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Book Review - Grad School Rulz: Everything You Need to Know about Academia From Admissions to Tenure, by Fabio Rojas

This book is different than other books about postgraduate education for two reasons -- the format and the tone. Unlike the hard copy books we've previously reviewed, this is an eBook; a worthwhile change now that so many readers are using the Kindle, the Tablet, or a similar eReader. In regard to the tone, Fabio Rojas is direct and detailed with the advice and information he provides in Grad School Rulz: Everything You Need to Know about Academia from Admissions to Tenure. This is a departure from some of the more humorous books we've recently reviewed, but the serious style of Grad School Rulz is not without merit.

Some readers may be familiar with Fabio Rojas from the blog Grad School Rulz found on orgtheory.net. Holding a Ph.D. in sociology, Fabio is currently an associate professor at Indiana University, and in addition to this eBook he has numerous other publications. You can read his full bio here. One intriguing aspect in his personal bio is that he's an avid jazz fan; ironic, considering that his book is anything but improvised.

The 59 chapters in the table of contents immediately give cause for your eyebrows to raise; however, upon closer inspection it's evident that the chapters are concise compilations of information that is critical to the success of any doctoral student. The author makes no secret that his audience is first and foremost doctoral students, and he reminds the reader that he's providing insight from his personal experience in his field of study. That being said, all the advice within the book is applicable to students on various tracks, studying different disciplines. As Fabio explains, "I trust that you will be resourceful enough to adjust the advice for your own situation."

Although numerous, the chapters are a short and manageable; but this doesn't mean that the book is a quick read. The amount of detail, and the fact that one may have to apply said detail to his/her own specific field of study, requires the book to be read carefully. Information is often organized in lists that resemble class notes, or an outline for a paper. This is extremely helpful, as it would be a tedious read if the pages were full of bulky paragraphs camouflaging helpful hints -- it would be a shame to overlook some of the nuances that are discussed, namely the intricate processes of getting published and securing tenure.

There are several chapters dedicated to the publishing process, and the steps one must take on the path to tenure; however, the strength of the book is that it is straightforward. Fabio uses clear language and gets right to the point, take for example his analysis of teaching as Ph.D. student -- "Don't teach in graduate school unless you are targeting the liberal arts college market or it's a requirement for the degree or financial aid." I'd say that Fabio's advice is pretty clear-cut. Again, there is a great deal of information packed into this eBook, but the straightforward tone ensures that the reader is not overwhelmed or confused.

If you are a doctoral student and you have $2.00 (yes, only two bucks!), I recommend that you download this eBook. The book covers a wide array of topics, but the author walks us along the Ph.D. path in a delicate manner; Fabio is careful in how he presents the subject matter, and the reader benefits from his attention to detail. This eBook could serve as a helpful guide that students could continually reference at different stages of their academic career.

Grad School Rulz: Everything You Need to Know About Academia from Admissions to Tenure by Fabio Rojas

Published by Smashwords (October 1, 2011)

129 pages

Filesize: 163.63 KB

eBook ISBN: 9781466090125