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The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life

ISBN: 978-1-118-13428-3
208 pages
May 2012, Jossey-Bass
The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life (1118134281) cover image


Evolve your work strategy and thrive in today's high-pressure economy

As Darwin famously observed, the beaks of each generation of Galapagos Island finches change to accommodate shifting food resources, allowing the birds to survive by adapting their capabilities to the new environment. Today's business people should take note: In the post-crisis economy, traditional career strategies spell professional extinction, but the fluid new "gig economy" offers tremendous potential for anyone willing to adapt. Based on her popular blog and drawing on her leadership development experience, Nacie Carson explains what it takes to make it in today's world of work.

  • Outlines and explains five steps for ensuring professional success: adopt a gig mindset; identify your value; cultivate your skills; nurture your social network; and harness your entrepreneurial energy
  • Builds on Carson's experience as a popular blogger on Portfolio.com and author of the popular website The Life Uncommon (thelifeuncommon.net)
  • Features a Foreword from Craigslist founder Craig Newmark

The Finch Effect offers the information professionals need to earn big, achieve their potential, and remain at the top of the work food chain.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Craig Newmark vii

1 Survival of the Fittest 1

2 Adopt a Gig Mindset 27

3 Identify Your Professional Value 57

4 Cultivate Your Skills 89

5 Nurture Your Social Network 115

6 Harness Your Entrepreneurial Energy 141

7 The Finch Effect 171

Notes 183

Acknowledgments 189

About the Author 192

Index 193

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Author Information

Nacie Carson is the director of development services at Cleaver Company, a boutique professional development and consulting firm, where she researches, develops, and helps corporations implement leadership and skill-development programs. Her writings on career development, life balance, and the gig economy are published regularly in Entrepreneurs-Journey.com and Portfolio.com as well as on her popular site, TheLifeUncommon.net. For more information, visit TheFinchEffect.com.

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“Every chapter of this book is worth it, but the last chapter sets the whole thing ablaze. Read this.”
—Chris Brogan, president, Human Business Works; and bestselling author, Trust Agents and Social Media 101

“In this chaotic day and age, merely ‘adapting to change’ is woefully inadequate. In this powerful book, Carson gives us the keys to thriving and succeeding in this and all economies—and that beats adaptation any day.”
—Steve Farber, author, The Radical Leap Re-Energized

“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail. Nacie Carson’s The Finch Effect provides solid ideas and strategies on how to adapt your career in a new professional paradigm through both preparation and action.”
—Carol Roth, business strategist; New York Times bestselling author, The Entrepreneur Equation

“Unless you’ve been living in a cave with no access to the internet, you no doubt have witnessed our world being turned on its head. The business environment no longer favors people looking for security, loyalty, and certainly not a pension. The Finch Effect sheds light on what traits allow people to thrive in today’s economic environment, how to adapt these traits, and how to evolve faster to prepare for the next big shift!”
—John Haydon, founder, Inbound Zombie; author, Facebook Marketing for Dummies

“Nacie Carson brings a fresh mindset and solid experience to show us how to win again in times of vocational Darwinism and the ‘gig economy.’ Her ability to distill ideas and support them with situations and stories we all recognize makes The Finch Effect a crucial tool for taking back control of our businesses, our careers, and our lives.”
—Liz Strauss, social business strategist; author, Successful-Blog

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Press Release

May 07, 2012
Evolve Your Career Strategies to Thrive in Today's Economy

What do birds and career success have to do with each other? Everything, according to career expert Nacie Carson, author of the The Finch Effect: The Five Strategies to Adapt and Thrive in Your Working Life (Jossey-Bass; 978-1-118-13428-3; e-book available; May 2012).

A deterioration of the traditional 9-to-5 workforce has turned the job market into daily proof that Charles Darwin's theory of the survival of the fittest extends to our professional lives.  With more people in the workforce than ever before--and the global economy changing the needs of businesses in every industry--those wishing to climb up the career ladder are faced with the frightening reality that they need to evolve their strategies or risk extinction. And they need to do it now.

In The Finch Effect, career expert Nacie Carson shares a strategy, the "finch effect," that allows professionals at any stage of their career to flourish in the professional market of tomorrow. The "finch effect" was inspired by Darwin's finches, the resourceful birds that Darwin encountered on the Galapagos Islands and that, by rapidly adapting their beaks within a few generations to accommodate changes in their food source, thrived unchallenged while their competition slowly died off.  The finches' survival skills informed Darwin's theory of evolution and today provide a powerful message about the value of adaptation for professionals. The Finch Effect distills the best practices of professionals who have successfully evolved to thrive in today's tough market into five steps:

  1. Adopt a Gig Mindset
  2. Identify Your Value
  3. Cultivate Your Skills
  4. Nurture Your Social Network
  5. Harness Your Entrepreneurial Energy

The Finch Effect will transform all of its readers to become lifetime members of "the Fittest" -- that exclusive club of professionals who successfully manage to earn big, achieve their potential, and remain at the top of the career food chain in our uncertain world.

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