracy, and you got kicked in the teeth for it, this is your book.

But Isn't Truth Stretching Dishonest?

Sure it is. Not as dishonest as the wild whoppers many of your competitors are telling. Not as dishonest as no-job job postings designed to prove no American is ready, willing and able to do the work. Not as dishonest as telling you they've found a candidate with a better skillset, when what they've really found is a 30 year old white male. Not as dishonest as telling you that your years of 60 hour weeks are appreciated, and then laying you off. But yes, it's dishonest.

The question before you is this: How many extra months of joblessness, how many thousands of dollars reduction in salary, how many indignities are you willing to suffer to achieve that last 5% of total honesty? If you answer the way I think you will, this book will show you how.

But Isn't Truth Stretching Unethical?

Philosophers, ethicists and lay people alike come down on both sides of this question. I'll give you my take on it...

In a world of 100% honest jobseekers and employers, along with headhunters and HR people intelligent enough to pick the best candidate, truth stretching would be unethical. In a true employment meritocracy, it would be unethical. Wouldn't that be nice!

Ours is a world of highly qualified unemployed people, robbed of their jobs by lying, inept competitors hired by incompetent HR people. In today's ultra-competitive job market, the winning candidate will have stretched the truth to at least some degree. Very possibly, told some huge whoppers. Many successful candidates perform miserably after giving the interviewer a song and dance. In such a world, I'm not going to get on my high horse and tell you to endure yet more months of unemployment so you can be fair to your dishonest competitors and true to uncaring and bungling employers.

My personal belief is that truth stretching is ethical if and only if you subsequently perform as if you really did have the experience you claimed in your resume and interviews. This book shows you how to do that.

But Isn't Truth Stretching Risky?

You bet it is! Not a month goes by when the nightly news doesn't report a disgraced employee fired for lying on his resume. When that happens, the employee is sometimes blackballed from the whole industry. It can be a career crushing disaster.

What you don't hear on the nightly news is the fate of honest-to-a-fault jobseekers whose every resume and interview meets with rejection. You don't hear of their knowledge growing stale, and having to either attend school to brush up on their skills, or wait for the next hiring boom (and those are getting rarer these days, aren't they), or go into a whole different line of work, like restaurant or woodworking.

You have to decide which is riskier -- stretching the truth a little bit and hoping you don't get caught, or being 100% honest and hoping an 18 month unemployment doesn't render you unfit for further technological work.

This book doesn't guarantee you won't get caught. As a matter of fact, there's a disclaimer on the copyright page. If you refuse to risk getting caught, don't buy this book.

About This Book

This book isn't for everyone. It's written for technologists, and is of little value to the non-techncal. It's also not for those with time to spend learning the material in "the school of hard knocks". This 310 page book targets those needing to learn new technology quickly.

This book (call it Rapid Learning for short) is written exclusively for three groups of technologists:

  1. The busy technologist whose livelihood, career quality and quality of life require quick mastery of the ever quickening rush of new technology.
  2. The technologist pigeonholed into a legacy, non-marketable or low salary technology, needing to quickly catch up.
  3. The unemployed or underemployed technologist or future technologist requiring quick technological employment without the time and expense of further training, college or certifications.

Rapid Learning documents the processes, strategies, tactics and techniques, used by top technologists, to learn quickly and profit handsomely from that learning. How they consistently get in on the ground floor of their chosen technologies, and how they choose the right technologies. You'll learn why learning and work can no longer be separated, and you'll learn over 100 pages worth of career integration strategies, tactics and techniques used by the most successful technologists. 

If what you've been doing has been keeping you employed and happy, keep doing what you're doing. If you want a change, and you're willing to work, risk, and accept responsibilities for those risks, then order this book!

At this point you may wish to view the Rapid Learning Flowchart or the book's table of contents. Each contains links to return to this point.



The Rapid Learning Flowchart

The following flowchart describes the Rapid Learning Process (minus career integration). Over 100 pages of this book elaborate on this flowchart. You can click here to go back to the book description.


Table of Contents

Here is the table of contents for Rapid Learning: Secret Weapon of the Successful Technologist. Part I is a 27 page introduction discussing the technological and business changes making Rapid Learning a required skill. It thoroughly discusses why it is no longer practical to separate learning from working. 

Part II takes you step by step through the Rapid Learning Flowchart (above), while part III discusses the finer points of web research (research is a step on the flowchart). Chapter 10 is a detailed coverage of the Universal Troubleshooting Process from the Rapid Learning point of view. 100 pages of material is devoted to elaboration of the Rapid Learning Flowchart.

Part IV is 133 pages of vital information on how to (and how not to) combine work with learning. Much of the career advice in Part IV is very different from what you see in popular press career guides. If you've been disappointed by those career guides, you may be very pleasantly surprised by the information in Part IV.

Part V is 42 pages of information for those wishing to take Rapid Learning to the next level, or to use it in tricky or unusual situations. Below, for your review, is the table of contents. You can click here to go back to the book description

Part I: Rapid Learning And The Technologist Paycheck                1
  Chapter 1: The Secret Weapon Of Successful Technologists          2
  Chapter 2: How We Measure Our Success                             6
  Chapter 3: What's Wrong With Traditional Learning Methods?       16
  Chapter 4: Rapid Learning: Relieve The Pressure And 
                 Boost The Paycheck                                22
Part II: Using Rapid Learning                                      28
  Chapter 5: Rapid Learning Process Overview                       29
  Chapter 6: Building Your Terminology Glossary                    35
  Chapter 7: Finding And Using Terminology Sources                 40
  Chapter 8: Terminology Diagramming For Complete Understanding    48
  Chapter 9: Increments and Proofs of Concept                      56
  Chapter 10: Troubleshooting                                      63
  Chapter 11: Research                                             87
  Chapter 12: Review and Documentation                             91
  Chapter 13: Example: Linux Web App                               94
Part III: Information Mining on The Internet                      100
  Chapter 14: The Internet As An Information Source               101
  Chapter 15: Rapid Research Using The  Web                       109
  Chapter 16: Using Newsgroups, Forums And Mailing Lists          117
  Chapter 17: Copyright Issues On The Net                         127
Part IV: Rapid Learning/ Career Integration                       134
  Chapter 18: Why Career Integration Is Vital                     135
  Chapter 19: Secrets Employers Don't Want Us To Know             141
  Chapter 20: Secrets We Don't Want Employers To Know             148
  Chapter 21: The Rapid Learning/Career Integrated Process        151
  Chapter 22: Ethics                                              158
  Chapter 23: Facts Tell, Stories Sell                            162
  Chapter 24: Using Terminology To Build Career Success           168
  Chapter 25: Opening Doors With Business Ownership               176
  Chapter 26: Networking: Opportunities And Pitfalls              184
  Chapter 27: User Groups: Gold Mines In Minefields               193
  Chapter 28: Career Superchargers: Publishing And Speaking       199
  Chapter 29: Your Website: The Ultimate Portfolio                210
  Chapter 30: Open Source Software: Another Great Portfolio Piece 223
  Chapter 31: Job Searching Online                                232
  Chapter 32: Info-Trolling On The Job Search Trail               246
  Chapter 33: Overcoming Discrimination                           251
  Chapter 34: Advanced Career Techniques                          259
  Chapter 35: Your Hired!                                         265
Part V: Advanced Rapid Learning                                   268
  Chapter 36: The Rapid Learning Classroom                        269
  Chapter 37: Stealth Rapid Learning for Employees and Consultants294
  Chapter 38: Rapid Learning and Certifications                   303
  Chapter 39: Rapid Learning For Technology Managers              307
Note: These page numbers may change *slightly* in final document preparation.


This book cannot be shipped outside of the US, so please do not order it if your shipping address is outside the US.